The Donkey Show at Arsht Is a Midsummer Night's Disco

The mere mention of anything called The Donkey Show invokes thoughts of some shady, underground Tijuana bar where alcohol is served from bottles marked with a giant X, and the main attraction features a woman and her pet donkey doing illicit things to each other. (What, that's not the first image that comes to mind? Hrm. It's just me, then.)

In any case, that's not what The Donkey Show, opening this Friday at the Arsht, is about. Not really. Honest.

What The Donkey Show is, actually, is a re-imagining of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream -- the fantastical tale set in the woods within the realm of Fairyland under the light of the moon, featuring the playful and incorrigible Puck. Except that this version of the fantastical story is set in the 1970s, and the realm of Fairyland is a discotheque, the moon is a disco ball, and Puck wears platform shoes.

And it's a perfect re-imagining when you think about it. Shakespeare's plays are filled with sexual overtones and innuendos -- probably none more than a play featuring love potions and sexually ambiguous fairies named Puck, Snug, Bottom, and Snout wearing tights frolicking in the woods. A '70s disco is the perfect place for a modern take on such things. Music blaring, glitter flying, alcohol pouring, lights flashing in a dark club, and people getting sweaty and gropey on the dance floor. And then there's the part of the story where a girl drinks a love potion and falls in love with a donkey. If that's not a night in the life of Studio 54, then nothing is.

Filled with leaser suits, afros, feathered divas, and super groovy sounds, this sexy, boogie fun house rendition of Shakespeare's classic tale of nymphs and love is not only a unique take on the story, but is also a full-immersion experience for audiences. The cool thing about this show is that it's a dance club with a play performed around it. Signs inside the Arsht Center will direct you to Club Oberon, where the full experience gets kicked off even before you walk in. Dance Floor tickets, which cost $35 (VIP table tix will cost you $50) provide an all-access pass to dance alongside the cast members as the show goes on (standing room only).

The Donkey Show floor show features strobe lights, loud music, and noises, smoke, fog and 1970s Quadraphonic sound (ear plugs are available upon request). You can dress however you like, but disco attire is strongly encouraged. (No Roller-skates though!)

With The Donkey Show you can get on the dance floor and strike your John Travolta pose right along with the cast, or watch the production from the side. It's up to you. Either way, an enchanted and groovy time is sure to be had by all looking to get down and be a boogie machine with The Bard.

Needless to say, this ain't The Lion King set in a dance club, so leave the kids at home for this one.

The party starts this Friday and runs through August 12 at the Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd) Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Table tickets cost $50. Dance floor tickets cost $35. Call 305-949-6722 or visit

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Chris Joseph

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