Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts - Multi-functional Theatre
Dates: June 14-18, 2018
NCPA invites Chris White, the associate for the Royal Shakespeare Company, to make a Chinese version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The production was debuted in memory of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies and is a lyrical work widely performed across the world. As the world commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, NCPA pays homage to the literary giant by not only importing the Royal Shakespeare Company's trilogy Henry VI Part I and II and Henry V but also inviting Chris White, an Associate for the Royal Shakespeare Company, to direct NCPA's production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, offering a glimpse into Shakespeare’s artistic world.
This story happens between city and forest, sobriety and slumber, and reality and dream. Entering the magical forest is like stepping into a chaotic dream, mysterious, silent, and full of unpredictable elements like hidden passion and anxiety. The ancient city, on the other hand, represents social mechanism and order of social operation, capable of resolving any conflict. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare creates a ceaseless succession of chaos and changes between the solemnity of Athens and the freedom of the forest. One story happens within another, and all established relationships are broken apart. All these changes happen in the moonlit night and end at daybreak.
For its first production of Shakespeare's play, NCPA has thoroughly explored the original text of A Midsummer Night's Dream, staying true to the master’s work while keeping pace with the times. The 70 “wood sticks” on the stage symbolize the fluidity of space. When it is in the city, the arrangement of the sticks is regular and orderly, but once it is in the forest, the sticks and the crescent deck are placed in a rather spontaneous manner. When the stage is full of changes, it provides more possibilities for performance and greater space for the viewers' imagination.
In a midsummer night in Athens, Duke Theseus and his fiancee are busy preparing their wedding. In the meantime, another couple of lovers are worrying about their love. The beautiful Hermia is in love with Lysander, but her father Egeus insists that she weds Demetrius. Egeus’ demand is supported by the Duke. Should Hermia resist she would be sentenced to death or a lifetime of chastity, according to the Athenian law. To pursue their love, Hermia and Lysander flee into the forest outside Athens.
In the forest, the King of Fairies intends to make a fool of his queen. He calls upon the shrewd spirit Puck to put a drop of love-potion on the eyelids of the sleeping queen, so that she would fall in love with the first person she sees when she wakes. Somehow, Puck gives the love potion to the wrong person, messing up the love of four young people as a result. One girl, beautiful and kind, is overjoyed for the unexpected arrival of love while the other girl, as beautiful and kind, becomes very sad. Two passionate young men decide to duel for the girl they both love, causing a succession of misunderstandings and foolish scenes. At last, the King of Fairies appears and clears up the confusion, and everyone ends up with the one they love.
Presenter: NCPA Drama Ensemble
NCPA Drama Ensemble was established on July 28th, 2016 and the renowned Chinese actor PU Cunxin was invited to be the Artistic Director. After rounds of screening across the country, 22 members were selected out of a number of professional actors to become the first and the second batch of actors for the team. Having received professional trainings on lines, performance, vocal performance, and body shaping, they finally appeared on the stage of NCPA. As another resident performance troupe following the China NCPA Orchestra, the China NCPA Chorus, and the NCPA Octet, the NCPA Drama Ensemble will focus on rehearsing dramas and participating in other NCPA productions.
NCPA Drama Ensemble has taken part in several NCPA productions, including The Lei Family, Returning Home on a Snowy Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jane Eyre, Hamlet, King Lear, Merchant of Venice, Look West to Chang'an, The Birds, and the Ensemble is to present more exciting works in the future.
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