Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
My photos did not come out well at all: for some reason, the inner workings didn’t work too well, so…unless I get more photos from the production, I will have to make do with what is above. My apologies, but what you see up top: on the left, my Pucks (six in all, ranging in age from 7 to 13); on the right, my Helena & Hermia (back to back), with Demetrius to the right. Theseus is in the far background.
“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.”
One of the first things said after the curtain call (NOT by me) was: “Look at what we accomplished!”
NO…look at what the kids accomplished!
It’s all about them, not the adults, who bickered, got in each others ways, made scapegoats, argued, ignored, interrupted, did not work as a team with the production staff, the production staff who did not work with others in the production staff…it’s not about the adults. The kids either get it or they don’t, and in this case…
They got it. The 44 kids, ranging in age from 7 to 13, DID get it, and they did present SHAKESPEARE!! Whether they knew it or not, they enhanced their literary knowledge, were not dumbed down to, and they rose to the challenge. They spoke in iambic pentameter as LANGUAGE, learned comic and dramatic timing, presentation, stage and life skills, and so much more in a relatively short period of time.
Just so you know, their first performance? After it, I couldn’t talk. I teared up and cried from the pride I had at what they had accomplished. I was SO touched by what they put out on stage for their first paying audience. They earned their applause and laughter all the way. It wasn’t the Parent’s audience…you know, where no matter what happens the parents will applaud and love it. This was an audience of other camps, whose campers showed them the work before them was worthy of laughter and applause.
Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
There were moments and aspects of this production that I will never forget:
- The young man who played Bottom WAS Bottom, from the audition to the final performance. If anything, he honed his comic timing and acting presence to a fine art, and I truly to hope to see him continue in the craft. Yes, I did tell him so. I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed with a young actor as I was with him, except for…
- The young woman who played Oberon: yes, YOUNG WOMAN. 9 years old, and just blew me away! Barely 4 feet tall, what she put into the performance was simply mesmerizing. She deserved this part, earned it, grew into it fully and expertly. I also expect great things out of her.
- The two female leads (Hermia & Helena) are truly gifted young actresses. Both blessed with amazing voices (the musical director and they created character development songs that ADDED so wonderfully to the show), they also grew over the six weeks into their roles.
- The final rehearsal for the mechanicals “Show Within A Show” had all of us laughing so hard. Our Demetrius was crying with laughter from their antics. None of us could keep it together: they were just so over the top funny. I wish we could have recorded THAT for a blooper type reel. Truly: six young people being SO amazingly nutty AND ON TARGET! I wish you could have experienced it with us. Writing about it just can not give it justice.
- With a great Stage Combat artist, we were able to have our Lysander and Demetrius fight not only with words over Helena but with staves as well. We talked it over, and then when I first saw it in actuality…it was a Wow moment, and it was for the audience. Excellent timing and a great addition to the show.
- The Fairy Lullaby
- The Pucks, when they actually began to really work as ONE PUCK, when it finally clicked for them.
- The Finale: after Puck’s final speech, I wanted something hot and on fire, with an entire cast blow out (before the curtain call). While I did not really get what I wanted (a friend who came to TWO of the performances said “it was nice” but…nice was not what I wanted), it still was a great button to the show, and the audience dug it (little did they know that it was Peter Gabriel’s “The Rhythm of the Heat” that got them going).
So…I am very glad to have had the opportunity to finally direct most of my artistic version of one of my favorite of Mr. Shakespeare’s plays. I truly did care and love most of my cast (even if they gave me the heebie-jeebies with their non-stop talking and antics). There are many things I could vent about here, but I won’t. In the end, the play is the thing, all the world’s a stage, and I’m done with this and moving onto my next project, as it should be.
Puck. If we shadows have offended, Think but this and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends. [Exit.
- –William Shakespeare
(*Special Thanks to Mr. Derek Galloway for the three pics inserted into the essay)