Everything here is a little out of balance

Dale Neill
Dale Neill
"King Oberon and Queen Titania are having a right royal bust-up and everything's out of balance.'' That is how director Dale Neill sees his production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream which opens at the Globe Theatre next Thursday .

Having directed the well-attended Macbeth at the Globe last year, he wanted something equally accessible but more fun. A Midsummer Night's Dream is well known; there are so many ludicrous things going on.

It's error on error on error, but everyone knows it is going to end well, he says.

The play contains three interconnecting groups - the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, Puck and their host of fairies who manipulate things; the ''mechanicals'', comic tradesmen who are going to stage a play (very badly) for the wedding celebrations of Theseus and Hippolyta.

Theseus, Duke of Athens, Hippolyta and two pairs of lovers, Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demitrius form the third plot.

Hermia loves Lysander, but is loved by Demitrius, whom she hates.

However, he has her father Egeus' blessing. Helena loves but is scorned by Demitrius.

The four lovers and the mechanicals end up in the fairy-inhabited forest and are the subject of mix-ups with a magic love potion.

Both men are bewitched so they love Helena, and Oberon, with the help of Puck, has Titania fall in love with Bottom, one of the mechanicals who has been transformed with the head of an ass.

Everything's out of balance, which Neill and his team say they are trying to show with the set, the lighting and the costumes designed in Art Nouveau style by Nina Duke Howard.

''The set has straight lines, though the play takes place largely in the forest and in nature you don't get straight lines, so I'm trying to tip the balance with the set. The lighting's going to be sightly out of balance, sort of uncomfortable with a slightly weird sensation that something's not quite right. Nina's costumes are slightly out of balance. We wanted to make people looking at it slightly uncomfortable: why has the duke got one tail of his waistcoat shorter than the other?'' he said.

''When I do a play I like to permeate all angles, so if we are talking about love out of balance, let's not just talk about it, let's show it.''

The Globe is raising money for much-needed roof repairs and has almost reached $400,000 through fundraising and grants. It has only about $100,000 to raise before work can start.

See it
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, directed by Dale Neill, opens at the Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin, on July 24 and plays until August 2.

After the Sunday matinee, the audience can stay for a question-and-answer session with the cast and director.



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