2020 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
In preparation for his politically convenient marriage to Amazonian Queen Hippolyta, Theseus, Duke of Athens, commissions his Master of the Revels, Philostrate, to find suitable entertainment for the festivities. #royalwedding #happilyeverafter?
They are interrupted when Egeus, Hermia’s father, demands her obedience to marry Demetrius, his choice of suitor, rather than Lysander, the man she loves. #ihatemyparents Complying with an ancient law, Theseus presents Hermia with an ultimatum: wed Demetrius or be put to death. #harshmuch? #nah-marriagepact Presented with an impossible choice, Lysander and Hermia hatch a plan to escape Theseus’s harsh court for the Athenian woods and ultimately seek the help of Lysander’s rich auntie who will help them get hitched. #YOLO. After Hermia confides in Helenus the elopement plot, Helenus in turn informs Demetrius who rages into the woods in hot pursuit. Little does he know Helenus is likewise lowkey chasing him. #desperate_spaniel Awks.
The lovers aren’t the only ones in the woods. A group of working classers, led by Peter Quince, are using the forest to rehearse a play in hopes of staging it for the Duke’s wedding. #amdram #wellingtontheatreawards
Elsewhere in the same woods, Fairy Leaders Oberon and Titania argue. Seeking revenge, Oberon sends her mischievous henchfairy Puck, to acquire a magical flower, love-in-idleness, the juice of which makes its victim dote on the next creature they see. Oberon uses the flower on Titania as she sleeps. #extra #hugsnotdrugs
Overhearing the play’s rehearsal, Puck decides to have a laugh and magically transforms the head of the lead actor, Bottom, into that of an ass. When Titania awakes, Bottom is the first creature she sees and she falls lustfully in love with him. #tapthatass #toofar?
Taking pity on the shunned Helenus, Oberon orders Puck to love juice Demetrius, but Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius. Lysander encounters Helenus upon first waking and falls instantly in love with him. Chaos ensues. #thatboyismine
SPOILER ALERT: Oberon lifts all enchantments, and by morning all is well. Titania is reconciled with Oberon, and lovers think all was a dream. Bottom is reunited with his fellow workers. The marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta turns into a triple wedding celebration complete with a performance of the fumbling, hilarious version of Pyramus and Thisbe. As the couples retire - alone, Puck asks the audience for applause. #lend_me_your_hands #the_end
TLDR: Everyone falls in love with the wrong person. #hotmess #LoveIsland
Trust Board Note
The very first Summer Shakespeare production to be staged in Wellington was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was 1983, and Adrian Kiernander’s production saw punk fairies take over the University’s Quad. In his debut writing reviews for the Dominion Post, Laurie Atkinson commented that Kiernander “used the enormous acting area with great skill and imagination”.
Fast forward to 1991 and the next production of Dream coincided with Summer Shakespeare’s first staging in the Botanic Garden’s, Dell. Having dealt with jet planes flying overhead and other such issues that go along with staging an outdoor production, opening night was called off due to rain.
Given the popularity of the text, it seems strange that Wellington has had to wait nearly 30 years for the next Summer Shakespeare staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this year, we have changed space and challenged tradition again. Shane Bosher’s realisation of the forest indoors allows us to move away from the conventional idea of forest and fairies, just as Kiernander before him.
The Summer Shakespeare Trust are pleased to invite you to our latest Dream. For those of you who are part of our returning audience, we thank you for following us around the city; we hope you are enjoying the journey as much as we are. For those of you who are new, we hope that in 20 years time you talk about the first time you saw us take on Dream, revelling, as we do, in finding the new in what we have come to know and love so well.
Director - Shane Bosher
Producer - Keely McCann
Production - Joshua Tucker
Marketing - Medici Arts Management
Stage Manager - Alyssa Hatton
Assistant Stage Manager - Mikayla Heasman
Costumiers - Polly Filla & Meredith Dooley
Intimacy Direction - Carrie Thiel
Fight Choreography - Allan Henry
Choreography - Charlotte Dodd
Technical Operator - Riley Gibson
Wardrobe Assistants - Ruby Longworth & Penny Wyatt
Oberon - Grace Hoet
Titania - Catherine Zulver
Puck - Ariadne Baltazar
Hermia - Aimee Sullivan
Helenus - Dryw McArthur
Demetrius - Matthew Staijen-Leach
Lysander - Andrew Clarke
Bottom - James Bayliss
Hippolyta/Cobweb - Sara Douglas
Theseus - Hamish Boyle
Egeus - Phil Peleton
Quince/Peaseblossom - Charlotte Dodd
Flute - Jake Brown
Starvling - Rosemary Lewis
Snout - Lucy McCarthny
Snug - David Bowers-Mason
Fairy/Moth - Zoe Crane
Mustardseed/Philostrate - Finnian Nacey
Bodyguard - Slaine McKenzie
Photography by Bruce MacKay