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Slideshow: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ meets Hollywood’s golden age

Under a spell, Titania (Tricia Crimmins '19) lounges in bed with Bottom (Dan Kuan Peeples '17), who's been made to look like a donkey by Puck. They're attended by fairies Moth (Anna Kreitzer ’19), Mustardseed (Anne Trapp ’20) and Peaseblossom (Rebecca Kraft ’20). (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

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.”

Standing at the foot of the Schaeffer Theatre stage after Wednesday’s dress rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, director and Dana Professor of Theater Martin Andrucki goes through his notes with the actors. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

 


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.