The Donkey Show, described as a "Midsummer Night's Disco," will mark its first year anniversary on Aug. 23. The show opened as a six-week limited engagement at NYC's El Flamingo (547 West 21 street) on Aug. 18, 1999.
The Donkey Show, created and directed by Diane Paulus (Running Man) and Randy Weiner, sets Shakespeare's classic comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, into the 1970s disco scene, where a nightclub impresario Oberon and disco diva Titania find themselves in the midst of a timeless lovers' quarrel. The character of the weaver Bottom, meanwhile, is replaced by a pair of afro-ed, disco-dancing twins, who sing about working at the "Car Wash" and boast that "We Are Family."
Several of the actors double up on roles, often playing both a male and female character. The various performers, while perched on black cubes, are often pushed through the audience by satyr-like creatures. Other times, they run around the club's balcony or up and down staircases, keeping the standing audience (there are few chairs) pivoting, looking this way and that.
As for Shakespeare's text, hardly a word of it is spoken, with most of the plot told through disco classics such as "I Love the Nightlife," "Ring My Bell," "Enough Is Enough," and "You Sexy Thing."
The show, which lasts roughly an hour, was backed by Jordon Roth, the son of producer Daryl Roth (Wit, Three Tall Women). Mr. Roth will produce the upcoming Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show. For more information, call (212) 971-1016.
--By Robert Simonson