A Midsummer Night's Dream: Julie Taymor's Splendid Shakespearean Romp in Film

Julie Taymor's latest triumph is the movie version of the play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, she debuted in 2013 at the Theater for a New Audience in Brooklyn. Her film of A Midsummer Night's Dream, is a mesmerizing and indeed, dream vision composed of the Shakespeare's scenes and characters, made into a surreal at times, slapstick at times, genuinely delightful version of this, one of the bard's most popular comedies. Composer Elliot Goldenthal's whimsical music enhances the dreaminess and shenanigans of the carnival of lovers, spirits, royals and workmen in this gorgeous confection.

At this week's New York premiere, at the DGA theater, and after party at Hudson New York, Taymor explained that the movie was not 100% the play we saw last spring on opening night. How could it be? The mediums of live theater and film are so different, so the idea was to translate one to the other without compromising artistic value. Elliot Goldenthal composed at least one third more music, Taymor said. Film could get up close to the extraordinary Kathryn Hunter who plays Puck as if she were Charlie Chaplin. You want to see those precise and delicate movements, as well as the reaction shots. The film is an example of a brilliant transformation from one medium to another, making two distinct works of art, cut from the same cloth.

The premiere was also a who's who of actors and artists who have worked with Julie Taymor in the past: her Prospera from The Tempest attended, Helen Mirren, fresh off her Tony win, with husband Taylor Hackford. Anne Hathaway, fresh off her one-woman Taymor- directed show, The Grounding, at the Public Theater, with music by Elliot Goldenthal, just back from Poland where he received a major award. Tim Rice, lyricist for Taymor's The Lion King. Reeve Carney, one of the several Spidermen, along with Matthew James Thomas, and nearly the entire Midsummer Night's Dream cast, all exceptional. We talked to Max Casella, a funny as hell Bottom, Lilly Englert and Mandi Masden, Hermia and Helena, Tina Benko who plays Titania and Joe Grifasi, the play's Peter Quince. A Midsummer Night's Dream will be screened in theaters on June 22, for one night only. You must see it.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

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