Which brings me to the director, Margie Cain. The following is a laundry list of areas to which she might have turned her attention:
The music: which much of the time was as inarticulate as possible, being made of vocal music whose words could not be understood; in the second act, especially, the music moved to the forefront like a leitmotiv for Dogberry and company, leading one to wonder how she would have scored the rest of the play (I found its sudden introduction in the second act useless and demeaning to the actors).
The acting: too many styles, too many styles -- from Mack Sennett and The Keystone Cops to the naturalistic school inhabited by Benedick.
Not enough projection from all on stage except Rowe, Weakland, Harcourt and a few others.
Almost a total lack of stage pictures beyond the pedestrian and the empty.
Nevertheless -- indeed, nevertheless -- if you want to see a production of Shakespeare that is clean and often valuable for the sounds of the line, this is the production for you. If you hurry, you may still be able to get seats for one of the three final performances the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of April at 7:30 p.m. You will be glad that you went.
After Dark Series
The folk music series held at the United Methodist Church in Middlebury, the After Dark Series, concluded its 14th season this last Saturday night, April 18 by sponsoring a visit by Tom Paxton, folksinger extraordinaire, whose musical pedigree runs all the way back to 1960 in many of the fabled coffeehouses of New York City. With him was Jeff Barkley, a guitarist-composer also in the folk music tradition.
It was a reminder to me personally how much of my high school and college time was spent with music, at least part of which was involved with the coffeehouses of the Los Angeles area and the folksingers who performed there. But, as Paxton said, quoting someone else: "there's nothing wrong with looking back, just don't stare". And that is indeed what he did; he mixed the past (songs written about each of his two daughters when his they were very young,) with the present (a song about his daughters who are now in their early 40s). He mixed love songs -all of which, he said, were inspired by his wife-with riproaring political satire