Note from the Director
The course of true love never did run smooth
—Lysander I. 136
A Midsummer Nights Dream is an intoxicating party of a play, probably written as a bridal masque. In this light, the illicit adventures of lovers in the woods can be read as a final rebellion before commitment. I was interested in focusing on how our lovelorn characters have important lessons to learn. In order to enjoy love, they must not only overcome external obstacles, but they must also confront their internal fears. And it’s never easy to face our flaws! Helena’s love seems to lead directly to a loss of self-respect, we recognize it, laugh at it, and love her for it.
Love lookes not with the eyes, but with the minde,
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blinde.
—Helena I. 238,239.
The play features numerous references to the way we ‘see’. We view our beloved as an example of godlike perfection. Puck fetches a flower that can emulate this effect, creating Titania’s passionate love for Bottom – despite the fact that he truly is, an ass. Bryony J Thompson and I plan to work these motifs into our production through her costume designs, through an explosion of colour as we enter the woods. When we love, we see the world in vibrant technicolour. But love can also colour our interpretation of events so that we see insult where there is none, viewing the world through a distorted and corrupting lens. Oberon’s jealousy and subsequent row with Titania is so vicious that it unbalances the natural world.
Therefore the Moone (the governesse of floods)
Pale in her anger, washes all the aire;
That Rheumaticke diseases doe abound.
And through this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter;
—Titania II. 102-106
Shakespeare continually references the moon in this play. Reminding us that the action takes place undercover of night and the romantic light of the moon. The moonlit, fairy world is joyfully free of the restrictive morality of Athens. Here, all our lusts, grief’s and selfish passions are indulged. Perhaps the fairies are simply the repressed side of the human characters? The humans returning to Athens, and marriage, are clearly happier and more settled for letting their fairy side out to play.
The final words of the evening go to Puck. Puck, I interpret as the random factor, the unknowable and uncontrollable sneaking into the human world just to meddle. And after all, without a little mischievous magic, could love flourish?
Lord, what fooles these mortals be!
—Puck III. 315
About "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
20th June – 4th July 2018 at 9:30 pm
(every night except 26th June)
Fort Lovrjenac, Dubrovnik
Shakespeare’s magical comedy of mistaken, confused and enchanted identities comes back to Dubrovnik where it shall be performed at Fort Lovrjenac, the most famous open air venue in this part of Europe.
The brand new production specially designed for Midsummer Scene Festival dives into the world of Faery where the stark world of Athenian court dissolves into a mad lovers’ chase.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a classic Shakespearean comedy focusing on themes of love, passion, magic, mistaken identity and even theatre itself. It is one of the most widely performed plays from the Bard’s back catalogue.
Taking the 1930s as its starting point, this production will also feature Bollywood-style choreography.
The British cast, directed by Helen Tennison, is supported by an international creative team.
House of Marin Držić and Midsummer Scene Festival present the scenes from Uncle Maroye by Marin Držić
Translated and directed by Filip Krenus
Music selected by Philip Parr
Music performed by Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra String Quartet (Đana Kahriman and Iva Vukić – violins, Šimun Končić – viola and Mihaela Čuljak – cello), with Andrea Marić, soprano
James Burton (Uncle Maroye)
Ben Cutler (Tripcheta and Scoffer Feast)
Susan Hingley (Petruniella)
Filip Krenus (Prologue and Ugo the German)
Paul Sockett (Bokchilo)
- H. Purcell: I Attempt from Love’s Sickness to Fly (from The Indian Queen)
- G. B. Pergolesi: Se tu m’ami
- G. B. Pergolesi: Stizzoso, mio stizzoso
- H. Purcell: When I have Often Heard Young Maids Complaining (from The Fairy Queen)
- H. Purcell: Chaconne (from The Fairy Queen)
- H. Purcell: Abdelazer Suite
Uncle Maroye is the most famous comedy by the greatest Croatian Renaissance playwright Marin Držić. First performed in 1551, it remained unpublished until the 19th century only to be ressurected in 1938 at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Even though Držić’s works rank among the best of European Renaissance theatre, this pinnacle of 16th century comedy – unmached in any other Slavic literature – remained largely unknown in English language.
Two Bards is the third collaboration of House of Marin Držić and Midsummer Scene Festival in awaking this sleeping beauty of a play and bringing it to English audiences. House of Marin Držić comissioned the first complete English translation of the play to mark 450th anniversary of Držić’s death in 2017. The main challenge in translating this play – and indeed of any other translation – was to make it truly live in English language. I gave the charaters and places English names and steeped the idiom and wordplay of Marin Držić into English trying not to betray the uniqueness of the original text. In order to make this irreverent, wildly playful comedy live in another language, I had to be irreverent in translating it.
Dubrovnik boasts a great theatre tradition and this entire city serves as a living backdrop every summer. The pairing of House on Marin Držić and Midsummer Scene draws on that remarkable past. As the only English theatre festival in this part of Europe, Midsummer Scene opens up Dubrovnik to the English audiences, and, together with the House of Marin Držić, we also aim to bring our playwright to England.
Our Midsummer Scene Festival ensemble, fresh from performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Fort Lovrjenac, presents a selection of scenes from Uncle Maroye to give you a joyful taste of how this play sounds in English and Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra String Quartet with soprano Andrea Marić will add to it with music by Henry Purcell and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.
We are linking our Croatian Bard, whose work is yet to be discovered in English, with his English counterpart, whose works translate so seamlessly onto the ancient stony open air venues of Dubrovnik. Držić’s mishievous prose sparkles in the perfect setting of Shakespeare’s sonnets.