2006 Royal Shakespeare Company

InterpretationRoyal Shakespeare Company 2006 A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Royal Shakespeare Company have staged A Midsummer Night’s Dream countless times since the companies formation almost a century ago, with each production varying from the last. The 2005/6 Gregory Doran presentation of the show, which transferred to London’s Novello Theatre, took on a more violet and sinister vibe than many other interpretations of the supposed comedy. Set in a non specific modern era, the Doran played with the idea of omniscience and manipulation throughout the production.


Unlike many traditional interpretations of the Shakespeare text, this production is not true to the original Elizabethan setting. Instead the actions took place in a relatively non descript location, with set pieces such as a shopping trolley and coat hangers as well as bright red boxer shorts donned by a mechanical, indicating a relatively modern day context.

Differing from Shakespeare’s presentation of a pastoral forest, the Athenians in this production escaped to what looked like a big dumping ground, with twisted bits of metal littering the stage.

The action in the play was presided over by a large orange moon, which harks back to Shakespeare’s original themes of nature as well as hinting at an all seeing, magical presence.


Like most productions form the RSC, this production of A Midsummer Nights Dream stuck to the traditional Shakespearian language of the text. This provided an interesting contrast to the vaguely modern day setting of the production.


Directory Gregory Doran drew out sinister themes of violence and manipulation early on in the production. For instance the play began with two unknown figures having a sword fight, which turns out to be the betrothed Theseus and Hippolyta practicing the sparring skills. Spirits in the forest toyed with the lovers possessions without their knowledge and a life-size Banraku puppet was used to represent the (spooky!) changeling child, which worked to further reinforce the theme of manipulation.

Cast and creative

Director – Gregory Doran
Sceneography – Stephen Brimson-Lewis


Bottom – Malcolm Storry
Peter Quince – Paul Chanidi
Snug – Edward Clayton
Snout – David Rogers
Starveling – Patrick Waldron
Flute – Jamie Ballard


Titania – Amanda Harris
Oberon – Joe Dixon
Puck – Jonathan Slinger


Lysander – Trytan Gravelle
Demetrius – Oscar Pearce
Hermia –
Sinead Keenan.
Helena – Caitlin Mottram
Theseus – Miles Richardson
Hippolyta – Bridgitta Roy


whatsonstage-110x80star-rating-4.0PETE WOOD “Doran’s production brings undertones of darkness but not the wholesale monochrome of Richard Jones’ interpretation three years ago. This Dream, designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, is frequently gorgeous, although the evocation of the forest through an accumulation of furniture, musical instruments and other detritus, will not be to everyone’s taste.


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