A Midsummer Night’s Dream - MIT Global Shakespeares (Al-Shamma, 2013)

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was directed by James Al-Shamma at the University Playhouse, Texas A&M University-Commerce in Texas. The production ran for two hours and 8 minutes and was performed in English February 19-23 at 8:00 PM and February 24 at 3:00 PM, 2013.


Dramaturgical Concept

Starting with the idea of carnival, my designers and I were drawn to Venice during the Rococo Period (the late 1700s) for its colorful, elegant apparel. Theseus, Hippolyta, and their courtiers don masks and costumes to masquerade as the fairies. Given our setting, and our replacement of the forest with the canals of the Italian city, we chose to emphasize the dualism of day and night over that of court and forest. Stylistically, we implemented a heightened theatricality suggestive of Italianate scenic practices, including a sun and a moon raised and lowered by ropes to signal the transition from day into night and back again, a court set piece wheeled into place and removed by actors in full view of the audience, and wooden waves manipulated by hand. The court piece especially is adorned with rococo patterns. We peered a bit farther back in time for the design of our sun and moon, drawing inspiration from the heavens as painted on the ceiling that overhangs the stage in Shakespeare’s Globe (as recreated in its current incarnation). The Elizabethans derived their concept of the four elements from the ancient Greeks, and so our costumes exhibit traces of fire, air, water, and earth (especially those of the lovers, each of whom we have associated with one of the elements). Theseus/Oberon is linked to the sun, and Hippolyta/Titania to the moon, also through their attire. Their transformation from royalty of the day to that of night, and vice versa, is accomplished, at times, through the layering and peeling of fabric and masks before the audience. During the nighttime scenes, an upstage traveler reveals hanging fabric painted in a more abstract style that suggests the less-traveled waterways of Venice, and Titania’s bower has become a gondola. The Rude Mechanicals, barefaced throughout (except for Bottom, whose “translation” is accomplished with a donkey headpiece) finally disguise themselves for the presentation of Pyramus and Thisbe in masks appropriate to their respective roles and trades. The imprint of the Italian theatrical practice of commedia dell’arte is most evident in Puck, who is draped in the patterns of the cunning servant Arlecchino (Harlequin).



Supervisor: Tony DeMars, Director of Radio and Television, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Videographer: Justin Vitz

Camera Operators: Scott Hulsey, Jeff Amis, James Barrans


Production Staff

Assistant Director: B.F. Steddum

Scenic Designer/Shop Foreman: Chad Harrison Pope

Art Director: Sarah Scholl

Costume Designer/Costume Shop Supervisor: Samantha Grace

Assistant Costume Designers: Piper Bardwell and Stephanie Goudy

Mask, Hair, and Makeup Designers: Bree Burns and Christy Griser

Lighting Designer: Erin Pleake

Sound Designer: William J. Carr

Props Designer: Chris Smith

Assistant Props Designer: Keegan Stalcup

Stage Manager: Amy M. Sherman

Assistant Stage Manager: Brandon Fain

Light Board Operator: Benjamin Kennedy

Soundboard Operator: Brandon Pecina

Graphics Designer and Poster Design: Monica Young

Poster Artwork: Sarah Scholl

Props Master: Zach Oakes

Fight Captain: Jacob I. Layton

Wardrobe Crew Head: Christine Sheehan

Wardrobe, Hair, and Makeup Assistants: Tiffany Landers, Macayla Landers, and Kim Baxter

Fly Rail Operators: Ilima Santiago and Zach Oakes

Production Manager/Publicity Manager: Robin Billings

Lobby Designer: Sarah Scholl

House Manager: Keegan Stalcup

Choreography: Bree Burns

Box Office Manager: Alesa McGregor

Box Office Staff: Latrice Owens, Amy Whitman, and Shauna Holloway

Director of Theatre: M. Knight

Chair, Department of Mass Media, Communication and Theatre: John Mark Dempsey



Theseus/Oberon: Henry Okigbo

Hippolyta/Titania: Cynthia Beene

Lysander: Sri Chilukuri

Demetrius: Jacob Layton

Hermia: Callie McGovern

Helena: Sarah Scholl

Egeus: Micah Haynes

Philostrate: Bree Burns

Puck: B.F. Steddum

Bottom: Gabrielle Dickson

Flute: Andrew Carol

Quince: Micah Haynes

Starveling: Piper Bardwell

Snout: Lauren Simpson

Snug: Eddiey Sneed

Peaseblossom: Becca Naylor

Cobweb: Bree Burns

Moth: Diron Jones

Mustardseed/Fairy Monologue: Stephanie Goudy


Director biography

James Al-Shamma was an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Texas A&M University-Commerce when he directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is now at Belmont University. He received his Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Research interests include contemporary American theatre and women playwrights, and Arabic and Iraqi theatre. He is the author of Sarah Ruhl: A Critical Study of the Plays and Ruhl in an Hour, in which he addresses the highly-acclaimed contemporary American playwright and her work. Notable directing credits include a “provincial punk” staging of Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector, and Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan for the Five Dollar Recession Theatre Company in Nashville.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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