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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
September 25, 2003 - September 26, 2003
Middlesbrough Juniors Theate had something very special planned to celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare this year. It was at least 30 years since the junior section of the theatre has staged a complete Shakespeare play and so is very excited about their production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. Tradition meets with modern technology as they perform Shakespeare’s version of Four Weddings and a Funeral – namely A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This interpretation is purposely timeless with an emphasis more on the messages communicated within the text i.e. the confusion, bitter intent and comical reactions of the characters displaying the irrationality of humanity’s behaviour when dealing with affairs of the heart. The use of modern technology in the production celebrates this ‘timeless’ quality of Shakespeare’s work.
The fairy world, led by the more sinister character of Oberon, King of the fairies and Titania, his hot-headed fairy queen create mayhem in the natural world by squabbling over an Indian boy entrusted into the care of Titania. Whilst Puck, Oberon’s right-hand goblin uses his powers of invisibility to get up to all kinds of mischief causing mass confusion between the four lovers, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia and Helena, whom he magically controls, like puppets.
Most of the humour in the play is provided by the lovable, yet often bumptious ‘Bottom’ and his equally lovable yet rather inadequate band of rude mechanicals as they innocently rehearse and then perform ‘The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe’ as entertainment for the Duke and Duchess of Athens at their wedding celebrations – Theseus first defeating Hypolita in battle and then falling in love with her! However, Puck, on orders from the revenge-seeking Oberon, transforms the head of Bottom into the head of an ass thus scaring the other mechanicals half to death. Titania then falls in love with Bottom – of course! – ‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.’
The actors, aged between twelve and seventeen take you into the dream with the innocence and excitement of first-love and yet you may leave with the feeling that the play, often regarded as the most ‘poetic’ of Shakespeare’s plays, is quintessentially what love and human behaviour is still about even after 400 years of progress, education and change. They offer you a treat not to be missed – as Bottom reflects ‘….a most rare vision, ….a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.’
Directors: Darren Gamble & Bobbie Jameson
Bobbie and Darren have been involved with Junior Theatre for seven years. They first began their successful directing partnership when they were both primary school teachers in Normanby. They have directed plays for both school and junior theatre including three Shakespeare for Kids productions: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night, entered 4 one act plays (written by Darren) into the Middlesbrough Youth Drama Festival AND were involved in producing a play for the Edinburgh Festival in 2000. This is however, the first time they have tackled a complete Shakespeare and the experience although exciting has been a challenging not only for the children but also for them!
Although it was important that the ‘form’ of the language was followed to some extent which initially demanded some study of the metric structure of line, it became equally as important to ’feel’ the language in order to gain a sense of characters’ emotions, thoughts and motivations and to ensure that the poetry of the play was communicated with feeling.
The children have risen to the challenge of this production amazingly and the experience has been rewarding for all involved.
Choreographer: Wendy Lowe
Wendy Lowe has been with Juniors for two years and was a junior member herself playing scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. She has taught a range of dancing styles since she was 18, here in Middlesbrough and across Europe. She choreographed the dancing in last years Santa Claus the Musical for MLT Juniors and is proud again to be involved this year.
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