Last Thursday and Friday, pupils from 5 different year groups performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The first performance took place by the forest next to the Headmaster’s house and the Health Centre, ensuring Covid regulations do not stop the creative arts. Parents, teachers and pupils gathered on blankets and deck chairs to enjoy the magical show.
For those of you who don’t know, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about a love square, with Hermia and Lysander being in love despite Hermia’s father (Egeus) wanting her to marry Demetrius who Helena loves, and fairies meddling with human affairs. There are also the mechanicals, who have met together to rehearse a play in time for King Theseus’ wedding day. Everything goes wrong when the fairy king’s loyal servant Puck accidentally makes Lysander and Demetrius love Helena, and how can we forget poor Titania (the fairy queen) who is made to fall in love with Bottom (a mechanical) who has been turned into an ass! After mischief and madness, everything turns out alright with the whole cast dancing to Saturday Night by Whigfield.
The play starts with Theseus and Hippolyta, his uninterested but soon to be wife, playing badminton. Daisy, year 10, playing Theseus was absolutely hilarious ad-libbing about how Hippolyta was not good at the game, but sure looked good doing it- we especially love gender reversed roles! Then entered Egeus full of rage over his daughter’s disobedience. A highlight has got to be Hermia face planting the floor when finding out she has to either die or never be with a man. But Lysander and Hermia plot to run away, whilst Helena tells Demetrius in an attempt to win his love- she should have known it is never that easy.
We then cut to the Mechanicals meeting in the woods to rehearse their play, which is ‘The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe’. The year 7’s were adorable in their paper boiler suits and Quince, played by Jessamy in year 8, was brilliant ensuring the year 7’s social distance- theatre’s dig at Covid. My favourite line from her has got to be, ’No laughing, aerosol transmission’. Then enter Bottom (me), trying to play every part possible due to his extraordinary and definitely over the top acting skills. Honestly, so rude trying to take an 11 year old’s part. Bottom then takes control of the class, leaving poor Peter Quince behind.
Now is the rivalry between the fairy queen and king. Titania, Niamh year 9, has adopted a changeling boy and is refusing to give him up to her husband Oberon, Ted year 9, who wants the boy as a henchmen. The result of this argument is Oberon wanting revenge on her, calling his servant Puck to find a flower that will make Titania fall in love with the next thing she sees. All the fairies looked wicked in their crazy back-combed hair, leather jackets, broken wings and neon accessories, although I am not sure Mr Dixon was a fan of the neon nail varnish the fairies got away with having. Puck then transformed Bottom into a donkey with Jaz, never looking better wearing long brown ears. When Titania woke, she immediately fell in love with Bottom the donkey. The year 7 boys loved all the innuendos and got so excited when the couple entered the caravan.
After chaos between the lovers, with Hermia trying to rugby tackle Helena for stealing Lysander’s love and the two boys struggling to hold her back, Puck was left to resolve his mistakes. Theseus then found the lovers, awakening them with a fanfare of trumpets- thank you the RHS buglers! As Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius were in their correct loving pairs, Theseus allowed them to be together. What a happy ending! And what could possibly be a better way to celebrate than an awful play- cue the mechanicals.
The play within the play started with Peter Quince’s nervous prologue that didn’t really make any sense. Then Wall appeared, wearing a brown blanket and holding a toilet tube to represent the chink- high end costume indeed. Enter Pyramus, played by Bottom, being overly dramatic like always. But he is distressed by the fact his love Thisbe is no where to be seen, that is until Ethan in year 7 enters playing the most beautiful woman. The two arrange to meet at Ninus’ (ninny is what they call it just to stress Quince out even more) tomb. Their plan fails though when the mighty lion (adorable Kathryn from year 7) chases Ethan off stage, suggesting to Pyramus that she is dead. The MOST dramatic death scene now occurs, with Pyramus just not dying! I mean how many times does someone need to say ‘die’ before actually dying. Thisbe then reenters and sees her dead love, killing herself too. Their play is met with awkward applause.
It was so nice to be able to perform again, especially in a wide outside space. It was unfortunate that the second night had to be performed in the Burns Recital Hall due to the thunder, but everyone adapted really well and should be really proud. I hope everyone who watched it and performed in it really enjoyed it! Congratulations should also go to Mr Kerr.
Fairies- Zara, Alice, Jackie, Natalie