When I was offered the role of Director for this year’s tour, it was like my own personal midsummer night’s dream come true. I remember attending CTC workshops in my first year and sitting in awe of the wonderful productions that students before me have taken around the country, and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to try my hand at such a joyful legacy. I immediately knew that above all I wanted to preserve the sense of childlike wonder and magic I experience whenever I have seen the show, however I also wanted to ensure that the silliness and humour shone through at every available opportunity. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has the potential to be quite a dark play if so decided, but underneath the summer sun amidst friends, family, and picnics, I knew that playful abandon and marvellous japes were the way to go.
As such, there are no heartbroken maidens or heartless heroes to be seen here. Hippolyta, whilst decidedly more mature than her betrothed Theseus, warms to his boyish charm and cheekiness. Hermia is less than impressed when her beloved deserts her, and Helena enjoys the games of love she plays with Demetrius. Titania may adore an ass whilst enchanted, however we can imagine it the latest in a long line of games and squabbles she has with Oberon. As for the fairy King himself, his relationship with Puck is less that of a servant and master and more reminiscent of a childhood friendship full of pranks and mischief. The mechanicals against all the chaos are determined to put on one of the best pieces of entertainment come whatever may.
None of this would have been possible without the incredible talent of the members of this troupe. From the very start, I knew I was working with some of the best comedic actors Durham student theatre has to offer, and it has been an absolute joy to see each and every person transform into their characters and bring this exuberant play to life. Special thanks must also be given to members of the creative team, without whom none of this would have been possible. It is fitting therefore that this, at its heart, is a play about whimsy and magic and love, as these are all things I have been lucky enough to experience each and every day working with this wonderful team.
By Eleanor Thornton
Photo Credits: Castle Theatre Company