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Performance Paper Example MSND

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 5 years, 10 months ago


Below are my three sections describing a production of Midsummer Night's Dream.  Please note that my idea is clearly stated (it's underlined so you can see it easily--you don't necessarily have to do this, but it is helpful) early in my first paragraph, my descriptions are specific, and the account of my scene connects what happens on stage to my idea.


1.  My particular production of Midsummer Night's Dream will draw a sharp contrast between the city and the wood.  By presenting an ever increasing integration of nature and natural elements into the urban court of Act V, this version will show that the world of law and authority--represented by Theseus--needs to accommodate and even defer to natural forces.  I have in mind a kind of Art Deco design, so the play will be set in the 20s or 30s.  The movement into the wood of Act II will feel like a release, with a total transformation from winter to spring, grays to greens, stasis to movement.  However, as the play darkens, the stage will begin to be crowded with vines, reducing the size of the usable stage somewhat, and brakes and undergrowth will appear, mirroring and adding to the confusion of 3.2 and 3.3.  All this nature imagery will serve as metaphor for the characters' passions; as they increase, and begin to grow in wild and unhelpful directions, so will the natural elements on stage.  When Puck appears in 3.3 to remove the spell from Lysander, he will be dressed as a gardener, and as he sings he'll do a little pruning of some of the new growth surrounding the 4 lovers.


2.  The costumes of Act 1 will be elaborate and fussy affairs.  Stiff, vaguely military garb on Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and Demetrius.  Dark, metallic flapper dresses on the young women.  The blocking (movement on stage) will be minimal, lending a sense of orderly confinement.  There will be hard, shiny surfaces everywhere, with lots of sharp angles and very abstract, highly stylized imitations of nature (think of a blocky vase sporting silver flowers with square petals--that sort of thing).  Large canvases will hang from the walls, in the vein of Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivism, Cubism and urban artists like Charles Sheeler.  This will set up a huge transformation when we move to the wood: greens and flowers everywhere, art noveau clothing, accessories, and flowing hair.  The characters will move in and out of the onstage natural elements as they speak, frequently touching and embracing one another.  The will convey an air of freedom and release, occasionally appearing startled or pleasantly bewildered by the profusion around them.  By the end of Act III, however, they will also be a little annoyed by what surrounds them, and I can imagine some of the flowing clothing getting pinned and stuck to the flora as the characters move.  When we return to Athens in Act V, it will look a little different.  There will be some natural accents--a few pot-like containers, some with stalks growing from them but no blooms; some drapery with floral motifs; the clothing a little softer, and an occasional natural element worked in.  The real transformation, however, will take place in Act V.


3.  The moment I'll describe is 5.2.  As Puck, Oberon and Titania move around offering their blessings.  The rooms will magically transform.  The art on the walls will morph from urban scenes to landscapes, or little touches like the trees on a painting of a city street will suddenly begin to bloom.  Plants will grow from geometric accent pieces on stage, turning them into flower pots.  Whites and greys will color, and the bed sheets will begin to develop floral patterns with red blooms on them (like Othello's handkerchief "spotted with strawberries").  No, I have no idea how to make this happen; I'm the director--the rest is up to the set design people.  As Puck recites his incantation at the beginning of the scene and sweeps, his broom will create a neat grass carpet where before there was tile.  And as things grow near the walls--not wildly as in the wood, but with more order and restraint--fairies upstage will bind stalks, clip blooms for vases, and keep everything tidy.  The whole thing should suggest integration: nature softening and nourishing the previously cold and resistant urban setting.  The blooms will figure fertility, and the fairies cropping and harvesting will demonstrate nature's productivity when paired with human culture.


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