A Shakespeare classic transformed
Director Amanda Kellock says she wanted to delve into the characters’ most visceral emotions — what was “dangerous about the text when it first emerged.”
“Dreams” is the theme for the department’s 2015–16 season. “Dreams can have a very literal meaning, but that idea of a dream being a space where anything is possible, is a thing that unites all of the shows,” says Kellock, who is filling in as the department’s artistic director while Raymond Marius Boucher is on sabbatical.
Midsummer focuses on Hermia, a young, Greek woman whose father has arranged for her to marry Demetrius. Too bad she’s in love with Lysander.
The premise is further complicated by several other intertwining storylines of love and lust. All this takes place in two parallel lands: the forest, where the fairies live, and Athens.
“Sometimes love on stage can be a cliché, but if you actually dig into what love is, it’s scary and hard and it’s a process of stripping away all pretension, all pride, all expectation, and being able to be present with someone else. I find that a really exciting journey to go on with the actors,” Kellock says.
Nicolas Ruzza, a fourth-year Design for the Theatre student and the play’s costume designer, says he sees Kellock’s interpretation as an expression of our most animalistic qualities.
“I like when we take stories and make them a little bit more real — darker, twisted,” Ruzza says.
He’s exploring ways of representing love and sexuality on stage through his costumes, which he says represent a “high fashion, sort of glamorous aspect of bondage and desire.”
Assistant director and fourth-year student Julie Foster says Kellock’s direction aligns nicely with her own interest in absurdity. “There are definitely some dark and comedic elements in the play,” she says.
Student Remi Mireault, the actor playing Oberon, will draw on the character’s pre-Shakespearean folkloric roots. “Oberon is not at all the pleasant character he is in Shakespeare’s play. He’s a hairy little dwarf, a little troublemaker,” Mireault says.
For her role, student Samantha Bitonti finds inspiration and agency in Hermia’s rebellion against her father and the marriage he has arranged for her.
“There are some very carnal instincts, and people want what they want so fiercely in this play that they will go to huge extremes,” Bitonti says.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs from December 2 to 6, 2015, at the D.B. Clarke Theatre (1455 De Maisonneuve W.) on the Sir George Williams Campus. Tickets cost $10 ($5 for students and seniors).
Find out about other upcoming performances in the Department of Theatre.