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”

 

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