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November 9, 2006

   

Bi-Co Theater Sends Audience to Bed for a
Slightly Nightmarish Midsummer Night’s Dream

scene from play

Director of Theater Mark Lord and Designer and Technical Director Hiroshi Iwasaki take the "dream" in Midsummer Night's Dream seriously. In the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Theater Program's production of the Shakespeare classic, the scene of the action is an enormous bed that becomes, in Lord's words, "a dark and surreal dreamscape." The play opens Friday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Goodhart Theater. Subsequent performances, all at 7:30 p.m. in Goodhart, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11; Sunday, Nov. 12; Thursday, Nov. 16; Friday, Nov. 17; and Saturday, Nov. 18. All performances are free and open to the public.

If the setting suggests intimacy, Lord's unsentimental reading of the play points to the conflict and hostility that can beset intimate relationships.

"Many of us have our first experience of reading or seeing Midsummer Night's Dream in high school or even middle school," Lord says, "and there's a tendency to think of it as the sweet play with all the fairies. But in fact, these characters do awful things to each other."

Titania and Oberon, the king and queen of the fairies, Lord says, "do things that put the most spiteful divorce battles to shame. One partner tricks the other into having a romantic encounter with an animal! There's some serious malice to be explored here."

Lord points out that Hippolyta, who is often played as a wide-eyed girl next door, is being forced into marriage as a result of having been captured in battle.

"And the lovers in the woods have a relationship so shallow and immature that Puck can replicate it exactly with doses of herbs," Lord says.

While the production highlights the dark origins of the comedy, it doesn't stint on the humor. Lord quotes Samuel Beckett: "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness."

"Hilarious satire can come out of people's divorce stories," he notes. "And there's a lot of humor in the superficiality of young lovers who take themselves very seriously."

Lord also relishes the celebrated play-within-the play. "The 'rude mechanicals' who stage the play have an undying faith in the power of art and the transcendent value of love that makes their scenes particularly hilarious."

An approach that confronts the animosity that drives many of the characters, Lord says, ultimately provides a richer, deeper humor by giving us a more mature view of the play's relationships.

A few of the principle players:

Oberon/Theseus: David Little, Haverford '07
Puck: Aditi Vashist '08
Titania: Jillian Davis '09
Bottom: Jorge J. Rodriguez, Haverford '07
Hermia: Nora Sidoti '07 and Mariel Rosati '08
Helena: Elizagrace Madrone, Haverford '09, and Kat Zukaitis '07

Costumes were designed by Masha Kapustina '07; lights by Matt Sharp, Haverford '02; and sound by Rose Bochansky '99.

 

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