Thursday, July 16, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of Shakespeare's best and most loved comedies, performed in a wood, with a huge old tree forming part of the set, on a sunlit summer's evening with dappled sunshine casting a warm glow over the audience. Lovely.

Well, we had most of this for Theatre of the Dales's production of it tonight - - except for the sunshine. Firstly we had drizzle. Then we had that fine rain that goes right through you. The leaves of the massive tree protected us from most of this, right until the moment when the rain changed into that utterly vile wet stuff that hurls itself out of the sky in bucketloads.

It requires a mental adjustment, and then you're okay. Well, sort of. You go from "oh, a bit of drizzle, good job I brought my mac and the tree's keeping most of it off me" to "Actually, the person next to me has an umbrella and that's collecting the rain and tipping it down my neck. That's really rather annoying" to "Okay, I don't care any more, I'm going to get soaked to the skin and that's why I wore these old jeans, and it's not cold, and I'll have a hot bath when I get home."

The actors, clad in Sixties dress, all white tights and miniskirts (that was the girls, by the way), ignored the rain completely and just got on with the play, extremely well. Three of the actors were from the agency that I work for: Will Tristram as Bottom, Helen Kennedy as Helena and David Robertson, the company's founder and director, as Peter Quince. And they were excellent. (Yes, I know, I would say that, wouldn't I - - - but they were).

Will was a younger Bottom than usual and was very funny, and his youth made perfect sense of the fact that he's been cast as the lover Pyramus in the workmen's play. Helen, who's a stunning-looking actress, was a convincingly gawky Helena, also very funny. And David - - well, I first saw David play Peter Quince for Wales Actors Company, in the early Nineties, in a beautiful part of Pembrokeshire, on a sunny summer's evening just like tonight wasn't. And he was excellent then, and was again tonight.

It was a strong cast altogether and a tremendously entertaining production, interspersed with Shakespeare's words set to Sixties songs, which I greatly enjoyed. The final song was set to Daydream Believer, one of my very favourites, and it was great to see them singing it with such gusto in the rain. The huge round of applause from the dripping audience was very well-deserved.

You can see it in Dagmar Wood, Headingley, Leeds tomorrow night at 7pm and then on Saturday at 3pm and 7pm - then it goes on tour and leave me a comment if you'd like to know where!

Other news: My son-in-law Gareth has been job-hunting as his current company has had to cut down his working hours because of the recession. Today got a job that he really wanted, with a large rise in pay too. He's had such a tough time this Spring with a really slow recovery from a somewhat botched appendix operation.

Congratulations to him. Here comes the sun, at long last.


Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

This is a lovely, well-written post. Best wishes to the actors as the performances continue, and to Gareth in his new job.

Here comes the sun, indeed.

1:58 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Thank you, Bob - much appreciated.

12:57 am  

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