Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Lewis Central High School proud to announce A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM as Fall 2009 School Play
Come back here later tonight (Thursday, May 7, 2009) to see audition scenes and more about auditions. You will be able to access a Word version of the scenes right here.
1. First, you need to attend ONE of the three general meetings.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009--3:15-4:00 PM--LCHS Drama Room
Students may sign up for auditions from 4:00-7:00 PM in 15 minutes slots. Sign up sheets will be located outside the Drama Room on Tuesday, May 12, 2009.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009--6:55-7:30 AM--LCHS Drama Room
Students may sign up for auditions from 4:00-6:30 PM. Sign up sheets will be located outside the Drama Room on Tuesday, May 12, 2009.
Thursday, May 14, 2009--3:15-4:00 PM--LCHS Drama RoomStudents may sign up for auditions from 4:00-7:00 PM. Sign up sheets will be located outside the Drama Room on Tuesday, May 12, 2009.
2. You attend the general meeting and we'll tell you all of the following, give you an audition form and let you sign up for an audition (acting) or interview (production) time.
Those interested in production team and directing team do need to attend one of the general meetings. We explain the responsibility and time commitment of each job. If you are not sure that you can make the commitment, you should not audition. We don’t want everyone; we want the best.

Those interested in acting need to attend the general meetings as well. Usually, we have students choose a reading and their partners. However, we don’t always need to see a student read a specific role to consider them for that role. We are asking that students read for their top choice and bring a friend/friends to read with them. We may still cast the student in a different role than what he/she reads for BUT we will need to see everyone read for the role in which they are cast.

Here’s what Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Heckman will do in the general meeting:

*Welcome you and talk about the play, our approach, what we’re looking for and the calendar.

*Talk to you about how auditions will function. How you sign up, where you find readings, what you need to do if you’re interested in production.

*Read the “LCHS Casting Policy” to students. All students must sign off that they have read and understand the policy.

*Show photos of research, film clips and other possibilities.

*Get us fired up to take on a great show.

3. You sign up for an audition time or for an interview time. You come in and do your best. We look at our talent pool and try to use as many of the fantastic students who attend as possible. Get excited! We are.

Plot and Characters

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a tale of simplicity itself. It's about ideas and emotion rather than plot. Notice that the fairies' magic takes place at night -- how much is really a dream?

Theseus, Duke of Athens, is about to marry Hippolyta, a lady warrior who he conquered. Egeus brings his daughter Hermia to court. She and Lysander want to get married, but Egeus wants her to marry Demetrius, who also wants her. Under Athenian law, Hermia must marry the man of her father's choice, choose "single blessedness" (i.e., celibacy in a religious order), or be executed. Theseus says he will enforce this law and gives everyone a few days to decide. Demetrius has seduced and abandoned Helena, Hermia's friend. Lysander and Hermia decide to elope and get married in the next town, beyond the reach of Athenian law. (Probably Theseus and everybody else expects them to do this anyway.) Hermia tells Helena, who tells Demetrius in order to ingratiate herself to him. Hermia and Lysander flee into the woods, Demetrius follows the lovers, and Helena follows him.

Out in the forest, Oberon and Titania, king and queen of fairyland, have quarrelled over who will raise an orphaned Indian boy. Oberon sends Puck to find a magic flower. Cupid's arrow, aimed at Queen Elizabeth, was diverted and hit the flower ("love in idleness", a pansy). Now this flower's juice, applied to a sleeper's eyes, will make the person fall in love with whoever he or she sees first upon awakening. Puck brings the flower, and Oberon applies it to the eyes of sleeping Titania. Oberon then tells Puck to apply it to the eyes of Demetrius, so that when he wakes and sees Helena he will love her instead.

Hermia and Lysander fall asleep, with Lysander honoring Hermia's request to sleep a little distance away. Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and puts the love juice in his eyes. Helena sees Lysander, thinks he may be hurt, and wakes him. Lysander sees Helena and falls in love with her. This gives rise to a comic situation, with much clever language and remarks about the ironies and irrationality of love.

Some skilled laborers have gone into the woods to rehearse a play for the wedding. They rewrite it, replacing the lovers' parents by "the moon" and "a wall". Puck puts a donkey head on Bottom the weaver. Titania, awakening, falls in love with him. (In Elizabethan times, the male donkey was proverbial for his generous sexual endowment.)

Demetrius and Lysander meet Helena and Hermia and the love-comedy continues, with the men about to come to blows. Oberon sees what has happened, and instructs Puck to separate the two men, which he does using ventriloquism, and to apply the love-juice to Demetrius's eyes. Lysander is lost in the dark and decides to sleep it out. Demetrius is tired and rests, and Puck reapplies the antidote to Lysander. Oberon applies the antidote to Titania. Demetrius wakes up and falls in love with Helena. After more dialogue and action, Theseus enters, the now properly-paired lovers are united, and everybody is happy. The humans wonder how much of the night's events have been real, and how much was a dream. The laborers perform their play-within-a-play. Although it's bad, Theseus and the others appreciate the sincerity and effort.

Don't look for depth of characterization in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". It's about ideas rather than personalities.

Theseus: Kind and generous. He must enforce the law, but talks privately with Egeus and Demetrius (I.i.115) to get them to relent. He appreciates the effort that goes into the play-within-a-play, and the sincerity of the ordinary people. He lets his imagination turn good people's sincere effort into a good performance.

Hippolyta: More literal-minded than Theseus. She cannot bring her imagination to consider a bad play good. But she notes that the lovers' tale of paranormal experience in the woods presents "great constancy" -- what paranormal investigators look for today. Like most of us, Hippolyta decides, "If they're all telling the same story, there may be something to it."

Philostrate: Master of ceremonies for Theseus. In Chaucer's The Knight's Tale, one of the rival lovers takes the name "Philostrate" to work for Theseus and Hippolyta. This is almost certainly an oblique reference to Chaucer's tale.

Demetrius: Not a nice person. By the time he says he wants to feed Lysander's carcass to his hounds, this seems completely in character. I don't know what Helena sees in him. Neither does she -- such is the irrationality of love, even before the lovers enter the forest. He is the only one who remains under the influence of the magic juice. This is probably good.

Helena: Tall, blonde beauty. Verbal abuse from Demetrius has made her think she's ugly. We have to hope that the love juice never wears off Demetrius, or she is in trouble

Hermia: Short, dark-complected beauty. Spunky and likable.

Lysander: Likable, rationalizer, sense of humor. He suggests Egeus and Demetrius get married. He cites classic stories as models for "the course of true love", and thinks the effects of the love juice are the workings of his own "reason".

Peter Quince: Playwright for the amateurs.

Nick Bottom the Weaver: Enthusiastic. Wants to play all the roles. Likes to overact.

Francis Flute the Bellows Mender: Young man. He points out that he's just getting his facial hair. He thinks this will make playing Thisbe a problem, but this is actually why he was chosen.

Robin Starveling the Tailor: Just a few lines portray a pessimist. He plays the part of the moon. He seems to forget his lines, and explains who he is in prose.

Snug the Joiner: "I am slow of study". The lion need only roar. Actually Snug does learn a few lines.

Tom Snout the Tinker: Literal-minded. Plays the wall.

Often the same actor who plays Theseus also plays Oberon, the same actor who plays Philostrate plays Puck, and the same actress who plays Hippolyta plays Titania. You may enjoy thinking about why this makes sense, especially if the dream-world is a shadow of ours. One of my correspondents reminded me that this also happens in the film version of "The Wizard of Oz".

CHARACTERS (from another point of view)


THESEUS. The Duke of Athens. About to marry the conquered Amazon queen, Hippolyta. Confident and authoritative, yet benevolent.

EGEUS. A respected nobleman in Theseus's court. Hermia’s father.

LYSANDER. A young nobleman of Athens in love with Hermia. Although Hermia's father refuses to let her marry him, Lysander believes that love conquers all.

DEMETRIUS. A young nobleman of Athens. Demetrius thought he loved Helena, but after Helena fell for him, he changed his mind and pursued Hermia.

OBERON. The king of the fairies. Oberon begins the play at odds with his wife, Titania. (may be doubled with role of Theseus)

NICK BOTTOM. The overconfident weaver chosen to play the lead in the play-within-a-play. Is also turned into a donkey by Puck and Titania falls in love with him. Must possess excellent comedic timing.

FRANCIS FLUTE. The bellows-mender chosen to play the female lead in the play-within-a-play. Is not pleased about playing a female role. Must possess excellent comedic timing.


HIPPOLYTA. The legendary queen of the Amazons, engaged to marry Theseus. Although Theseus defeated her in combat, she does not act like an unwilling bride. Confident and strong.

HERMIA. Egeus' daughter. A beautiful young woman of Athens; both Demetrius and Lysander are in love with her, but Hermia defies her father because she loves Lysander. (must be shorter than Helena)

HELENA. A young woman of Athens in love with Demetrius. Helena has been rejected and abandoned by Demetrius, who said he loved her before he met her best friend, Hermia. (must be taller than Hermia)

TITANIA. The beautiful queen of the fairies. Titania resists the attempts of her husband, Oberon, until he gives up his demands. (may be doubled with role of Hippolyta)

ROBIN GOODFELLOW/“PUCK”. The mischievous fairy who delights in playing pranks on mortals; Oberon's “right hand man”.

QUINCE. A carpenter and leader/director of the play-within-a-play. Must possess excellent comedic timing.

STARVELING. The anxiety-ridden tailor chosen to play Moonshine in the play-within-a-play. Must possess excellent comedic timing.

SNOUT. The reluctant and frightened tinker chosen to play Wall in the play-within-a-play. Must possess excellent comedic timing.

SNUG. The timid and dimwitted joiner chosen to play the lion in the play-within-a-play. Must possess excellent comedic timing.

PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, AND MUSTARDSEED. The fairies whom Titania orders to wait on Bottom after she falls in love with him.


No comments: