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He built the plays for very simple stages with some area above, some area below, and something to anchor the action downstage right and downstage left. And maybe a trap or two. How do you approach a play that is so well known?

You have to make it personal. It cannot be generic or based on well-worn assumptions. You have to be open to being surprised by it. You have to attempt to reimagine it, without falling into the trap of cleverness. Or just a clever idea? Far from it.

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I admire it. But I think we owe it to our audiences to be more than just clever. If these plays are not about struggling human beings that we know and recognize and are engaged by, then they are not interesting to me. It should be a ton of fun, but not just fun. What about the fairies? It is a difficult problem for a director to convincingly represent supernatural forces on stage.

How are you approaching this? It is a challenge. Movies made it harder.


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Disney and now Pixar have made it harder still. It takes creativity. It takes smart designers and very skillful actors. The reality is, we are not interested in fairies or the supernatural per se. We are interested in people. We are fascinated by other human beings.

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These fairies, like Greek and Roman and Norse Gods, are very, very human. So I am eager to explore the humanity of these fairies, and not worry too much about glitter and makeup and flitting about. Lightning in a B ottle - 16 -. The lovers seem very vulnerable to the forces of the natural world and of their own passions.

How are you thinking about representing them and how do they play into your overall vision? The lovers are just doing their best.


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  • They are young and passionate and in love. So of course they act foolish at times. And, like all enthusiasts of any kind, they are vulnerable to all kinds of forces and influences. I love the lovers. They all want so much. How do you envision the role of the mechanicals and their play-within-a play in this world?

    I think we will discover the details of this world in the room as we play. I have an incredibly talented group of actors, and I am sure we will find our way.

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    Again, I know it is not about shtick and hi-jinks though I am sure there will be some of both but about of aspiring actors whose passion far, far outruns their actual skill. I have no interest in judging them or making fun of them.


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    • Like everyone in this play, they are doing their very, very best. The fact that we might not think that is very good is not their fault. What do you think are the most important themes in the play? I think about these particular human beings in these particular tricky situations.

      I think about what each of these odd and flawed and wonderful people want from each other and how they go about getting what they want. I think about how the rules of this particular imaginative world might work. I think about how I live in relation to the play and the people in it. I want to tell the truth about how the world feels to me. I feel that if I do that with a modicum of creativity, generosity, and courage, and encourage the other artists involved to do the same, than we will find our way. Mostly, I think about what I want the audience to walk away with.

      When it comes to themes, I like to let the audience work that out for themselves, if they are interested in doing so. Or the scholars. Or students who have to write about the play. Is there something about this play that you think might resonate with students who see this production? All of it, I hope. I think the sensibility of this place is very youth-friendly. Young people are all about love and life-and-death stakes and defying unreasonable adults and trying to find some kind of order out of a world full of chaos. So I think it should be right there for them.

      Lightning in a B ottle - 17 -. Mistaken identities: Puck disguises himself, people fall in love with the wrong person or animal Multiple, intertwining plots: plots involving the Mechanicals, the Mortals, and the Fairies Suspension of natural laws: magic as a real force in the forest Turning things upside down: women pursue men, people live in the forest rather than in civilization, unschooled men and women attempt to perform a play The element of marriage: the play culminates in three marriages which provide occasion for celebration and entertainment Language: misuse of words or meanings, clever use of insults, complex imagery OK, you say, but how can you actually BE funny?

      A genre is a particular way of telling a story. Look for them in our production, and think of how you could use them yourself! Following the departure of his first major clown actor, Will Kempe, Shakespeare began writing different kinds of clowns. He began to create wittier, more cerebral clowns for his new actor, Robert Armin, creating a clown persona that was more idiot savant than buffoon. Lightning in a B ottle - 18 -. However, the bumbling, vainglorious Falstaff was so popular, that Queen Elizabeth I commissioned Shakespeare to write a play in which Falstaff fell in love.

      The play born from this commission, The Merry Wives of Windsor, relies heavily on Falstaff to create and maintain the comedic atmosphere. I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit So that but one heart we can make of it… Then by your side no bed-room me deny; For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie. Now much beshrew my manners and my pride, If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.

      But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy Lie further off; in human modesty. Lightning in a B ottle - 19 -. Some well-known Shakespeare used insult comedy in a particularly modern insult comics include Lisa Lampinelli, inventive and outrageous way. Some contemporary performance of their play quite seriously.

      Lightning in a B ottle - 20 -. Shakespeare uses the idea of fairies in the play to help the mortals along. We all could use a little supernatural intervention from time to time!

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      Many Elizabethans still believed that there were spirits in the world to be feared. Their stories were folk tales of humans being led astray into humiliation or death. They acted as cautionary tales to warn of the dangers of carelessness.

      As most looked human, a collection of rituals and traditions had evolved to identify fairies and protect oneself from these malevolent beings. With his plays Shakespeare changed the way the world viewed fairies. His fairies owe as much to courtly Italian romances as to the traditional spirits. Unlike the solitary fiends of lore who lived from moment to moment, his fairies are structured in a court system with a king and queen. Like the mortals, their actions are based in a sense of justice and their own emotions and desires. Fairies are still tricksters, but no longer intend harm to humans.

      Instead they are celebratory and deeply tied to nature through song and dance.

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      Both rulers even bless the bridal beds at the end of the play. Shakespeare even changed their physical appearance—in his works fairies are tiny and incredibly swift. Do You Know About Changelings? Tradition said that fairies sometimes kidnapped human babies and exchanged them with fairy babies. These were called changelings.