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Review of the play : A Midsummer's Night Dream

Review written by Colum Hughes :Part One

When I first heard that Dr. Pidoux had set us the task of performing a Shakespeare play, I revelled in the thought. 
I am probably the only person of my age group who actually enjoys watching Shakespeare (when it is done correctly) and enjoy even more performing it. 
I think the main problem with the dislike for Shakespeare with today's youth is that it is difficult to understand and it also is a large part of the English syllabus, therefore they have spent most of their lives looking at Shakespeare plays and feeling none the wiser for it. 

However, I, like most of the pupils at Kings, undertook the audition process. 
The process relied on the fact that we had previously done some work on the play in our English class with Dr. Pidoux and it was granted that pupils understood it enough to know which character they would like to audition for.
I was one of the many people whom auditioned for the part of one of the rude mechanicals (Bottom/Flea/Snout/etc) as these parts provided most of the comedy in an altogether unfunny script by modern standards. 
I think that pupils auditioned for these parts for, being the comics of the play, they would gain more notoriety and they would be more memorable than say the King/Queen. 
I know that is why I wanted to play such a part. 
In hindsight, I would have much rather played one of the male lovers, but would have up against tough competition from both Richard Mylles and of course, Freddie Hutchins in trying to win these parts. 
I think that it was the case that only Freddie and Richard auditioned for the male lover parts, but they rightly gained the parts.
The majority of the girls auditioned for the parts of the fairies, but the surprise to most of us was petite actress, Clare Dery's performance as one of the female lovers.

 

I thought that to make the play comedic (as it is intended to be a comedy) that Dr. Pidoux and Mr. Warr (who had seemingly appointed himself as assistant director sometimes to the annoyance of Dr. Pidoux) would be up to the task of staging it to be funny as most of the jokes would be too archaic to try and revive.

This is what I have known other directors to do with Shakespearean comedies and also comedies written by Shakespeare's peers such as Ben Johnson and Christopher Marlowe. But that wasn't the case this time.
After the audition came a seemingly long wait until we found out who had gained which parts. There were a few disappointed faces within the crowd of pupils gathered around the notice broad, and of course, some very jovial faces.
The rehearsal progress began and at first, there wasn't much energy going into the performances. I don't know whether or not most people weren't comfortable acting, or whether people were just getting into character.

After a few more days of rehearsals and people doing 'line-runs' in dorms at night, I noticed that people were now beginning to put some effort into finding there characters.
Most notably Freddie.
The main thing that I found wrong with the whole rehearsal progress was the lack of help from the director in individual actors finding their characters. I didn't know that I was mis-emphasising word in sentences, due to the nature of the language used (in particular: 'have you the Lions part written?').
When, near to the day of the performance, I was reading through my script, as was everyone at that time in a panic, I realised that I was not saying my line correctly and stressing some words wrongly creating a different meaning for the sentence, I asked myself, why had I not been made aware of this before.
It is my belief that, although obviously trained as an English teacher, Dr. Pidoux and Mr Warr had had very little or not experience in directing a play or maybe just a Shakespeare play.


Or was it their roles as 1950's teachers not to help the actor? I doubt it.

Continued.......