City Grammar May 1949 School Play
A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

In presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream last May, the Dramatic Society, with Mr. Bailey as producer, started a new venture.  The stage was made to look like that of Shakespeare's Globe Playhouse, and the whole performance was very much as it would have been in the dramatist's time - no front curtain, no scenery, no variation of lighting, no pause between scenes.  So successful was the production that one could not help but feel that Shakespeare should always be produced in this way.  The cast had been made to realize that the words of the play were all-important;  and, without the distraction of lighting and scenery, the words had their full force and really worked on the imagination of the audience, so that the almost bare stage really did appear to be a moonlit wood, a fragrant bower, a ducal palace, or a crude workshop.  No attempt at realistic scenery can evoke these scenes as the words of the play can - of producer and actors will allow them to.

The absence of scenery and front curtains meant also that the tempo was quick.  That meant that the gaiety, lightness, vitality and fun of the play came through fully and unhampered.  This was helped also by what was perhaps the most noticeable quality of all the actors - namely, the way they entered so completely into the spirit of the play.  From the distress of Helena to the mischievous pranks of dainty little Cobweb  and Peaseblossom with what in proportion seemed a giant Bottom, every movement, expression and gesture seemed so natural that it seemed absurd to think they appeared at the command of a producer.

In writing of so excellent a production, in which everything was on an equally high level - the Globe Playhouse set, the beautifully designed and stencilled back curtain, the madrigal singing, the fairy costumes, as well as the whole of the acting - one would like to mention the names of all concerned.  As this is not possible, it seems best not to mention any, but to thank and congratulate all concerned for the very hard work they put in, for each individual performance (both on and off the stage) and for the excellent team spirit which was shown.

All those who saw A Midsummer Night's Dream will be looking forward with eager anticipation to the Dramatic Society's next production.


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