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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: May ::
Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival and *MND* Production
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 344.  Sunday, 30 May 1993.
 
From:           Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
Date:           Saturday, 29 May 1993 9:11 pm EDT
Subject:        Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival 1993
 
   The   Wisconsin  Shakespeare   Festival  will   produce  three
Shakespearean comedies this season - *A Midsummer Night's Dream*,
*All's Well That  Ends Well*, and *The  Merry Wives  of Windsor.*
Festival dates are July 12-August 14.  The WSF is located  on the
campus  of  the  University  of  Wisconsin-  Platteville  in  the
air-conditioned  Center for  the  Arts.   Platteville is  located
approx. 70 miles  SW of Madison, or  22 miles NE of  Dubuque, IA.
AWTEW is  under the direction  of Artistic Director  Tom Collins,
MWW directed  by Associate  AD Tom  Goltry, and  MND directed  by
guest  director Tom  Loughlin :-)!.   This year's  festival will
feature    a   fully-reconfigured    stage    in    the   classic
Renaissance/Elizabethan  style.  You  can  call  608-342-1298 for
ticket information.  The WSF is a professional non-Equity company
now entering its 17th season.
 
     *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
 
   So much for the publicity blurb| Since there is a thread going
relative to MDN performances,  I thought I'd try something  a bit
unusual.   As you  may have  noticed, I  am going  to direct  the
production this summer.  It's my fourth whack at the show, second
as director.  My  first attempt was  at my home  institution  - a
fairly safe rendition set in a neoclassic look circa 1804 (French
Empire style).   What I'd like  to do here  is share with  you my
"concept" (a dreaded  word) for the show  and have you all  whack
away at it to test its  merits and failings, to see if  you think
it will play and what its potential pitfalls are.  Won't  that be
fun?|
 
   First of  all, my immediate  limitation was a  cutoff  date of
1624 for this year's festival.  No play could be set  beyond that
year.  This is to more  or less keep within the Renaissance  look
of the  new stage  setting.  We've  been  doing  som modern-dress
"minimalist" productions but  they haven't been selling  well.  I
simply can't stand  setting it in "period"  - classical  Greece -
because nothing looks worse than actors running around  in kitons
reciting  WS (to  me, anyway).   Going Elizabethan,  though, just
doesn't quite  make it for  the characters either.   After toying
somewhat with high Middle Ages (strong belief in fairies  and the
like,  plus strong  authoritarian overtones),  I thought  about a
Byzantine  look, Greece  circa 1200-1400.   I thought  this might
provide a strong contrast and a completely different look  to the
other two shows, both in a generally English look.
 
   I also took a  cue from another production  of MND I saw  as a
respondent   for    ACTF.    Barbara   Blackledge    of   Indiana
University-Pennsylvania  set the  fairy  world  with a  decidedly
Indian look, taking her cue from the Titania's line "Why art thou
here, come from the farthest  steppes of India?" I intend to  use
and expand on  that look for  the fairy kingdom,  underscoring it
with sitar and tambura  music.  The whole production  should then
take on  a  more  eastern   flavor  all  the  way  around.    The
mechanicals  will retain  a Greek  craftsman feel  to them,  with
perhaps a Zorba-style  dance at the end  for the  "bergomask." It
should  give the  play  a  more exotic  feel to  average  western
viewers, and  enhance the mystery  within the  play,  something I
think is a very strong element of the play itself.
 
   Will all  this help thematically?  Who knows? Youth  rebelling
against authority is true in  all cultures, as is the pursuit  of
love and desire.  The eastern  cultures are very aware of  nature
and its forces, so  the fairy world as  a force of nature  can be
played up.   I'll take any  other constructive or  deconstructive
criticism as grist for the mill.
 
   And, of course, this is why I subscribe to SHAKSPER.   My main
use of  this list  has always  been to  pick  the  brains of  its
members to  find what little  twists and turns  I can pick  up to
further enhance my performances in or productions of Shakespeare.
It's become  an indispensible  resource to  me in  my work  as an
artist.  Thanks, Hardy||||
 
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
      Tom Loughlin                *   BITNET
      Dept. of Theatre Arts       *    loughlin@fredonia.bitnet
      SUNY College at Fredonia    *   INTERNET
      Fredonia NY 14063           *    
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      Voice: 716.673.3138         *
      Fax:   716.673.3397         *   "Hail, hail Freedonia, land of
                                  *    the brave and free."  G. Marx
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