Martin Andrucki was asked why he chose to stage his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream — playing at Schaeffer Theatre tonight through Monday — in 1930s America and to have Fairyland evoke the fantastical world of Hollywood’s golden age.
Andrucki is the college’s Dana Professor of Theater, and he said that the reason has to do with bark, and not the canine kind. Midsummer‘s famous Fairyland has, perhaps too often, been populated by “actors covered in bark or in tutus, wearing mosquito wings,” he says.
So as Andrucki thought about his first production of Midsummer since 1995, he decided to create another type of Fairyland for Shakespeare’s tale of a wedding, a love quadrangle, theater al fresco, quarreling fairies, and magical potions.
“I thought of Woody Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo,” Andrucki explains, “where Jeff Daniels steps out of the screen and brings Mia Farrow into a world of beauty, glamor, and romance.”
In Hollywood’s golden age of the 1930s, “escape and magic were at the movies. Hollywood musicals were fairyland. Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers: They were fairies.” It’s a bygone world that reflects Shakespeare’s own capacity for raising “his fancy to a flight above mankind,” in the words of 18th-century English writer Nicholas Rowe.
The Bates production, which runs through Monday, features an original score by Bill Matthews, the Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music. His compositions include a song for the fairies and one for the character Nick Bottom, as well as music for dance sequences and what director Andrucki describes as “a sonic landscape for the whole show.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Directed by Martin Andrucki, Dana Professor of Theater
Scenic design by Judy Gailen
Costume design by Christine McDowell and Nora Dahlberg ‘18 of Arlington, Va.
Lighting design by Michael Reidy, senior lecturer and managing director of theater and dance
Original music by Bill Matthews, Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music
Projections by Lucas Wilson-Spiro ’15
Choreography by Sam Hersh ’19 of Northborough, Mass.
Stage manager: Claire Sullivan ’19 of Montville, N.J.
Cast of Characters
Oberon/Theseus: Brian Pfohl, assistant in instruction, psychology
Titania/Hippolyta: Tricia Crimmins ’19 of Lake Forest, Ill.
Philostrate: Ghasharib Shoukat ’20 of Karachi, Pakistan
Egeus: Theo Eagle ’17 of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hermia: Azure Reid-Russell ’17 of Northport, N.Y.
Demetrius: John Dello Russo ’18 of Revere, Mass.
Lysander: Declan Chu ’17 of Winthrop, Maine
Helena: Audrey Burns ’17 of Topsham, Maine*
Peter Quince: Christina Felonis ’17 of Athens*
Nick Bottom: Dan Kuan Peeples ’17 of Piermont, N.Y.*
Francis Flute: Erik Skattum ’19 of London
Robin Starveling: Lila Patinkin ’20 of Chicago
Tom Snout: Christine Carroll ’20 of Locust Valley, N.Y.
Snug: Madison Shmalo ’19 of Kennebunk,Maine
Puck: Sam James ’17 of Bradenton, Fla.
Moth: Anna Kreitzer ’19 of Ellsworth, Maine
Peaseblossom: Rebecca Kraft ’20 of Newton Center, Mass.
Cobweb: Amelia Green ’17 of Westport, Conn.
Mustardseed: Anne Trapp ’20 of Townsend, Mont.
Audrey Burns ’17, Christina Felonis ’17, Dan Kuan Peeples ’17 are working on Midsummer as a part of their senior theses in acting.