November, 2014 | Barbican Theatre
Dmitri Krymov realises Shakespeare’s thematic and theatrical intentions through the meta-theatrical episode of the ‘Mechanicals’ in the play. Rather than lovers and fairies in the forest, it’s the company of players and their attempts to present what they see as the ultimate archetypical love story in Pyramus and Thisbe that draws the Shakespearian oscillation of dramatic forms together.
Here, commonplace elements like “Tragedy/Comedy, Foolishness/Seriousness, Laughter/sadness” (Krymov, 2014) are seamlessly executed between highly contrived Art and baseness of the coarse. Krymov, who started as a theatre designer, equates his Lab with the meta-company led by Quince; merely craftsmen making a production that’s “not yet ready” of a love story in a scratch of a space. So being, the ‘performers’ are mostly stage-hands, a pair of opera singers, some circus artists and a talented dog (which, by the way, is clearly in the text with Robin Starveling’s “this thorn-bush, my thorn-bush, and this dog, my dog.” Act V, sc.1) All of which present Pyramus and Thisbe with crude yet beautiful, comic yet sad, giant puppets. The dream of the play is in the Mechanicals, in the environment is the art.