I was looking for something to do on a recent Saturday night, so I bought a ticket to see The Donkey Show. It took place at Oberon (which is part of the American Repertory Theater) on Arrow Street in Cambridge, conveniently located not far from the Lesley campus.
I have always enjoyed listening to the disco hits of the 1970s and 1980s on the radio, so I decided this would be a good event to attend. The ART’s website says The Donkey Show is “the ultimate disco experience.” Directed by by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, it features all the smash hits of disco. I did not know what to expect at first, but as it turned out, attending this event was one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had.
Although not everyone in my age group enjoys the old disco songs, This show will make almost anyone want to dance. The Donkey Show takes you back in time, by recreating the disco experience of the 1970s. Inside, there is what the website describes as “a crazy circus of mirror balls and feathered divas, of roller skaters and hustle queens.” And although it is a disco experience, it was actually inspired by Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In the 1970s, Saturday night was the time for people to party on the dance floor . Although I was not around to go to discos in the 70s, I can imagine that this is what it must have been like. I happened to know all the disco hits by heart, and I heard some of my favorite songs. The music included songs by Earth, Wind & Fire, Stephanie Mills, Anita Ward, Donna Summer, The Village People, The Jackson 5 and many others. After the show, I left the party filled with unforgettable memories. Spending the night at The Donkey Show lets you live out your own fantasy of disco fever.
One thing seemed strange to me: I did not study every Shakespearean play, and I admit I have never heard of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So, I wondered why this was the theme of the disco show: how was Shakespeare related to disco? I expected that my experience might somehow be similar to what I watched in the movie Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta. (I’m a huge fan of that film, to be honest.) I was also disappointed that my favorite Bee Gees songs were not played during the show—after all, the Bee Gees were very important in 1970s disco. And while I very much enjoyed the Donkey Show, I couldn’t stop imagining that I would see a real-life Tony Manero, just like in the movie, taking the dance floor to one of my favorite Bee Gees hits. But other than that, this was an amazing and very entertaining way to spend a Saturday night. I am glad that I went, and if you can, you should go too. The website information is here, and the show runs through the end of December. http://americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/donkey-show