‘Magic is in the air’ — play director

Shakespearean spirit . . . The cast of Aidan Theatre’s Dream are preparing to bring the play to Timaru audiences next week. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY

Magic, music and mischief aplenty will be afoot at Timaru’s Aigantighe Art Gallery next week, as Aidan Theatre prepares to perform an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Taking place in the sculpture garden on February 9, 10 and 11, the adaptation, titled Dream, condenses Shakespeare’s whimsical tale into a two-hour performance with audiences able to attend for just a koha (gift or donation).

Director Kimble Henderson said the play and its themes were still as relevant today as they were when it was written more than 400 years ago.

‘‘I think Shakespeare is still relevant because he knew how to write good stories and good characters. We still know and can relate to these people.

‘‘For example, he wrote in plague times; we have recently come out of plague times. There is a beautiful speech Titania gives in this play about the changes of weather, the changes of the planet and what it is going through and what impact that has on people and nature. That’s pretty relevant to today.’’

Fairy fun . . . Rehearsing a scene from the play are local actors (from left) Eleanor Rarity (Bottom), Anita Dawson (Titania), Mark Richardson (fairy puppeteer) and Alex Rapley, 12 (fairy puppeteer). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Continuing the tradition of an annual summer Shakespeare performance, Mrs Henderson said this year they were looking to raise the bar.

‘‘We are testing a whole bunch of new ideas and working with a whole bunch of collaborators.

‘‘We have music that has been written specifically for the play by John Willers and will be performed live, we have had Gail Tatham working with puppets and we have Lucy Reeve working with some pole fitness and ballet dancers who will help form the kaleidoscope of fairies we have.

‘‘There will be so much cool stuff going on.’’

She urged people not be frightened to come and watch just because it was a Shakespeare play.

‘‘Just give it a go and come on down — you might surprise yourself. Don’t let the word Shakespeare put you off.

‘‘People get afraid of that word, that name, which is such a shame. Shakespeare wrote for actors, not English classes. Just give it a go even if you think ‘that’s not for me’. That’s my challenge to Timaru.’’

The power of love . . . Chaos unfolds on stage as (front, from left) Sian Leyland (Helena) rejects a love juiced Lysander played by Liam Miskelly, while a concerned (back, from left) Eddie Still (Puck) and Chris Rapley (Oberon) watch on. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Those wishing to attend were also encouraged to bring items for a picnic, as well as blankets, chairs and anything else to make them comfortable.

The play was for people of all ages and was shaping up to be truly magical she said.

‘‘There has been lots of laughter; the actors are delightful; magic is in the air. The music is fabulous and I think people will be genuinely dazzled and enchanted.

‘‘You have fairies doing their thing, the mechanicals, who are just a bunch of tradies trying to be actors and impress the boss of Athens.

‘‘You’ve got the lovers who are misguided and confused, a mischievous fairy who just causes havoc. It’s just funny. You recognise the human emotion in it all — we’ve all been young and in love and dumb. We’ve all tried to be something we’re not.’’

There will be two evening performances at 7.30pm on February 9 and 10 and there will be two matinee performances at 2pm on February 10 and 11.