A Midsummer Night’s Dream
the comedy by William Shakespeare
directed by Stephanie Shine
in partnership with
University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance
University of Memphis Mainstage
June 4-21, 2015
and the Margaret & Owen Tabor family
Additional funding provided by:
Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South’s professional classical theatre, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance presents a magical, family-friendly, VooDoo-inspired production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the U of M’s Mainstage from June 4-21.
The southern-infused production will feature the company’s largest cast in its seven seasons and will explore the expansiveness and technical capabilities of the U of M mainstage. The team of professional designers consists of present U of M faculty and alumni, and the cast features talented U of M actors interning alongside performers of Actors’ Equity Association assembled from around the nation.
The production’s title sponsor is FedEx, making possible Free Will Kids Night every Thursday night (up to four children 17 years and younger admitted free when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian) and the new addition this season of Family Morning Matinees for all ages every Wednesday morning at 10:30 am ($10 tickets for an abbreviated version of the show).
Additional funding is generously provided by Owen and Margaret Tabor, First Tennessee Foundation, Xfinity, and Independent Bank.
Noah Duff (Puck)
Stephanie Weeks (Titania)
Phil Darius Wallace (Oberon)
with Noah Duff and Stephanie Weeks
Directed by TSC’s Stephanie Shine (Romeo and Juliet, A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Southern Yuletide), A Midsummer Night’s Dream places Duke Theseus’ court in World War II America and the peaceful though mischievous fairie kingdom in the spanish-moss strewn bayous of turn-of-the-19th century Louisiana. Big Band, Swing, Cajun, and Creole music will be played live on stage by the hard-working, busking men of the French Quarter.
Since the 17th century, Shakespeare’s most magical comedy has been one of his most-produced on English-speaking stages. Likely written around 1595, chronologically joining the script with Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and The Merchant of Venice – A Midsummer Night’s Dream is unusual when compared to the rest of Shakespeare’s canon. It has no readily identifiable main source. Shakespeare was inspired by the writings of Plutarch, Chaucer, Ovid, as well as folklore, but his magical play of chaos is likely his very own creation. Uniquely, he orchestrates four main themes, all entirely different, without relegating any to secondary status.
Shakespeare’s symphony of a narrative telescopes in a finite period of time. He weaves together the waking and sleeping worlds; loving and violent worlds; the spirit and mortal worlds; day and night; male and female; jealousy and compassion in a musical romp that is Shakespeare’s first deep consideration of the relationship between art and humanity.
The world of the Court, where Duke Theseus has violently triumphed over and won Queen Hippolyta, begins to spin off its seasonal axis as the nighttime spirit world ruled by Oberon and Titania tilts in a petty feud. Racing into the dark woods amid these shifts are four young lovers ruled by their hearts and Bottom’s group of musical hard-working men rehearsing ambitiously their self-scribed play. Fairie Robin Goodfellow (Puck) is the link between all the worlds, wreaking havoc through magic transformation of the heart and head (that of a donkey).
Out of the discord comes concord and a seeing of the world with “parted eye.” An evening of genuine playmaking and love transforms into marriage and celebration, which begets blessings bestowed on all the worlds, all humanity, all spirituality.
"Our production explores both the collision and the communion of different groups of beings,” says director Shine, while in rehearsal at the U of M mainstage. “The worlds within the play are vastly different, and yet common ground is forged when all are found in the same mystical forest.
“Throughout literature, trials by wilderness offer the possibility to emerge a changed being; and our play radiates with the same transformation for characters escaping into the night woods to question their desires. I can think of no more mystical, magical, and mysterious place in America than the bayous of southern Louisiana with its sultry mists, gymnastic cypress trees, and prehistoric creatures. The surrounding human cultures within nearby New Orleans celebrate and retain their origins through ritual, language, custom, food, and music unique to the region. What we know of Louisiana and New Orleans lends an exotic reality to this fantastical play, letting its powers of transformation root more deeply."
It's a delicious dinner buffet with cocktails. It's a gleeful, rapid-fire-fast, live auction. It's a one-of-a-kind Broadway performance. It's an exquisite selection of delectable desserts. And it's an opportunity to support a remarkable Education Program and to share the love with tens of thousands of students.
Tennessee Shakespeare Company Announces
Open Enrollment for its Sixth Annual Shakespeare Training Camps Held at the University of Memphis in June
Dynamic Theatre Training for Youth
Memphis, TN (March 26, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South's professional, classical theatre and education organization, is offering two unique, immersive Shakespeare Training Camps to be held for the first time on the campus of the University of Memphis this June.
TSC's Shakespeare Training Camps are open to students entering Grades 6-12. The one-week camp (The Play's The Thing: June 8-12) explores Shakespeare's As You Like It and is ideal for participants with little or no theatre experience. The cost per participant of the one-week camp is $250. Lunches are available for an additional charge.
The two-week camp (Young Players Training Intensive: June 15-26) is ideal for participants with a little more theatre experience. The cost per participant of the two-week camp is $500. Lunches are available for an additional charge.
Both camps run from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday-Friday; and both camps are already one-third full. The final scene-sharings for each camp will be played on the Mainstage in the Theatre Building. Camp sessions will be held in the adjacent Communication and Fine Arts Building at the University of Memphis.
RJ Project page
Tennessee Shakespeare Company Kicks Off Fourth Year of Nationally-Recognized ROMEO AND JULIET PROJECT
- 27 Schools
- 44 Performances
- 342 Classroom Visits
- 4,360 High School Freshmen
(January 15, 2015) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company has begun its nationally-recognized, four-part performance and in-school residency The Romeo and Juliet Project in the Memphis area this week, starting with Germantown High School and all of its 530 Freshmen.
The Project, now in its fourth year, brings a cast of eight professional actor-teachers into each Language Arts classroom at a participating school. Students are guided by the actors to live the play's urgent tragedy of young love amidst rage, experiencing its relevant story while ensuring that participating Freshmen have a first exposure to Shakespeare that is active, rich, and rewarding.
As the teenagers in the play face armed violence, students discover positive actions available to them in their own lives in the face of real conflict. The Residency concludes with an intimate performance by the actor-teachers of Romeo and Juliet, which encourages student participation.
By the end of March, The Romeo and Juliet Project will have performed the play 44 times in 27 Memphis area schools, and will have taught the Residency in 342 classroom visits in 11 schools. At least 4,360 high school Freshmen will be reached and positively affected by The Romeo and Juliet Project. That figure represents 34% of all Freshmen in the Shelby County Schools system.
Student post-Project assessments have recorded a 20% increase in students' compassion as a result of their inclusion in The Romeo and Juliet Project, as well as a full letter grade increase, on average, in Language Arts classes.