A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Francesca Savige
QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) second-year students
Season runs till October 20. Duration: 90 minutes without interval. Bookings: www.gardenstheatre.qut.edu.au
“If we shadows have offended...” is perhaps the most oft quoted line of any play ever written. More the point, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream seems to be on every season of every theatre, ever.
I went into QUT’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with resignation, expecting it to be a somewhat mildly confirmative and lacklustre piece. I came out grinning from ear to ear. This play was gold. With the audience laughing out loud most of the time, it wasn’t hard to see why this piece was so fresh.
The hilarity of this rendition of a tried and true play lay, not necessarily, in the storyline or plot but in the spirit of the troupe, their joy. The direction and casting by Francesca Savige and the creative team were done exceptionally well with each actor playing to their absolute strengths. What was especially pleasing about this presentation of Midsummer Night's was the lack of distraction in the space in terms of set or costume or even soundtrack and a complete focus on the words coming out of the actors’ mouths.
With a renewed and modern twist on what most deem as “ancient”, this version of Shakespeare was well with the times. The inclusion of modern popular music, slangy asides, which broke the fourth wall, and a deep understanding of the original dialogue made for the very best experience.
The ten person strong cast also switched with ease between characters but with none of the lingering confusion that this technique sometimes brings. Not one of the leads shone brighter than the other and this created a balance not often seen on stage.
What particularly made this experience enjoyable for me was the fact that the actors, creative team and crew, all seemed to absolutely love the play, what it did and can stand for and all that went into creating it. This love injected something deeper and more esoteric than the magic of Midsummer Night's into the night. This is what the audience carried with them when they left. Truly a well spent evening.