The “Dream” Cast
Five days after Mikado closed, I got lost in a forest trying to find my audition location.
But I got a part in A Midsummer Night's Dream! I’m Peaseblossom and Fairy. I think I do fae better than human. Too much glitter as a child?
Also, did you know that an entire Shakespeare play can be read in one go? That it does not have to be broken down and spread out over a semester? And that it can be fun? Someone needs to tell the English departments asap.
Rehearsals were held at an old camp with a big grassy field surrounded by cabins. June flew by because I had all of two rehearsals, and then rehearsals (for me, at least) began in earnest in July. The cast was an odd mixture of G&S people and former students of the directors. And all were extremely good-looking. Am I allowed to say that? I’ve never been in such an attractive cast.
My scenes were mostly with the Fairy Queen and the other three fairies. We also had two dances—choreography was killer indoors without A/C—and one song that we created ourselves using a background track and a shorter version of Shakespeare’s lyrics.
There was a lot of music in the show. I’m not sure what soundtrack they used, but most was quite light with a Celtic feel. The fairy entrance music got to the point where we’d wake up—leap up—just hearing it.
We also practiced using “magic dust” for the scenes with spells. The only characters who got mic’d were Oberon—the Fairy King—Titania and Puck, and only when they were saying spells. It was a cool effect but glitter in the eye still sucks. A couple different types were tried out and a couple different cast mates ended up with glitter permanently embedded in their skin.
This was my first real play and my first Shakespeare, so I was getting nervous. My scene with Puck opened with me dancing and being silly until she interrupted me. To be honest, dancing and being silly—silently—was my favourite part of the scene. But the rest of it was still fun. Puck’s miming of acorn cups always got a laugh and we were plain goofy.
Since the society was brand new—Midsummer was their first show—we didn’t know how ticket sales would go. But within days of tickets being released online, all five shows sold out completely! Over a thousand tickets!
The greenroom was another tent blocked off by potted trees, with corners curtained off for changing and plastic interlocking flooring with bottles of glitter hairspray everywhere. The outside, where the audience members would come in towards the main tent, was decorated with flags and candles and signs with fancy old-English-style writing. Considering a week beforehand it had been nothing but a gravel lot, it was startling pretty, especially during sunset. The only downside to the venue was, alas, the port-a-pottys.
At tech rehearsal, we had bigger problems than projection. Some of the Rude Mechanicals had taken to playing and experimenting onstage during their scenes, instead of what the directors had preferred in earlier rehearsals. This caused some issues since playing made the show longer, and because the amount of physicality meant that deviating could be dangerous. Also, kinda unprofessional.
At dress rehearsal, relations amongst the cast improved, while I fretted over shoes and lines. I was wearing soft jazz shoes, that are really just cloth with elastic overtop. I wore them in Mikado, but here we were walking outdoors on gravel and it was uncomfortable, sometimes painful.
We got a standing ovation!
I almost—but didn’t!— slip during one of the dances. The stage is particularly slippery because it’s dusty and our jazz shoes have become increasingly less stable as they become smoother with wear. In one dance, I have to run all the way around the stage, a big circle where I run behind Stumpy-the-Chair, right at the far edge of the stage.
We also experienced the singular experience of Hermia’s burping. Hermia—a very sweet woman who wears an elaborate blonde wig for each show—gets nervous before and during shows and it makes her burp. Loudly. It’s actually quite impressive for such a loud sound to come from such a petite body.
I made the ‘projection team!’ During a pre-show group talk with the directors, they pointed me out as being one of the loudest in the cast. Finally!
We did a group warm-up, the fairies ran through our lullaby harmonies, I ran through my mini-monologue, and Helena, Hermia and Puck squatted and made very low frog sounds. Everyone has their own warm-up. Don’t judge.
This show was particularly nerve-wracking as my sister and our choreographer were coming. But it went well! No major slip-ups and I projected the hell outta that stage!
Third Show (Friday)
Another sold-out crowd, another standing ovation!
We did our group warm-up, which ended with everyone shouting “came in her eye!” before separating. Immature maybe, but it’s an actual line in the show.
It was much breezier tonight, meaning more waves and therefore more background noise to overcome. But fewer mosquitos!
Unfortunately, during the last act during the wedding entertainment tonight, one of the lovers’ goblets of water was knocked over. There wasn’t much water in it, and nothing they could do about it at the time.
The end is nigh!
A wonderful way to spend the summer!