Sunday, July 24, 2016


I mentioned to our Drama guys yesterday that staging A Midsummer Night's Dream was the fulfilment of an ambition for me. For years I've considered it the one Shakespeare play that might play well in a school context and often thought of how it might be made to work. What I didn't tell them was why I decided to go ahead with it.

With anything that I end up directing for performance the key consideration is a firmly pragmatic one: doability. Can it, whatever it might be, actually be made to work given the performers and the whole production set-up available, plus the broader context of performance, particularly the audience you're going to get? Until this year the stars had failed to align themselves in this regard, but when they strangely did - given the way circumstances have played themselves out over the last two years or so - then the possibility of getting the Dream on stage became real. And I felt both extremely lucky - especially in terms of the people around me - and oddly blessed.

This is not so far, I suspect, from Shakespeare's own sense of pragmatic necessity. We cannot grasp the development of his work unless we see it firmly within the real circumstances of theatre in his day. We wouldn't have got Bottom the Weaver had Will's company not had Will Kemp around to make the role. Lucky us.

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