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The Questors Youth Theatre
by William Shakespeare

The Questors Playhouse
February 2004

Directed by Nick Murza
Designed by Alex Marker
Lighting by Mark White
Sound by Mark Lucek
Costumes by Sarah Andrews



Eamon Ali, Jeaniq Amihyia, Maddy Browne, Zosia Carr, Anoosh Chakelian, Natasha Dowd, Joe Dowd, Theo Garman, Jessie Gutch, Joseph Hughes, Claire Hurley, Miranda Jack, Jade Kearney, Henry Lewis, Alice Marshall, Lauren Murphy, Hannah Nicholl, Kathryn Pirrie, Rhiannon Rees, Tiffany Sanders, Sophie Shawdon, Georgia Smith, Niall Tatchley, Hannah Webster, Ruth Williamson, Joe Wood.

Production Team:
Sarah Andrews, Edward Bilson, Perri Blakelock, Bernard Brady, Lynda Castle, Jessica Cave, Julia Cooke, Georgiana Creanga, Anthony Enrione, Lois Flatt, Natasha Ford, Anne Gilmour, Colin Horne, Janeth Kempston, Ian Kings, Rachel Knightley, Heidi Korb, Donatella Lazzari, Mark Lucek, Rachel Lumsden, Alex Marker, Nick Murza, Ambreen Nawaz, Lauren Nayler, Rachel Norton, Ruth Parry, Ellis Pritchard,, Julia Russell, Rikki Singh, Liz Stasi, Jenny Ward, Mark White, Tom White, Vicky Wren, Jennie Yates.

The Questors Youth Theatre
Youth Theatre productions at The Questors

Have you ever wondered where all those orphaned half pairs of socks go? The lone earring? The keys, the spectacles that you never see again? Have they just been mislaid, or is our world full of unseen hands just waiting to grasp the moment you look away?

Behind your safe ordinary world of TVs and supermarkets, cars and designer clothes, mobile phones and motorways, there's another, darker place, just out of sight, where fairies live. Not the nice Tinkerbell fairies of Arthur Rackham and Peter Pan, but hordes of shadowy, greedy scavengers ready to get their sticky fingers on your precious possessions. If you drop something, or cast it aside, they'll find a use for it. They won't float about making the night sky all sparkly, teaching kids to fly and posing for photographs: if you've got something shiny and interesting, they want it. They'll steal your handbag and nick your wallet, and they might just kick you in the shins for your trouble too.

But on Midsummer Night there is real trouble in the air. After two young men and two young women, confused in love, stumble carelessly into the fairy realm, they find themselves at the mercy of Oberon, the King of the Fairies and his anarchic henchman Puck, determined to make mischief. And when a band of rough and ready actors blunder in looking for somewhere to rehearse, they get caught up the middle of a jealous feud with the Fairy Queen, Titania, and everything is plunged into chaos.

With all this anger and love and magic flying about, will any of them get out alive? Will Bottom ever stop making an ass of himself? Will the lovers ever find their rightful partners? And will the play ever be finished?

A brief history of the Play

"To the King's Theatre, where we saw A Midsummer Night's Dream, which I
had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid
ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life. I saw, I confess, some good dancing and some handsome women, which was all my pleasure
(Samuel Pepys, Diary, Sept. 29, 1662)

Well Sam didn't like it! But then what did he know!

Since its first performance in 1595, A Midsummer Night's Dream has
delighted, amused, inspired, (and, in Samuel Pepys's case. bored) more audiences than just about any other Shakespearean play. Now it's the turn of our Youth Theatre to bring a lean and energetic twist to this tale of magic and mischief. Those of you who were lucky enough to see their double bill in the Studio last February (Ernie's Incredible lllucinations and The Chrysalids) will know with how much enthusiasm and imagination they embark on these productions. So be prepared to scoff at Sam and to be swept up in the frenetic comedy, the confusion, the jealousy and the romance.

The play has a long and fascinating history. It is thought to have received its first performance at a noble wedding, possibly that of William Stanley, Earl of Derby, to Elizabeth Vere, daughter of the Earl of Oxford. The wedding took place at Greenwich Palace in the presence of Queen Elizabeth. It is reported that children from both noble houses were recruited to play the fairies, and that Oberon's reference to the "fair vestal throned by the west", immune to Cupid's darts, was intended as a direct tribute to the Queen, as guest of honour.

A Midsummer Night's Dream disappeared from the English stage, along with everything else, when all the theatres were closed by the Puritans in 1642, surviving only as comic sketches cobbled together from the scenes with Bottom and his cronies for "underground" performances. When it reappeared after the Restoration it had been turned into an opera, The Faerie Queen, with music by
Henry Purcell. The lavish first production of Purcell's opera in 1692—complete with such scenic effects as a dance of six monkeys and "A Grand Dance of 24 Chinese"— set the pattern for the next century, when the play was mutilated, rewritten and recycled as light entertainment and with lavish spectacle obscuring whatever remained of Shakespeare's text.

But, in spite of these setbacks, the play has survived and today holds a unique place in our dramatic heritage. Its reputation enhanced by famous modern productions under Peter Brook and the Canadian director, Robert Lepage. And of course there are numerous filmed versions—the latest only a few years ago—bringing Shakespeare's most accessible play to the widest possible audience and securing it is a favourite with schools and youth theatres the world over.