NEW PALTZ -- The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz will conclude its 2004-2005 season with A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Kurt Daw, Dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts. Opening April 28 and continuing through May 8, William Shakespeare's most popular comedy explores the dualism of love in all of its physical and emotional manifestations.
What begins as a conventional storyline involving a young woman whose intractable father prevents her from marrying the boy she loves, evolves into four separate love stories that reflect the complicated and unpredictable nature of love and desire. The action occurs on a starry night deep in the woods - a useful theatrical metaphor where reason and reality cannot intrude. The couples become the unwitting victims of mischief wrought by the fairies and sprites of the forest whose magical spells turn feelings and emotions more quickly than teenage infatuation.
"Shakespeare shows us at least four love stories playing out in complex variations," says director Kurt Daw. "Finding a way through this thicket of choices, while torn left and right by inexplicable desires, is the subject of the play. ...Our production takes this duality seriously, from Michael Heil's brilliant mirrored set floor to the double casting of Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania. ?Love and desire are tricky problems in Shakespeare's time, and in ours. 'Reason and love keep little company now-a-days,' says Bottom to the inexplicably enamored fairy queen. We laugh because, though his now-a-days and our are separated by some 410 years, the truth of the observation seems undiminished."
The comprehensive production program includes five essays by noted Shakespeare scholars that address the major themes in the play.
The Theatrical Conditions of Shakespeare's Theatre, Kurt Daw, Director An excerpt from his book Acting Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (Heinemann Press, 1998).
Of Fairies and Mortals, Patricia Rock, New York University
Notes on the Plot, Thomas G. Olsen, SUNY New Paltz
Other Productions of Midsummer, Lois Potter, Ned B. Allen Professor of English at University of Delaware
Dream On, Julia Matthews, Albright College
A Midsummer Night's Dream is presented April 28, 29, 30 and May 5, 6, 7 at 8pm. Two Sunday matinees are planned for May 1 and 8 at 2pm. Tickets are $16 general reserved seating, and $14 seniors and students reserved seating. They are available by calling the Parker Box Office, 845-257-3880 or ordering online at www.newpaltz.edu/theatre.
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