The Donkey Show
Arsht Center goes mid-summer bold
The Donkey Show, playing at the Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts, is a daring and progressive summer choice that has the ability to ingratiate new theatre goers to the Arsht Center and stimulate seasoned patrons with a high energy, innovative and risqué take on the subplot of Oberon, Titania and Bottom from A Mid-summer Night’s Dream.
Although theatre goers need not worry about keeping up with iambic pentameter; the most recognizable element from the original play is the fictional setting for the Arsht Center’s very own mid-summer adventure, Club Oberon. The language of this play is disco music and a whole lot of it.
Set on the same stage that hosts the ballet and opera is a recurring summer disco party complete with guest DJs, an enormous disco ball and go go dancers. Theatre goers are immersed with the actors and dancers as they perform at different positions of the stage with a complex lighting design directing the focus.
Bars are located at several positions on the stage and waitresses are available in the VIP sections that surround the dance floor. By South Beach standards, drink prices are nominal.
For those unfamiliar with the subplot of Oberon, Titania and Bottom from A Mid-summer Night’s Dream, there are only a few key points that one needs to know in order to follow The Donkey Show’s simple plot. In Shakespeare’s version, Oberon and Titania are the king and queen of the fairies. The two argue, and Oberon sprinkles an exotic herb on the unsuspecting Titania while she sleeps. When she wakes, she falls in love with the first living being she sees, Bottom, a mortal who has been turned into a donkey.
In The Donkey Show, Oberon, played by Shira Abergel, is a nightclub owner and Titania, played by Stephanie Chisholm and dressed provocatively with butterfly pasties and little else, is the club’s lead dancer. They fight amidst disco music throughout the theater and Oberon administers an exotic concoction cooked like heroin on a giant spoon and injected into Titania’s mouth by a syringe resembling a giant turkey baster.
At the play’s climax, which follows a high energy dance party with rave-like attributes, Titania symbolically has relations with a theatrical donkey maneuvered by dancers in a sea of red light as confetti drops from the rafters. The spectacle was lewd, somewhat erotic, and awesome.
This action is a take on the semi-fictional form of sex tourism entertainment in Tijuana, Mexico involving bestiality with a donkey known as donkey shows. Hence, The Donkey Show is R rated, but don’t be scared by the title’s origination. The Donkey Show is fine theatre for those who want to let loose and engage in an experience that strays slightly off of the beaten path to a bygone era revisited in a stylized dance party on an opera house stage.
‘The Donkey Show’ by Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, is playing at Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, through Aug. 12. Dance floor tickets cost $45 Wednesday-Thursday and Sunday, VIP seating $60; dance floor $60 Friday-Saturday, VIP seating $75. Call 305-949-6722 for more information, or visit www.arshtcenter.org.