|Rupert Graves Online: Stage Productions.
A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Year: - 1992.
Author: - William Shakespeare.
Synopsis Or Review:
There’s a lot we don’t know about how A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed in Shakespeare’s theatre.
Was it actually written for an aristocratic wedding as many have argued?
Were the fairies played by children brought in for the occasion, or by the boy actors regularly employed by the company, or by grown men (as in Peter Brook's production)?
Were Oberon and Theseus, Titania and Hippolyta, doubled (as also by Brook), and if so, was the audience expected to see any significance in the doubling?
Was any attempt made to represent the wood near Athens, or was the audience left to use its imagination?
"Imagination" is a key word of the play; the play acted within the play strains the imaginative capacities of both those who perform it and those who watch it on stage; and the unrealities of a plot that reaches a climax in an encounter between the Queen of the Fairies and a weaver transformed into an ass demands the imaginative participation of its theatrical audience too.
Only imagination can find concord in this discord, and over the centuries the theatre has not always met the imaginative challenges that the play poses.
It has been distorted especially by over-emphasis of both its broad comedy and the opportunities it offers for stage spectacle. As early as 1661 appeared a playlet called The Merry Conceited Humours of Bottom the Weaver, reducing the play to little more than the rehearsal and performance of Pyramus and Thisbe, and in an adaptation of As You Like It by Charles Johnson in 1723, Love in a Forest, the Pyramus and Thisbe episodes were incorporated as an entertainment for the banished Duke and his followers.
America has seen a version called Swingin' the Dream (1939), in which the Bottom who roared as gently as any sucking-dove was Louis Armstrong. The mechanicals' scenes, parodies of the efforts of amateur entertainers, have themselves formed the centrepiece of many amateur entertainments in later ages, a constant source of innocent mirth in school halls and village institutes.
Excerpt from Stanley Wells "A Midsummer Night's Dream In Production".
|Cast & Crew Information:
Theseus, Duke of Athens - Allan Mitchell.
Peaseblossom (Alison Reid), Cobweb (Sarah D'Arcy), Moth (Abraham Osuagwu), Mustardseed (Alec Westwood) - Fairies in Titania's service.
Peter Quince, a carpenter; Prologue in the interlude - Steven Beard.
Andy Channing (Gamelan).
Director - Robert Lepage.