Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

A Midsummer Night's Dream has long been a favourite Shakespeare play of mine. My friend Kath and I went to the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick to see it a few days ago. On our way we had a lovely meal at the Troutbeck Inn which really made a night of it. Unfortunately it poured with rain all the way to Keswick and all the way back (and all the time inbetween I'm pretty sure!). The theatre is situated close to Derwent Water, such a lovely setting. It is small but comfortable and has had some wonderful productions.

Kath and I had good seats five rows back in the stalls and had a brilliant view. I was pleased to see it was a traditional production (I'm not that into modern adaptations, though they do sometimes work well.) The humans were dressed in Elizabethan-style costumes and the fairies floaty gossamer, flowers with ivy, Oberon and Puck more animal-like and earthy.

The thing I love about this play is it's contrasts, the human/fairy worlds, poles apart, yet drawn together that night. The raucous humour of the amateur actors doing their play for the nobles. Then there is the beautifully poetic language of the fairies, so much in touch with and a part of nature. I thought this production caught all this so well with the costumes and set. The set was simple but adaptable and worked very well. The acting was excellent. The photo in this article is taken from the Theatre by the Lake website, go here for more information.

I especially love some of Puck's lines, the likeable rogue has some of the best lines. Seeing this play made me realise once more what a genius Shakespeare was and how good he was at capturing a spirit that has never aged or become alien to generations. Hundreds of years after the play was written people can still laugh heartily, feel wonder at and love the words he created.

Let Puck finish this review for me:

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.

1 comment: