Category Archives: Productions

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.

Set

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.

Language

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.

Themes

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

MechanicalsMSND2006

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

Fairies

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

Athenians

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

Reviews

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.

 

2012 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

A Radical Interpretation

Midsummer Nights Dream Caravan

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London  is the perfect setting for some summertime Shakespeare. The beautiful and picturesque outdoor theatre in the heart of a royal park is covered in fairy lights and lined with vast green trees. Some would say that this is the ideal venue to house the themes of magic and wilderness in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However Director Matthew Dunster, along with set and costume designers Jon Bausor and Laura Hopkins, had other ideas!

Set

The 2012 production of the show, which ran between June and September at the Open Air, was a radical interpretation of the play. Likened to an episode of ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ The Athenian Court was transformed into a caravan park, the courtiers were essentially gypsies and The Mechanicals wore high-vis jackets and had builders bums! This unique and modern setting was wildly juxtaposed with a fairly traditional depiction of the beautiful forest, which worked to highly the themes of wilderness and escape in Shakespeare’s original text.

Language

This production was true to Shakespeare’s original text, with the cast delivering lines in verse and 16th Century prose. The use of original Elizabethan language, a considerably high brow text, massively contrasted to the plays modern day gypsy camp setting. This juxtaposition worked well with the production, suggesting that the gypsy community are not quite the lower class members of society which they are so often portrayed.

Themes

Whilst Shakespeare’s original text was possibly considered outlandish Midsummer Nights Dream Fairiesand frequently lewd during Elizabethan times, the modern day area is slightly more desensitised to sexual innuendos.  Subsequently Matthew Dunster sexed Shakespeare’s already sexually charged play to shock the modern day audience. For example Titania and Bottom’s love making was represented by the pair grinding one another onstage whilst grasping out a large purple dildo. Similarly further themes of violence were introduced into the show, with Thesus being seen to beat up his future wife, Hippolyta.

Cast and Creative

Director – Matthew Dunster
Set – Jon Bausor
Costume – Laura Hopekins
Composer – Olly Fox
Choreographer – Charlotte Broom
Lighting – James Farncombe
Sound – Nick Lidster

Fairies

Titania – Tamsin Carroll
Oberon – Christopher Coloquhoun
Puck – Oliver Johnstone
Fairies – Shimi Goodman, Waylon Jacobs, Stephane Anelli, Mireia Mambo-Bokele

Athenians/ GypsiesA MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM by Shakespeare

Director – Matthew Dunster
Set – Jon Bausor
Costume – Laura Hopekins
Composer – Olly Fox
Choreographer – Charlotte Broom
Lighting – James Farncombe
Sound – Nick Lidster

Fairies

Titania – Tamsin Carroll
Oberon – Christopher Coloquhoun
Puck – Oliver Johnstone
Fairies–  Shimi Goodman, Waylon Jacobs, Stephane Anelli, Mireia Mambo-Bokele

Athenians/ Gypsies

Lysander – Tom Padley
Demetrius – Kingsley Ben Adir
Hermia – Hayley Gallivan
Helena – Rebecca Oldfield
Theseus – David Birrell
Hippolyta – Katie Brayben

Mechanicals

Bottom – George Bukhari
Peter Quince – Harry Hepple
Snug – Carl Sanderson
Snout – Kurt Kansley
Starveling – Jo Servi

Reviews

whatsonstage-110x80 star-rating-4.0“Those with the open-mindedness to persevere will soon realise that this is one of the most imaginative renderings of the play you’ll ever come across”

 

Videos