Hockaday Performs “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

FAIRY LAND Senior Chelsea and junior Reagan practice their scenes for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”


Senior Samantha is looking forward to performing Shakespeare’s classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at Hockaday this coming spring. Though Samantha is cast as the fairy queen, Titania, there is something different about this show. Instead of being set in a forest outside of Athens, like the original production, Hockaday’s interpretation will be set in the time period of the 1960s. And Titania is a hippie.

Rod Blaydes, director of the play, is responsible for this interpretation. The play will run the full script, which has not always happened with Shakespeare plays at Hockaday in the past. Because of time limits, Blaydes has cut other Shakespeare productions short. For example, several scenes were eliminated from Romeo and Juliet when it was performed two years ago.

The most noticeable part of this adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is that all of the characters have been changed to embody different aspects of the ‘60s.

“In terms of interpreting the characters,” Samantha says, ”the play does not change that much.”

One of the lovers, Lysander, is a romantic, and is depicted as a free spirit in Hockaday’s production. On the other hand, Demetrius’ more straitlaced characteristics cause him to be the character that, as Samantha says, “Is a more Lark-in-Hairspray kind of ‘60s.” One character even evokes Jackie-O.

The many phases of the ‘60s, such as the mod period and the hippie period, allow room for a lot of interpretation and variety onstage.

“Visually, it’s a really fun period to look at,” Pillsbury says.

The set crew has had a lot of possibilities, like “doing something that kind of looks like a mystery-machine-van- thing as a set piece,” Samantha adds.

In addition, the production will be performed in the garden, which contributes to the natural elements of the fairies and the woods found in the play.

Senior Meredith Menache is working on the production’s music, which will help emphasize the ‘60s theme. Between each act, music will be played, and different songs from the this period will replace some of the songs written into the play.

The Hockaday ‘60s adaption of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not the only version performed in Dallas recently. The play has been adapted repeatedly to various time periods. Just last year, a modern version was performed at the Wyly Theater in downtown Dallas, and this year, another modern version was performed at the Episcopal School of Dallas.

Senior Laura Bass saw both plays, and says, “Both productions used modern clothing for their costume wardrobes and added popular songs to the play to engage the youthful audience.”

Of the Wyly show, Laura says, “Not only did they bring it into present day, but they were really creative with the world of the fairies and moving around the entire theater to ‘break the fourth wall’ of the stage.”

Throughout the show, the actors interacted with the audience by bringing various members on stage to dance or draw on the set with chalk. At the end of the show, the entire audience joined the cast onstage to dance along to popular music and drink Ginger Ale.

“The Wylie’s performance made me want to come back for another dance party,” says senior Kathryn Shinn.

Freshman Augusta Aston also saw the Wyly production. “Adding a modern twist also shaped the characters into people who became so real that you could almost imagine the plot to exist,” she says.

Samantha agrees. “With the new costumes and by putting in our music, they made everybody really enjoy Shakespeare, which I think is great because if people enjoy the easier Shakespeare, then they really start to appreciate the more complex.”

Of ESD’s production, Laura says, “I would have liked to see it more as a play but they had great vocal talents.” She says that it was not clear to the audience as to which decade it was set in, but it was very modern, which was clear through the music and costume choice.

Shinn says she enjoyed the ESD production especially because of the performance of senior Ellie Skochdopole, who played Helena.

“I laughed whenever she did something,” she says.

The various interpretations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are all rooted in Shakespeare’s original themes of love and play.

“The fact that the characters escape to this other world leaves so much room for interpretation to what the other world is,” says Pillsbury.

This allows directors to place the other world in any time period and location very easily. In addition, Samantha believes that “People enjoy watching people play,” which happens a lot in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, especially with the many pranks played on the lovers by the character Puck, played by senior Max Genecov in the Hockaday production.

“I love that producers and directors are modernizing Shakespeare to capture a younger audience,” Laura says. The various adaptations of Shakespeare’s famous works truly reemphasize the themes within them and cause them to be relatable to any audience.

Hockaday’s production will be performed on April 29, 30 and May 1.