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A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Philippa Booth
Carl Whiteside

Performed at Wimbledon Studio Theatre, October, 1999

The front page of the programme
Page 2 of the programme
The cast list
The crew list
The directors' comments
Advert for Quince's Players
Adverts for the mechanicals
Photographs from the production
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By Nigel Dumpster
Duke of Athens to wed on MidSummer's Night.

It's the surprise marriage of the year as veteran war hero, Theseus Alexander Stavros, Duke of Athens, has announced his intention to marry the Queen of the people he has just finished subduing.
Queen Hippolyta arrived in the city earlier this year and ever since, rumours have been rife among the servants at the palace about the relationship. It seems that although the Queen has little choice but to consent to the marriage, she has shown little enthusiasm for the match.

Sharp Athenian Law Challenged by Left Wing Feminist Lobby.

THE LAW OF Athens was challenged yesterday when a young woman defied her father's right to arrange an unwanted marriage to a nobleman of the city.
 She has been told that she must submit to her father's will or, either suffer death, or forever abjure from the society of men.
 The Duke himself delivered the damning ultimatum after the father who is said to be a friend of the Duke came to the palace, full of vexation with his daughter.

Royal command performance

In celebration of the Duke's wedding, suggestions are being tendered to provide the entertainments for this momentous occasion. The preferred group will get to perform before the royals after the feast.

Tel: 0230 579 864 for details and an entry form.
No timewasters please

New cartoon series starts today in The Apollo Philostrate is always getting into trouble with the Duke, with hilarious consequences! The fun starts (and finishes) on the back page.

Fairies; do they really exist?
by A. Conan Doyle

Mr Conan Doyle has taken a break from his en-thralling detective serial Sherlock Holmes and the Fairies to ask this pertinent question. As the evidence of eye witness reports mounts up, and concerns grow for public safety, this exceptional investigative journalist answers those questions we'd all like to ask;
  • Are Fairies a race from outer space, visiting our planet, in preparation for a massive military strike, intended to wipe out all existing life on Earth?
  • Do all fairies have wings, and if so can they be used for flight, or are they just ornamental decoration for use in mating rituals?
  • Can fairies only be seen by young children and those under the influence of drugs, or in the light of recent sightings, are they selecting certain humans to act as 'channels' in an attempt to communicate?
Don't miss this sensationalist exclusive! on page 5

Actors with tall TAILS
SOME OF THE CITY's actors are obviously a few cans short of a six-pack, after the stories they've reported to the Daily Apollo
  Yesterday the Apollo's offices were invaded by a group of incoherent thespians claiming their fellow actor had been transformed into a donkey whilst rehearsing. I resisted the temptation to label them lunatic freaks and calmly started to type up their story on my magic typewriter
  It would appear that none of them have seen Nick Bottom, Weaver (31) since the incident. Although police are making enquiries, this reporter thinks they would do better to put them all in a cell and wait for the effects to wear off. For it seems quite obvious that this bunch of amateurs have gone into the forest with the sole intention of getting ridiculously drunk.


Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons Ruth Brooks
Her attendants Claire Marseille
Fran Allen
Georgina Gorham
Theseus, Duke of Athens James Derbyshire
His attendants Mark Graham
Mark McCaffrey
Philostrate Michel De Dadelsen
Egeus, Father of Hermia James Grayston
Hermia, Daughter of Egeus Ruth Bray
Demetrius, Rich bloke in love with Hermia Rory Mernagh
Lysander, Richer bloke in love with Hermia Adam Cain
Helena, a Blokess in love with Demetrius Kristen Bowditch
Quince, a carpenter Charles Bertram
Starveling, a tailor Val Foskett
Snug, A joiner Andrew Smith
Snout, a tinker Kate Mitchell
Flute, a bellows mender Michael Ahmad
Bottom, a weaver John Gargrave
Puck, alias Robin Goodfellow, a fairy Mark Graham
Moth, a fairy Claire Marseille
Cobweb, a fairy Georgina Bowditch
Peaseblossom, a fairy Fran Allen
Mustardseen, a fairy Richard Broughton
Titania, Queen of the fairies Ruth Brooks
A Changeling child Christopher Moss
Oberon, King of the fairies James Derbyshire
Wasp, a fairy Mark McCaffrey
Peapod, a fairy Michel De Dadelsen
Elvish Parsley, an elf Charles Bertram
Bud, a fairy Jeff Graves
Holly, a fairy Cindy Graves

Directed by Philippa Booth and Carl Whiteside
Musical Director and Composer Praveen Manghani
Stage Manager Jeff Graves
Assistant Stage Manager Cindy Graves
Lighting Carl Whiteside
Sound Simon Harris
Other Musician Edward Bryce
Set Design Philippa Booth
Costume Design Philippa Booth
Wing Makers Philippa Booth
Adam Cain
Kate Mitchell
Producer Jo Crabtree
Photography Kristen Bowditch
Programme Michael Ahmad
Philippa Booth
Kristen Bowditch
Programme web-page rendering Simon Harris

Special thanks to:
Wimbledon Library for the loan of the tree and the Duke's thrones,
Silkance Fabrics, Tooting High Street, for the backcloth material,
The Carlton Crusaders football team for loan of their shirts,
Lizzie Moss for the loan of the moon's bush

Penny Stone and friends for front of house
Centre Court Shopping Centre for letting us do publicity there.

It is a farce. That's all you need to say really but then my whole column would be blank. I know there's a general feeling that plays called "comedies" at that time were anything with a happy ending, but I believe that the previous Elizabethans expected just as much of a laugh from their plays as the current Elizabethans. The whole situation is most farcically ridiculous and can only be laughed at surely? Then when you examine some of the lines you cannot avoid the vague possibility of them being funny. There is quite a bit of obvious stuff. Some other stuff may not look funny at first glance, but if it is said with a slight difference in inflection or with a particular action, it suddenly becomes obvious that that might be what the author meant. This is where it has been most useful to have an enthusiastic cast with plenty of contributory ideas. Someone will come up with some new slant and everyone else will go "but of course, that's obvious." My main aim is that the actors should enjoy themselves both rehearsing and performing and that the audience should enjoy the performance. We can only guess at what Shakespeare intended his actors to make of this play but I do not put on Shakespeare in a effort to be "authentic" to his intentions, surely one is trying to please the audience? A laugh is always worthwhile AND a lot more fun than some over-earnest attempt at pseudo-authenticity. Shakespeare would I think approve of putting on a play to please your current audience. That is after all what he was trying to do.
  And it is in Elizabethan dress. Think about it. Anyway, Shakespeare's lot always did modern dress productions.
With special responsibility for the "Play within the play" I concentrated on the tragic elements of the well known legend of Pyramus and Thisbe. I feel that here the bard surpasses his efforts at romantic tragedy portrayed in Romeo and Juliet and reaches the pinnacle of tragic drama. Many a time I have seen productions of this play where the "rude mechanicals" have played their parts for laughs. I have relished the opportunity to set the record straight and after strenuous academic research feel I have been able to approach what Shakespeare surely intended the play within the play to be. The final sharp illumination that clarifies the true meaning of the masterpiece of subtle tragedy that is a Midsummer night's dream, shrouded as it is by a veil of humour. In my earnest intention for authenticity, as preparation, my actors were subjected to the rigours of the Stanislavski method and taken to Wimbledon Common to rehearse by night in the wood as the original rude mechanicals would have done. They seemed to react well (especially when attacked by a particularly vicious squirrel) and the experience certainly authenticated their performance. The dying scene was a particular challenge as none of the actors had previously died. As I could not persuade them to stab themselves for authenticity, the next best thing was to put them in a situation where they felt suicidal. The tortures I have put them through enabled them to portray the true tragedy of the piece. It just remains for me to wish you the real enjoyment that can only come from seeing authentic Shakespeare as he truly intended it.

Athen's foremost amateur theatrical group
The Quince Players

Fresh from their resounding success at the Duke's Court

"notably discharged"

(Duke Theseus)

"more merry tears...I never shed"

(Philostrate, the Duke's master of revels)

"The dog will go far, a performance of deep sensitivity"

(K. Bowditch, The Apollo)


(R. Goodfellow, The Pan)


What do you need?
Anythink you wants i can get it fer you

Bottom the weaver
you ain't seen me, right

An unhappy bull
Has your bull lost his bellow?
Are your cows not responding?
Come to Flute, the bellows mender
I can fix his moo for you

A Midsummer Night's Dream - the picture book

You can click on the small pictures for larger versions

In the world of the mortals, things aren't going to plan...

Helena (Kristen Bowditch) is in love with...

Demetrius (Rory Mernaugh). Demetrius on the other hand can't stand Helena!

Hermia's father Egeus (James Grayston) wants

Hermia (Ruth Bray), his daughter to marry Demetrius. But Hermia and Lysander are in love. Disobeying Egeus means death for Hermia, or forever adjuring the company of men, so the loving couple decide to run away, naturally, of course through the forest inhabited by the fairies

Meanwhile, deep in fairyland the fairies are feuding ...

Oberon (James Derbyshire) with chief hench-fairy Puck (Mark Graham)

and Titania, queen of the fairies (Ruth Brooks)

are fighting over the custody of a little changeling boy (Christopher Moss).

To cheer herself up, Titania has renowned crooner Elvish Parsley (Charles Bertram) to sing her to sleep.
"If music be the food of love..." (err - wrong play - Ed)

Meanwhile, Hermia and Lysander (Adam Cain) find themselves in the forest and fall asleep. Helena follows them, waking Lysander. As a result of Oberon's michievousness and Puck's blunders with the magic potion Lysander now hates Hermia and instantly falls in love with Helena. Confused? You will be!

All this excitement is too much for Titania, Puck and Cobweb (Georgina Gorham) seen here taking a break from the play.

Back in the forest, a group of local labourers are rehearsing a play for the wedding feast of Hippolyta and Theseus. Here are Starveling (Val Foskett) and Snout (Kate Mitchell), getting annoyed with Bottom for changing their characters.

However, Bottom (John Gargrave) gets his comeuppance as another of Puck's pranks turns him into an ass.

Bottom stops for adjustments to his - erm- bottom!

In his battle with Titania, Oberon puts a spell on her, making her fall in love with the first foul thing she sees - naturally this is Bottom! He we see the now loving couple together surrounded by fairies.

The fairies, rather noisily, with cheerleaders, sing the couple to sleep!

After which the fairies take a few minutes rest in the dressing room (left to right, Cobweb - Georgina Gorham, Mustardseed - Richard Broughton, Titania - Ruth Brooks, Moth - Claire Marseille)

All turns out well in the end, Bottom gets his proper head back, and takes the part of Pyramus in the play

Flute (Michael Ahmad) gets the part of Thisbe

Snout gets the part of Wall

Starveling gets the part of Moonshine

and Snug (Andrew Smith) gets to play the lion's part.

Pyramus and Thisbe converse through Wall's hole

While the fairies take another break - Peasblossom (Fran Allen) is on the right - (err - that's enough resting fairies - Ed).

The cast take a bow..

or two

The director - Philippa Booth

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