About the play
In November 2016, Glenbrook Players was excited to present William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
We took this opportunity to mentor a young director - Conor Lawless, as associate director under the guidance of Ainslie Yardley and John Bailey. We also provided a number of workshops for our actors and theatre technicians to explore their craft and join this production on or offstage.
This production is dedicated to the memory of Alex Hageman.
The starting point for the design for this production came from the end point of the play - “you have but slumber’d here while these visions did appear…. no more yielding but a dream. “ In a dream, time is fluid – characters can start in the Greek world and appear later in the Elizabethan world, lovers exist in their own exquisitely painful and exclusive time until love is requited, while the faeries live across all time, past, present and future - and the Mechanicals play to their own time and their own tune.
To capture this temporal complexity we decided to break the scenes into four ensemble groups and rehearse each independently of one another, allowing each to develop their own performance style strongly drawing on the strengths of each cast member and the group as a whole. The Court drew, for their characterization, on the seductive nature of temporal power and intrigue as two formidable opponents unite. The Lovers focused on courtship, love-play, the “love object” and the plunge into the, sometimes violent madness brought about by deep infatuation; the Mechanicals brought their considerable energies to the task of a comic exploration of camaraderie and the practicalities of performance-making; and the faeries went about wielding their unique power and sovereignty over the natural world, where they make playthings of humans.
The use of projection as a key element to define space and time required a set and costumes responsive to the colour and light of projected image (in concert with the lighting design), where actor and set could merge at times into a single magical image. The costumes, again unique to each group, were made, primarily, from the same material as the curtained set - of gauze and muslin (using a very limited colour palate of white and off white for the court, the lovers, and the faeries with the mechanicals costumed in more traditional dress reflecting the world of the Elizabethan artisan. Washing across all groups the projection of image, light and music to provide coherent transitions and support the poetry of the text as the characters slip deeper and deeper into the world of midsummer magic - coming out once again into the light of the human world.
Which brings us to the fifth ensemble of musicians performing bespoke Elizabethan inspired instrumental and choral music composed by Carina Dingwall, evoking each of the four worlds encountered in the play, in particular the faery world.
John Bailey and Ainslie Yardley with Conor Lawless and Naomi Degabriele