Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
Page last updated: 19/12/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012
A Midsummer Night's Dream
by William Shakespeare
1 - 10 August 1996 (excluding Sun 4 August)
In the open air in the grounds of St Andrew's Hospital, Billing Road, Northampton
Production No. 289
FROM THE PROGRAMME NOTES
Royal Theatre veteran, Lionel Hamilton, corrects me that it was producer Alex Reeves rather than Tom Osborne Robinson (as I'd originally thought) who instigated the import of a young American company into Northampton Rep. some thirty or so years ago, where they gave Northamptonians their Kentucky version of the Dream. So it is Alex whom we have to thank (or blame!) for this particular rendition of Shakespeare's comedy, for it is based on that lively interpretation.
‘Course, as Americans they were the genuine article; but we, without altering a line of the Bard, have striven to bring an American Dream aspect to this Olde English Dream. The fantasy fairy world is now the U.S.A. fantasy of the silver screen - with Norma Desmond its queen: the spiritual emanates from the indigenous Indian native; the rulers are Gone with the Wind landowners and the military; the rustics are hill-billies, and the lovers are ranchers.
The Yankee tongue revivifies the over-familiar text and brings fresh insights to worn phrases: but the poetry of Shakespeare transcends all continents and all the traditional fun is still intact. And if there are anachronisms or surprising jolts, well ---! Anything can happen in a dream, can't it ?
Martin Borley and Tony Krainz in A Midsummer Night's Dream
Cast & Crew
Theseus Brian Abraham
Hippolytia Jan Stoppani
Egeus Vince Perry
Lysander Andrew Danks
Demetrius James Williams
Philostrate Brian Harrap
Hermia Amanda Chapman
Helena Emma Austin
Peter Quince Tony Krainz
Nick Bottom Martin Borley
Francis Flute Joseph Lynch
Tom Snout Deniece Bazuaye
Robin Starveling Kieron Whitehouse
Snug Owen Warr
Oberon Richard Walker
Titania Janice Shortland
Robin Goodfellow, Puck Tim Davis
Peaseblossom Grace Ciappara
Cobweb Mark Allibon
Moth Clare Brittain
Mustardseed John Marnie
Fairy Kate Corrie
Director Barry L Hillman
Stage Manager Denise Swann
Assistant Stage Managers Greta Hendy, Jane Lanchbury and Masque members
Set Derek Banyard
Costumes Jane Roebuck, Alison Dunmore, Clare Brittain, Daphne Read, Jan Peters, Joy Eason, Tony Krainz, Masque Costumes
Lighting The Works
Sound Rachel Lawson
Graphic Designer Ian Stephens
Original music composed and arranged by Tony Gosling
Front of House John Clarke
Publicity Denise Swann
DREAM BROUGHT TO LIFE - ASSIDUOUSLY!
Richard Evans, The Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 9 August 1996
Anyone previously daunted by Shakespearean prose will be forced to eat their words by the Masque Theatre’s 1996 version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
They have been bringing this classic frolic to life in the open air in the grounds of St Andrew’s Hospital in Billing Road, Northampton, and their nine-night run will end tomorrow with a swing. So take your partners along!
Sure thing, they have set this fairy tale in Yankee America, complete with fairy king Oberon (Richard Walker) in Red Indian guise. And these guys altered not one original line they said. It was fine, and fun.
The length of prose and speed of delivery did not diminish the players' inflections, an early casualty of many a professional Bardic production. And when the action got really fast it was, well, like the fight scene in a Western - as when the two rival girlfriends Hermia (Amanda Chapman) and Helena (Emma Austin) clashed. This eminently expressive Hermia stood head and pigtails above all else - even Martin Borley as a magnificiently manic, donkey-headed and aptly assidious Bottom.
Amplified sound effects seldom work well, especially outside, and one thing the cast could have borrowed from their 1988 production would have been a live acoustic guitarist.
This time I left with not only lasting memory of the whole music and dancing and all, but as it was all so clear, a full understanding of the story too!