Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream 1970
approached this production with deliberate radicalism. He [Brook]
persuaded you to forget a century of theatrical tradition, with its
conventions and clichés, said Robert Speaight. Brook, together
with designer, Sally Jacobs, highlighted the artificiality
of theatre with a brilliantly lit, white box set,
which replaced the traditional picturesque woodland. Nothing was
hidden and everything revealed, set out in clarity against the white
space, dubbed a magic box of tricks by Jay Halio. The play
opened without a curtain, with the full company juggling and
tumbling. A balcony around the stage area provided a space for the
other actors to watch the action on stage. The costume and movement
of circus acrobats inspired the actors bright silks and flights
on trapeze. It was a visual assault on the audiences senses, and
on preconceived ideas of the play.
are blown to awake the sleeping lovers, suspended behind. Note actors watching the action on stage from gallery above the screens. Photographer: Joe Cocks
||1970. Oberon, Titania, Puck and Bottom. Removing the spell from Titania
||1970. Oberon and Puck seated on trapezes.
||1959. The opening scene.
A Jacobean country manor house provided the setting to Peter Halls 1959 production, prompted by the theory that the plays original composition formed part of the celebrations of a courtly wedding. Elizabethan costumes and rushes strewn on the floor gave a strong sense of period. It was this traditional approach which Brook was trying to throw off in his revolutionary production.
||1994. Set Design. Photographer: Malcolm Davies. Adrian Nobles production contained deliberate allusions to Brooks refashioning of the play. The set designed by Anthony Ward shows Titanias bower in a raised position, doorways, and a bareness of stage, all indebted to the influence of Brooks production. The lighting designs bright shining colours spilled over into the silks and rich brocades of the costumes: the sets white walls were flooded with crimson light for Athens and indigo for the forest.
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