Midsummer at the Museum

Auckland Museum, Auckland

11/01/2010 - 28/01/2010

Production Details

An adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this performance will captivate and delight children and adults.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is amongst William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. Set in a garden wonderland of magical fairies, the tale has captivated audiences for generations. Now Auckland Museum has adapted the play into a 45-minute performance that will delight children and families.

Dates: Every day except Sundays, 11-28 January 2010
Times: 11.30am & 1.30pm (45 minute duration)
Venue: Auditorium
Prices: $10 per child/adult, $6 Members.
Suitable for 5-12 year olds  

Book online at aucklandmuseum.com or phone (09) 306 7048 (booking fee applies).

Titania, Helena and Hermia – Stephanie Lee
Puck – Michael Downey
Demetrius, Lysander and Oberon – Jonathan Hair

Designer: Gemma Angus
Production Crew: Gemma Angus and Anders Faltsie-Jensen

45 mins

A little gem for enquiring minds

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 16th Jan 2010

On a warm sunny Auckland day, 6-year-old Ella & I journey deep into the 200-seat theatre in the Museum’s atrium to see The Rebel Alliance’s Midsummer at the Museum, a 35-minute perky adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy of star-crossed lovers, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Writers Kirsten McFarlane, Gemma Angus and Anders Faltsie- Jensen dissect and re-work Shakespeare’s text and replace most of it with contemporary dialogue, while still retaining a few of the Bard’s most well-known phrases. The result is a digestible, light interactive short play for kids, which seemed to resonate best with kids 5 and over in our small but appreciative family audience of 60.

This is a very no frills production, with director Anders Faltsie-Jensen putting the full onus on the tiny cast of 3 to engage & capture the audience’s imagination.

Stephanie Lee (Titania, Helena and Hermia); Michael Downey (Puck) & Jonathan Hair (Demetrius, Lysander and Oberon); uniformly rise to the challenge with accessible well-pitched performances.

Designer Gemma Angus uses static slides of appropriate sunsets, moonscapes and forest landscape to adequately represent locations for love antics. A traditional pair of Greek columns covered in fake ivy provide an interesting contrast to the quirky use of a white-board covered in mug-shots of the key characters, which Faltsie-Jensen uses to full comic effect, as Puck wheels it on between succinct scenes to keep the young audience up to speed with twists and turns.

But it is the cameo appearance of a huge, most awesome Dinosaur, complete with blinking eyes and one very fine tail, which eclipses everything and everyone on stage, as it ambles into Titania’s path and becomes the object of her altered affection.

Sadly the writers completely over look the ‘play within the play’ [i.e. “This story hath no Bottom” – ed]. In fact Midsummer at the Museum seems to rush towards its end with a sort of tidy, yet hurried inevitability.

That aside, this little gem is an original holiday outing for families with young kids of inquiring minds. And of course, the Auckland Museum houses so many fabulous treats for the whole family, what better way to spend a day.
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