11/02/2015 - 19/02/2015

Production Details


We are bringing Shakespeare to the Dragon Lawn for the first time and it’s the ideal location for this play about the combination of the human world and the fantasy one inhabited by fairies and imps. The mixture of trees, lawn, stone building, flowers and of course the concrete dragon, will be transformed into the mystical realm of Oberon and Titania. 

This is an exciting first for both Te Puna Quarry and for Summer Shakespeare in the Bay and we are excited to bring this team of talented theatricals to what promises to be an experience not to be missed. 

Under the experienced director and actress, Suzy Sampson, this show will delight both young and old. Suzy is an accomplished director and actress having worked all around the world, in London, Australia, Singapore, Prague, Hong Kong and here in her home country. She is the founder of Twice as Good Productions and artistic director for TaG Drama Workshops for Kids. (www.twiceasgoodproductions.com) Having recently moved back to the Bay, she visited Te Puna Quarry and fell in love with the setting of the Dragon Lawn. 

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of his most performed plays and this is down to the appeal it has to audiences. It’s a tale of love, magic, trickery and an ass’s head! The young lovers’ path to happiness is challenged by the mischief of Puck who plays tricks on them, Oberon puts magic on his queen, Titania and she falls for an actor who has also been the victim of Puck’s magic and now has an ass’s head. The story is enriched by the comical inclusion of “The Mechanicals”, who are a band of actors, largely with ego’s outshining their talents, are asked to present a play to Theseus. With various twists along the way the story ends up at the feast of the Duke with much merriment and even some dancing. 

The local actors have all come together with varying degrees of experience and ages, to make what is now known as the “Dream Team”. From the outset they have applied themselves to not only learning their parts but also the challenges that come from performing outside without the usual comforts of a more traditional theatre environment. The art of acting outside, is very different to that of normal productions, you can’t just move a tree to accommodate actions or have extended rehearsals in areas that are open to the public. Adapting to this has proved a technical challenge but one which everyone has played their part. Trying to overcome the issue of bringing power to the technical equipment to judging the entrances and exits.  

This show will entice, enthral and excite the audiences and we hope that this is just the start of bringing Shakespeare to outdoors and to the Bay.  

11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 18th-19th February 2015
Tickets available on www.premier.ticketek.co.nz  
priced $24-$29. 

Titania:  Suzy Sampson
Oberon:  Pascal Tibbits
Lysander:  David Holt
Demetius:  Jass Chahal
Hermia:  Katy Lietze
Helena:  Gin Mabey
Puck:  Tyler Clarke
Bottom:  Dylan Frewin
Quince:  Sarah Das
Flute:  Benny Ron
Snout:  Nadine Tibbits
Snug:  Lilly O'Donnell
Starveling:  Abigail Donoghue
Theseus:  Brian Mackenzie
Egeus:  Bob Sampson
Hippolyta:  Katherine Knight
Fairy 1:  Shirin White
Fairy 2:  Tammana Khurana
Fairies:  Phoebe Watson, Amalie Watson
Henchmen:  Elijah Tibbits

Director and Producer:  Suzy Sampson
Production and Stage Manager:  Jez Jones
Assistant Director:  Nadine Tibbits
Assistant Stage Manager/Rehearsal:  Prompt Linda Lawson
Set Design and Construction:  Pascal Tibbits
Costume Design:  Suzy Sampson
Make-up:  Rhiannon Woest
Back stage:  Crew Geraldine Broderick, Olivia Bougen, Diana Corrigan, Amy Lawson
Lighting and Sound:  Jez Jones
Front of House Members of Te Puna Quarry Summer Trust

Many good reasons to go

Review by Vivienne Quinn 12th Feb 2015

Finally – a Summer Shakespeare in the Bay of Plenty! I have been waiting for this for the ten years I have lived here. It has taken the return to the Bay of RADA-trained thespian, Suzy Sampson, to bring outdoor Shakespeare to life. And what better choice than the most beloved of Shakespeare’s comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the surrounds of the Te Puna Quarry park, by the very apt Dragon sculpture. A great location for a night time open event like this; encircled by trees, the spot could not be more perfect.

A pity the audience is so small for an opening night. Though the audience area isn’t huge, they could have easily accommodated more. However the audience that is in attendance quickly learns to appreciate the interweaving stories of lovers at odds with each other, as indeed “the course of true love never did run smooth”.

There are many highlights in this production, with some clever casting and quality acting, though not all actors were equal in the ability to be audible in open air theatre. There are a few clunky moments, including the addition of a song and a dance by the gathering of faeries, both of which are awkward and lack-lustre. The inclusion of a modern piece of music is out of place with the rest of the music which is themed strongly in the 1920s, as with the beautiful costumes.

I am puzzled also that the Director has chosen not to edit some of the dialogue, as less experienced actors stumble over lines and this causes a sag in the energy of some scenes. The more experienced actors are given the freedom to add lines here and there, to great success, so the lack of editing doesn’t seem to be the result of a desire to stay true to the script in its entirety. 

Over all, however, this production is a winner. 

Wonderfully cast are the four Lovers – Katy Leitze (Hermia), Gin Mabey (Helena), Jass Chahal (Demetrius) and David Holt (Lysander) – who all share an energetic and charismatic presence, which makes the relationships between the four of them all more believable. Mabey as the petulant Helena is particularly spot on.

Suzy Sampson brings a sensuality and fine gracefulness to Titania and is supported well by Shirin White as Peaseblossom. Sixteen year-old Tyler Clarke shows great promise as Puck, though she may need to work on her intermittent giggling which, while in character, slows down the dialogue.

All the ‘Rude Mechanicals’ are a delight, with Benny Ron’s Flute relishing his role as Thisbe.

I am leaving the mention of Bottom, played by Dylan Frewin, to the last. This is because his Bottom – like the unexpected and very enjoyable singing finale – is the ultimate highlight of this show. Frewin is absolutely perfect in the role, faultlessly inhabiting the best comedic character in Shakespeare (in my opinion) and if you go to see this production for no other reason, then let it be to see him play Bottom as it is meant to be played.

Luckily though, there are plenty of other good reasons to go see this play – so pack a blanky, a pillow and picnic, and head on over to Te Puna Quarry, on until 19th February, bookings at Ticketek.


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