Practical Productions present ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’

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By Eddie Bowles on 8.3.2024

Practical Productions present ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’

There are few plays written by Shakespeare that have quite the same place in the heart of every past and present British schoolchild than A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a tale of love, lust, magic and foolish mortals set in ancient Greece.

For those unfamiliar with the story, let this merry wanderer of the night recount a brief summary. Hermia, forbidden to marry her beloved Lysander, attempts to elope but is pursued by Demetrius (who is also in love with Hermia) and Hermia’s best friend, Helena, who is in love with Demetrius. Meanwhile, the King of the Fairies (Oberon) and his estranged wife (Titania), staying in the forest outside of Athens in order to attend the wedding of Duke Theseus and Amazonian Hippolyta, are arguing over the fate of an Indian changeling; Oberon instructs Puck, a mischievous hobgoblin, to daub Titania’s eyelids with a magical potion made from the flower ‘love-in-idleness’, which would have the effect of making Titania fall in love with the first thing she would see after waking.

However, after seeing the cruel conduct of Demetrius towards Helena, Puck is also asked to anoint Demetrius; unfortunately, he accidentally spreads the potion on the eyelids of Lysander, who falls in love with Helena. Puck eventually successfully enchants Demetrius, and the two men – now both in love with Helena – attempt to duel for her. Oberon intervenes and has the charm removed from Lysander, who falls back into love with Hermia.

Elsewhere, six ‘rude mechanicals’, or labourers, are planning to perform “Pyramus and Thisbe” for Theseus and Hippolyta’s benefit. Amused by one of the ‘actors’ (Bottom), Puck transforms the unlucky fellow’s head into that of a donkey; scared, the other labourers run away. Alone, the enchanted Bottom wakes Titania with his singing and she instantly is besotted with him. Distracted, she quite happily hands over the changeling to Oberon, who having fulfilled his aim, removes the enchantment from her.

In the morning, Theseus and Hippolyta encounter the four mortal lovers and, after waking them, arrange a group wedding with the three couples. The previous night’s events are dismissed as a dream by the four and Bottom, who then reunites with his compatriots and they perform (badly) the play for the couples’ amusement.

This night of Shakespearean comedy is being performed at the Gulbenkian Theatre on Tuesday 9th March, and is produced by ‘Practical Productions’, whose recent shows include the well-received “Joy Division” and the very successful aviation comedy “Club Class”.

Of “Joy Division”, reviewer Tenielle Wong wrote “A magnificent all-female cast brings to life this sensitively written yet powerful & confronting portrayal of life for female sex slaves in a forced labour camp in Nazi Germany. The narrator, brilliantly played by Rosalie Jorda, immediately engages the audience as she recalls her time spent at one of these camps” and of “Club Class” the Bracknell Times says “Some would argue that air travel is a dour affair, with its cramped seating, dodgy food and awful in-flight movies. For playwright Harry Denford, however, the business of flying is a comedy gold mine. Denford, a former commercial airline pilot, has mined the minutiae of life as a cabin crew member for his latest play, ‘Club Class’.

The director, Harry Denford (mentioned above), is a highly experienced stand-up comedian as well as ex- commercial pilot and has had three productions staged at the prestigious Rose Theatre, Bankside.

Tickets £12

For more information visit the Gulbenkian website: http://www.kent.ac.uk/gulbenkian/theatre/shows/2010/march/2010-03-09-mid…



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