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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

More images from A Midsummer Night's Dream

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!

A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream
           
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