The third installment in the hugely successful Bard in the Quad summer program at Oregon State University is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.
Adapted and directed by Scott Palmer, whose “Romeo and Juliet” in 2006 and “Much Ado About Nothing” in 2007 broke all OSU Theatre box office records, the 2008 production includes a three-week performance schedule of 15 shows over three weekends.
Palmer’s adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed in the style of the great silent films of the 1910s and 1920s, with costumes reminiscent of the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent film comics. As in the past, the Bard in the Quad production will take place in the large grassy outdoor quad of the Memorial Union on the OSU campus.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed Wednesdays through Sundays, July 16 through Aug. 3. Tickets are $14 for general admission, $10 for seniors and students and $7 for OSU students. Tickets can be purchased online at: www.bardinthequad.org, by phone at 541-737-2784 or in person at the Memorial Union box office at the OSU campus during normal business hours.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” features a cast of more than 18 actors, including the return of visiting artist Maggie Chapin as Bottom and new visiting artist Johanne Scoular as Helena. All of the actors will be playing recognizable icons of Hollywood’s silent film era, such as Rudolph Valentino, Theda Bara, Charlie Chaplin, Fanny Brice and Harold Lloyd.
“This is probably the most challenging outdoor show I’ve ever directed,” Palmer said. “The script is complex, and includes a lot of new materials, including original source material Shakespeare used when he created the story for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’”
Visiting artist Chapin is helping to coach the actors from the community and OSU in the production on the appropriate style of performance from the 1920s.
“There are so many things for the actors to learn and remember – how to act in the style of 1920s silent films, how to move and react like the great silent comics and how to tell the story and project your voice for an outdoor audience,” she said. “Not to mention how to drive a Model T car and how to line-kick like Ziegfeld Follies’ dancers.”
The cast meets every evening for a one-hour voice and body training session, followed by two to three additional acting coaching sessions with the visiting artists each week. The result, said Palmer, is “a very complicated, extremely funny, and completely unique version of ‘Dream.’”
More details on the production, including information about a pre-show lecture series, will be announced at a later date.