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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Rachel Hechler, Yuxuan Jiang, Craig Lee, and Megan Nyugen

Posted by on Monday, October 1, 2018 in Blog posts, , .

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As a part of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, was performed at the Centennial Park Bandshell located adjacent to West End Avenue. This classic play written in 1596, portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. Jaclynn Jutting who directed the play, explores the duality of love that raises the question: if we are in love, are we ever in control? The play is still highly relevant because it centers around love, irrationality, dreams, imagination — aspects of life that greatly impact us.

Megan Nguyen is a junior majoring in Mathematics; however, she is interested in exploring theatre and was deeply impressed by Les Miserables production at Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Yuxuan Jiang is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science; his friend suggested the class to him and he is looking to broaden his theatrical knowledge. Craig Lee is a junior HOD major who is also on the pre-med track and does not have a particular background in theatre, but was interested in learning more about the industry by taking this course. Rachel Hechler is a junior majoring in Human and Organizational Development, and a member of the pre-nursing society; however, growing up, Rachel was involved in many musical theatre productions, and enjoyed acting, singing, and dancing. After watching the play, Megan Nguyen, Rachel Hechler, Craig Lee and Yuxuan Jiang met on the second floor of Rand to reflect on the production and discuss the relevance of certain elements that constitute the play:

Rachel Hechler (RH): Okay… I’ll start. I did not enjoy the play…

(Everyone laughs and nods)

The production fell short of my expectations because I thought that the language was outdated. The storyline was a classic “forbidden love” story, but I found it difficult to follow.

Craig Lee (CL): I agree. I wish that I had read the play before going to see it, because throughout the production I was very confused about the flow of the story.

Megan Nguyen (MN): Same for me, even though I took an English class with Professor Enterline, who is an expert in Shakespeare’s works. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was one of the pieces I had to read and analyze for class. I thought I would be comfortable with the play’s content coming into the performance, but I also found it hard to follow.

RH: Even though I found the play to be long-winded, I thought that the actors and actresses did a decent job to make the play as entertaining as possible. One of the things I struggled with was understanding the humor in the play. People around me were constantly laughing and I was unsure what was so funny. From what I understood, the comedy stems from the overly dramatic presentation of certain lines and some witty comments.

CL: Going off the positives of the play, I agree that the acting and the actual production of the play was done relatively well. The choice of actors seemed to be done precisely and accurately as the actors who seemed to play the characters were enthusiastic and passionate about their roles. For example, Sarah Katherine Zanotti who played Helena made such a strong impression on me. As far as the production, it felt as though I was in an actual Shakespearean theatre with such an intimate setting, which added to the realism that the production provided.

Yuxuan Jiang (YJ): I felt differently. Since it was a public play and was available to everyone, the play almost lost the exclusivity that, I think, is supposed to be so crucial to every theatre. For me, this particular play does not convey the sense of “class” that was discussed in our class. And I definitely agree that we should read the play first because the play was hard to follow.

RH: I agree with Craig that the production was well-done, especially for a public outdoor theater! I think that the actors did a great job of staying in character and performing in the heat. When I saw the play, it was in the high 80’s and everyone in the audience was sweating, so I was impressed that the actors were able to maintain the professionalism that they displayed. However, I completely understand where you are coming from, but I thought that the outdoor public setting created a sense of community that you don’t get in a classic theater.

MN: I also think that the setting created a more inclusive environment. Another thing that I appreciated from the play was the inclusivity of different races and ages in the cast. For example, Tamiko Robinson Steele did such a splendid job of portraying both Hippolyta and Titania, characters that were played by white actresses when I saw the movie’s 1999 version. Also, the little girl, Bella Higginbotham, portrayed the quirky Poppy so excellently despite her age.

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RH: I thought that the cast did a pretty good job. I thought that Joy Greenawalt-Lay, who played Hermia, did a great job acting as both the loving Hermia we saw at the beginning and ending of the play, as well as the jealous and angry version of Hermia seen in the middle of the play. When Lysander was under the spell of that magical juice from a flower, making him forget his true love, Hermia, and replacing her with Helena, Greenawalt-Lay’s emotional transition was particularly impressive.

MN: Really? I was more impressed by Sam Douglas’ portrayal of Nick Bottom. He groans and rolls all over the stage to show how good of an actor Nick Bottom thinks of himself. The audience cannot help but laugh at his goofiness onstage. In a way, Sam Douglas is an actor playing an actor on stage.

YJ: I don’t know… I didn’t think the cast had a particularly amazing performance. Even though the love between Oberon and Titania is the result of the magic potions dispensed by the sprite Puck, the core of the play is the human suffering that comes with love and the lack of it. I feel like there should be real tear shed but real tears are often absent on stage, not mentioning the stage is situated in the park.

(Everyone laughs)

CL: So, we are back to that?

(Everyone laughs)

RH: Yeah… I didn’t have high expectations to begin with, but I see where you are coming from. Also, I did not particularly enjoy the music, but I still thought that the musicians were quite talented. I have a background in music and I felt that the music was helpful in transitioning from scene to scene and set the mood/tone for the upcoming scene. However, the choreography could have been improved. I thought that some of the choreography felt forced, especially in the more serious scenes like when Hermia broke down on realizing that Lysander no longer loved her.

MN: I get that, but, regardless, I must give some credit to some parts of the choreography. The choreography of the backup dancers fits well with the events of the story. For example, when Oberon puts juice from a magical flower into Titania’s eyes while she is asleep, the backup dancers utilize meandering arm movements to demonstrate the mystical nature of the event.

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CL: Speaking of that scene, I thought that the costumes were very well done.

MN: Yeah… I must say the costumes really got me thinking about the style that the director was going after. Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena all wore modern clothes, contrary to the movie version I watched. I think the director was trying to add a modern twist to the play given the fact that young people of our age account for a sizeable proportion in the audience.

YJ: The modern touch of the costume was great in my opinion but I feel like if they have chosen to go with a modern touch they maybe could have changed some of the language as well just to make it more accessible for people.

RH: I agree, since the costume designer decided to make the costumes more modern, I think it would have been more interesting if they hired a play-write to modernize the language. I think it would have made the play more engaging and captivating.

MN: They could have modernized the language, but we must admit that it is difficult to make changes to Shakespeare’s works given his unique approaches to languages.

RH: I understand that Shakespeare was a genius, but I think modernizing the language would have made the play more relatable to audience members. I also found the play to be overly dramatic, but I guess that makes sense because love is overly dramatic? The play represents the strength of love and the jealousy of loving someone who doesn’t love you back.

MN: But isn’t Shakespeare supposed to be dramatic?

RH: Yes, and I respect that, but I thought that the actors could have toned down the presentation of some of the lines.

CL: To kind of counter that point, I believe that the actors were tailoring this portrayal of the play to a specific audience. I think the play is tailored towards people who enjoy the traditional Shakespearean language and dramatism, which could have contributed to them being dramatic.

YJ: I agree. Even though I disagree with the location choice and acting style, this play is tailored to a specific audience that enjoys Shakespeare. I am just not one of those people.

(Everyone laughs)

Also, I have a modest understanding of sword-fighting and in my opinion the sword fight at the beginning of the play was not true to the European sword-fighting technique. I understand that the play is a dramatic adaptation but the opening almost felt like child play to me.

RH: Speaking of the beginning of the play… my first impressions were positive. When you walked into the fenced area, the stage setting and atmosphere was transcendent.

YJ: Yeah.. I thought that the design of the background on set, like the stage, naturally blended with the real background, of the park, behind the stage.

MN: The smooth change of setting definitely keeps the audience from drifting off, but the main feature of the setting, the poles, remains the same, which helps the audience to keep track of where the story takes place… the forest!

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CL: Yes, I agree that the stage set definitely was transparent with the actual background of the theatre. However, I would say that, at times, the relatively quick transitions between settings definitely contributed to my confusion throughout. I was unable to collect my thoughts between the scenes.

RH: I completely agree. Unless cast members physically left the stage, I thought it was difficult to know when a scene ended and a new scene began.

YJ: I know we were talking about the set and the beginning of the play, but can we talk about the ending for a minute? What was up with that hearty laugh at the end?

MN: I would say the hearty laugh represented mixed feelings the audience had of the play. There are moments when the cast, like Sarah and Joy, portrayed clearly the pain of Hermia and Helena’s broken hearts. Other than those times, the performers were trying too hard to make the audience laugh sometimes, hence adding fewer moments for appreciation to sink in. For example, the fight between Hermia and Helena was overly exaggerated.

In conclusion, we criticized the play for not adapting to our contemporary taste but the cast and costume on set were praise-worthy. The background design is on-point. Though Craig did not enjoy the music on set very much, we give credit to the talented musicians on the set. Overall the production is excellent; however, when it comes to the play itself, we all expressed our difficulties in understanding the play and getting the emotional conflicts that are supposed to be conveyed on stage.

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15 Comments on “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Rachel Hechler, Yuxuan Jiang, Craig Lee, and Megan Nyugen”

I agree that the casting had some high points, but there were also some low points. For example, Puck is not typically played by a woman. I think that the goal of this was perhaps to modernize the play. This reflects the why now question of who, pointing out that females can be influential, especially since Puck is at the center of the play. However, this fell short for me because I think the almost ditzy nature of Puck paints women in a poor light. Perhaps the play could have gender-bent casting in other ways to achieve this goal.

I also noticed the choreography and music, but I kind of had opposite experiences with these elements. I thought the music really helped with the setting of the play and almost added movie-like continuity and feeling in the background. I appreciated how the musicians were onstage and part of the show as opposed to in a pit or backstage. I think this added to the show because music is often a part of high society culture, and realistically, they probably would have had a similar live band play at weddings and such. Some of the choreography I really enjoyed, particularly the fluid movements of the fairies. This movement was very uniform, making me as an audience member accept that they were mystical beings of the same species. However, I thought that the intentionally choreographed parts of the show (the big dance number in the forest and at the end) were silly and actually detracted from the storyline.

In terms of the audience experience, I actually felt that the bandshell in the park was very authentic. The New Globe in London is roofless and most of the seating is standing room for the “commoners” at the front. This was reflected in the setup. Despite the fact that the play was open to anyone, I felt that the Nashville Shakespeare company wanted to create the feeling of a community. I think this was achieved through the casual nature of the show because it had a “anyone can enjoy and experience Shakespeare” attitude that most productions of classic plays like this do not.

Overall, I’m impressed with the analysis from this group on the show. I’m glad we noticed some of the same things, but our differing opinions on some elements proves even more that critiques are subjective and something I love might be something that someone else hates or does not even notice.

Rachel Platt on October 2nd, 2018 at 12:02 pm

I really appreciate the depth and perspectives of conversation above, and I would like to share my agreements, as well as some additional thoughts, about the show.

First, I also found the performance was hard to follow and understand for a person without knowing the story in advance. During the show, I kept checking the brief summary of acts of the original story using my phone as the play progressed in order to understand who is doing what and which act is happening. The possible reasons might be lack of context and the confusion in the transition of different acts. For future improvements, I think it would be helpful if the cast take either of the two ways: Including a brief introduction of the play and some of the characters ahead of the beginning of the show, or add an aside throughout the play narrating some crucial turning points to help the audience keep up with the progress of the play.

Second, the most impressive part of the play for me was actually the stage effect, such as costume and the sound effects. For instance, the costume of the fairies and the Queen were so fancily decorated, which gave me an immediate feeling of being in a magic forest myself. What’s more, apart from the costume, I was intrigued by the sound on stage. For instance, I remember that in the scenes that Hermia, Lysander, as well as the Queen were sleeping and the fairy spread the magic juice to them, other actors on stage created the background sounds by mouth using words such as “shi,woo, sha, etc.” as if a magical forest wind was blowing and the leaves rustling, creating a sense of mystery and suspense. This human-created sound really caught me and made me “absorbed” in the performance as an audience sitting in an outside environment.

I really advocate for the idea of public theater for its inclusiveness of all who loves theater (it’s free) and its significance as a way of promoting theater industry to the public in aspects of educational significance, theatrical knowledge and appreciation, the preservation or adaptation of important works, etc. However, a downside of public theater like this experience was the environment. Since the audience, as well as actors, were exposed to the external environment, unpredictable factors such as weather conditions can greatly affect the overall experience. For instance, the first time I went to see the show was an “unforgettable experience.” It started raining so hard just after the play began for several minutes, and I remember that at one moment, all the audience initially sitting on the chair or blankets suddenly started running towards the shelter to avoid the rain, the actors retrieved to backstage, and the show had to be canceled at last. For the second time, the weather got so cold as it got dark, and I was shivering during the whole process (one of my friends even caught a cold because of the coldness…).

Overall, though it was a physically uncomfortable experience, it was still a great show for me. The actors such as Bottom (who played the donkey) was so funny that I laughed out loud whenever he was on stage, which totally made my impression on the whole show improved a lot. The costume and the sound effect was also impressive. Yet, the cast can work on improving the overall experience of the audience in the future in aspects of clarifying contexts and transitions of the story as well as the environment where the event takes place (such as setting up a big shed above the audiences’ seats).

Zirui Song on October 6th, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I really enjoyed reading the discussion, all members contributed interesting insights. I agree that the play was difficult to follow due to the outdated language. As I watched Midsummer Night’s Dream, my experience was hindered due to my inability to keep up with what was going on. I found it interesting that while the costumes were revised for a modern context, that the language did not match the aesthetics of the actors’ clothing. It felt like a modern day setting with very outdated language—which was a big disconnect for me. I also found it interesting that the group debated whether or not the free admission to the play was a positive or negative. I personally think that making the play accessible to the greater community is a great way to expose new people to an iconic playwright. With that being said, the fact that the language was so difficult to grasp made the play inaccessible to a younger audience who may have not had exposure to Shakespeare previously. In order to really follow along with what was happening, the audience needed to rely on context clues such as the emotion portrayed on the actors’ faces and the mood of the music. Luckily, the actors did a fantastic job at being engaging and emotive, and the music helped to set the scenes. Finally, I would like to comment on the functionality of performing in an outdoor space. Outdoor spaces are subject to unpredictable weather, which is something that I experienced firsthand. During the performance I attended, it began to rain heavily, which caused some discomfort for both the audience and actors. While the setting did have some positive aspects, like free admission, the weather ended up impacting my viewing experience negatively.

Kristen Rivera on October 7th, 2018 at 9:52 am

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is like an old friend to me, as the role of Bottom was one of the first I ever played, one of the first forays I ever made into the world of theatre. Thus, I can’t help but have certain expectations for the production when I see it: that it will either be true to Shakespearean form, completely modernized, or fundamentally altered in some other unique way. Unfortunately, as was identified by the speakers in this dialogue, this particular production did not commit fully to any interpretation, keeping the verbose dialogue of 1596 but donning costumes of the modern day. The tension between interpretations made the viewing experience uncomfortable, as, of course, the sweltering outdoor setting did, as well. In terms of the cast, I was aggressively unimpressed — particularly in terms of the actors playing Puck and Demetrius, I never could figure out what the casting director saw in them that inspired their inclusion in the play. As for the choreography, I found that the choreography added nothing to the play — except maybe time. Areas like these could use significant improvements, and this is why I reject the dialogue group’s conclusive assertion that “Overall, the production is excellent.” It is much more accurate to say this: overall, the production had the potential to be excellent… and it didn’t reach it.

Foster Swartz on October 7th, 2018 at 10:03 am

I am really not sure where to begin with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have only gone to a handful of plays, but I have genuinely enjoyed all of them. However, I have some mixed feelings towards A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rachel, Craig, Megan, and Yuxuan really hit the nail on the head. It was difficult to follow and it was equally difficult to understand. As an audience member, I felt really left out. Individuals around me were laughing, but I was left confused and wondering what I had missed. Part of me wants to see it again with a modern translation as the group stated, but I believe the production is tailored towards individuals who know and understand Shakespeare. If the play were translated, it might be better for me but could leave Shakespeare fans disappointed.
Despite being unclear on the some of the content and humor, I was still so drawn into the performance. This of course gives credit to the outfits, choreography, and overall energy from the cast. In all of the performances I have attended, I am always amazed with the energy that is brought by the actors. I felt like they killed it. Some of the members in the discussion group felt like things were forced and they were trying too hard, but I felt like they were very fun to watch. Even the swordfight in the beginning of the play was a lot of fun for me. I feel as if the discussion group did not give the cast enough credit. My hat is off to the cast and overall performance, even though I was lost and confused at times, they made the show a lot of fun with the energy they brought.

Tyler Duvall on October 7th, 2018 at 7:38 pm

This discussion includes a much more comprehensive perspective toward the play as I do after watching it. First of all, I agree that this play causes a little bit of confusion among audiences. In fact, I didn’t get the brochure of the play in the first place and felt difficult to understand the relations among certain characters. An audience next to me gave her brochure to me and said the play was confusing for her as well. She needed to read the summary in the brochure to get a clearer sense of what was going on. It is a creative and wonderful idea to revise the setting of this play to the modern time. However, I think telling a story including multiple storylines within two hours is not easy. To make the play accessible for audiences, particularly, audiences from different age groups and backgrounds in the park, the director can adopt a way that makes more logical sense as well as guides the audiences to follow the flow of the play.
Additionally, both the costumes and music are crucial in this play. Specifically, since this play is about a love story happens in the modern time, the modern clothing distinguishes the main characters of the love story (Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena) from the fairies. The colorful clothes on the fairies not only deliver their passion but also make audiences feel that the fairies’ life is so magical that makes it unreachable. Furthermore, the live music controls the rhythm of the play and delivers certain emotions throughout the play. Moreover, the dancing fits into the music and even makes audiences feel the emotions like happiness much stronger.
In general, other than the actual play on the stage, there is a lot more needed to be done before the play and behind the stage to make a good play. This play, in particular, not only talks about a classic story by Shakespeare but overall also gives audiences an enjoyable experience.

Yi Zhou on October 7th, 2018 at 8:13 pm

All in all, I really enjoyed this group’s analysis of the A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and found their conversation to be edited well to have a nice flow. They did not leave in anything that was irrelevant, and provided a meaningful analysis of the play which did not seem too forced. In their discussion, they mentioned ideas we discussed in class, such as the environment of a venue, audience interaction, and the idea of theatre being seen as exclusive. It was great how everyone’s voices were heard, especially because people brought different areas of expertise to the conversation, including knowledge of the play, sword fighting, and music. The group agreed on many points, but they also did not seem to hesitate in disagreeing. They all agreed on the fact that it was good to have the actors in the play wear modern clothes. That was also something that stood out to me while watching the performance, and I am happy they touched upon this element. To me it made the wardrobe of the play be one less unfamiliar thing for me to try to process during the performance. The play was definitely hard to understand at times, and the group suggested that the language of the play is outdated. I would have liked for them to expand upon the relevance of the production beyond this point. Rachel bringing up the themes of love and jealousy that were in the play could’ve been directly tied into the play’s relevance to today. Overall, the order of topics in the dialogue made sense, and it came to a nice close.

Angelee Parmar on October 7th, 2018 at 8:26 pm

It was the first time for me to watch a play on an open stage. But I enjoyed the play because the open stage allowed audiences to eliminate their distances with the actors as well as have close interaction with them when the actors walked pass them. I could feel the inclusiveness of the play. However, the stage being roofless could also distract audiences from focusing on the play because locating in the Centennial Park made audiences access to the comfortable natural environment which could distract them from focusing on the play.

I totally agree with the part of the modernized setting. When I was watching this play, I felt the inconsistency between the costumes, settings, and dialogues. The modern clothes of the characters indicated that the background of the play is placed in the 21st century, in which making audiences feel empathy. However, the ancient English in the dialogue prevented me from fully devoting into the scene because I was not familiar with that style that we would not use so that it took me a few seconds to understand what they were talking about. So it is difficult for me to build a connection between the characters and myself. Also, since this play as a community event aimed at encouraging people with different education levels to participate, the language they used might create difficulties for audiences to understand. It would be better if the playwright can also repolish the language to make it more simple and easy to understand.

I was also confused when watching the play as the group did, so I had to read an introduction about the story online during the intermission. However, unlike what Megan’s opinion towards the settings, I think that the limitation of the scenery caused my confusion. As they made sharp transitions between parallel plot lines, I was not able to catch up with the story when it suddenly shifted from Helena to Titania. However, though there were limitations of the settings, the performance of the actors was impressive and really made up a lot for the play. The character Nick Bottom was so funny that he made me laugh every time he showed up. I also think the team did a great job on the casting as the actors had both diversities and professionality.

Overall, I think this play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, was meaning because it created the opportunity for Nashville community members with different education levels to have a glance at the classical play of Shakespeare in which the value of love inside this play is still shared by society today.

Linghui Feng on October 8th, 2018 at 8:38 am

A Shakespeare’s piece called, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was performed in Centennial Park Bandshell directed by Jaclynn Jutting on September 9th, 2018 from 6:00PM – 10:00PM with a $10 suggested donation for entry. Shakespeare’s classic comedy explores the combination of love in an enchanted, transformative production that asks: if we are in love, can we ever be in control? Jutting does a stellar job making the production more accessible to a modern day audience. Food like King of Pop’s, King Tut’s, and Moose Head Kettle Corn were all being served right outside the mini homemade Amphitheatre, others brought their own blankets and picnics with things like wine with cheese and grapes. Kids running around before the show excited to see what their parents had brought them to. The atmosphere was laid back but you could tell people were eager for the show to start. Shakespeare’s piece was originally set in Greece and having the Nashville production be performed right next to the city’s very own replica of the Parthenon is brilliant in itself. Also adding that before the play begins the sun is not quite set so you can still see the Parthenon before the play begins but once the play begins the sun has set, it’s perfect.

Kaylann Boyd on October 8th, 2018 at 11:28 am

I found this review thorough, enlightening, and rather in line with the thoughts I had myself both during and after the performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

At the beginning of the play, I did find the language hard to understand. However, I felt that after a while I was able to settle into the words and follow along with the plot of the play. I think I had anticipated having a problem with the writing, so I was not shocked when, at first, I was not always catching everything the actors were saying. Perhaps, if people were more open to the language and willing to actively engage in the performance, they would have had a more enjoyable experience. I worry that some audience members (and writers of this review) might have given up a little too early.

While I appreciate the attempt to bring the work into this time period with the costuming, I found the modern clothing to be an undersell. The clothes looked as if they could have been purchased at Walmart whereas the fairy costumes were evidently crafted with hands, hard work, and time. Though I hesitate to support the reviewers’ proposal to modernize the language as well, I agree that a greater attempt could have been made to successfully up date the interpretation.

I also thought that the on stage musicians were engaging and refreshed transitions. However, I wish the dances that went along with the music were more successfully executed with better technique and more creative choreography.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the production. I have never seen a live performance of Shakespeare, so it was exciting to spend a Monday evening in such a unique setting to appreciate art. Though it might not have been the most stellar rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I am grateful that it was shared with us.

Julia Culp on October 8th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

It’s my first time to enjoy Shakespeare’s play, surprisingly in an open park, not in a grand theatre. People of all ages and with different occupations gather and enjoy the same show. Even not the enthusiasts of art can participate for mere curiosity. I agree that it brings the audience closer to nature, and makes the arts more accessible because everyone can enjoy the play for free. However, I went to the park twice to watch it because this great show was canceled for an unexpected rainstorm on my first visit. The second experience is not enjoyable either. Annie, Tracy and I spend most of the time drying the bench. In light of this, I prefer to enjoy it in a theatre despite of the expensive ticket.

As for the show itself, the modern clothes and the dialogue are not consistent, as the group says. I didn’t get the brochure or read playwright before, so I was so confused about the plot. Since the seats in front rows are occupied by special guests, I could only sit in the very back and could hardly see actors facial expressions but their general body movements.

The play worths compliments, though, especially for lighting. When shifting scenes between storylines, different images were projected to the ceiling of the stage, such as the shadows of trees’ branches.

Yueqi Li on October 8th, 2018 at 7:13 pm

I really enjoy reading their review and I feel like there are many overlaps between their opinions and my thoughts on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Also, this review offers me some new perspectives.

Since I’d never read the play before, I searched some information about it online before watching it. However, I still found it a little bit difficult to follow and to completely understand what was going on because the story was pretty complicated and there were altogether three main lines in the play. The continuous laughter did make me even more confused, since I had no idea what they were laughing about.

Speaking of the actors, I really appreciate their passion on stage. Compared to films and TV episodes, their acting is a lot more exaggerated, and I think this is probably because of the difference between live plays and films. On the screen, the audience can notice every micro-expression of the actors so that they are able to understand and feel the actors’ emotions and thoughts; however, in live plays, due to the distance between the stage and the audience, the audience is unlikely to capture every facial expressions of the actors. Thus, the exaggerated tone and body motions really help the audience to gain a better understanding about the characters. Plus, as mentioned in the review, I was also really impressed by the diversity of the actors. Before the play began, I saw a mother helping her children wearing costumes, and they just seemed to be a normal family in the community. This provided me a sense that everyone in the community had the chance to take part in Shakespeare’s play and there was no need for them to be very professional, which I truly appreciate.

Besides, compared to the plays in the theatre, this outdoor play had lower costs. However, I feel like the producers were trying to make the stage as subtle as they can in a limited amount of money. The costumes were not fancy, but lovely. The music and the choreography also made the play more diverse and more interesting.

In general, watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Centennial Park was a brand-new experience for me and offered me some new insights about live plays. I enjoyed it a lot.

Shihe Luan on October 8th, 2018 at 10:40 pm

It is Amazing how differ people from different background and cultures came together to make this play a reality. The cast shown later in the paragraphs is very important to me because it helps me understand who the character are and maybe why they are involved with the roles that they are playing in the play. Th introductory paragraph seems to be very strong because it tells me what to expert later in the other paragraphs. for example, shakespares portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. It was also very interesting how all the group members was involved and made great and important points about the the events surrounding marriages.

Simon Ejike on October 9th, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Like Rachel Platt pointed out, without having prior knowledge of what this play is about, it is hard to lock in and fully appreciate the play. With that being said, I’m not sure if having background knowledge would have made me like the play more honestly. I love Shakespeare but this was not it. The Old English killed my interpretation. It was good to be outside and sit on the lawn of Centennial, that was cool to have the sun illuminate the Parthenon, it was a cool vibe. I doubt any other play could have had that earthy feel even if it was on Centennial. I loved the outdoor experience and atmosphere, but I just wish I could follow along with the play better. Agreeing with Foster, if there is a modern translation, I will be the first one there.

Paola Ellis on December 11th, 2018 at 6:02 pm

From reading this transcript, it seems like the intended audience of this play was the typical theater snobs haha. It is clear that the students had a hard time understanding the language and syntax of the play which takes away from it as a whole. I am glad that they were able to put that aside and shine light on the things that the production did well in spite of the fact that they did not understand most of it. I think that the setting of the play was an interesting choice, especially in the blistering heat of Nashville. Although it was hot, it seemed to foster an inclusive environment. As weird as it may seem, all spectators were sweating together which had the possibility to create some social bonding. Additionally, it seems like this group grew aesthetically as their eyes were opened to a whole new type of play.

Sydney Banks on December 12th, 2018 at 4:12 pm

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