Like every other society in the country, we’re hungry for live performance and tired of Zoom! In anticipation of the accelerated vaccine rollout and the opportunity to potentially return to live theatre, Muse Productions started planning for a Shakespeare in the Park event, performing “A Midsummer Nights Dream” in the town park in Shannon on the weekend before Midsummer night. We knew it would be a close thing, but we’re down to the wire now and all indications are good. We started with readings over Zoom and finalised casting. We then worked with small groups following the guidelines allowed for outdoor gatherings. Luckily, the play is naturally split between 3 main groups, the Mortals, the Fairies and the Mechanicals. We were able to put a rough shape on each group prior to the announcement that 15 people could attend a cultural event outdoors. We then expanded our rehearsals and were lucky enough to have access to a large garden with a 40ft Deck that served as our stage. In recent weeks we have been rehearsing once a week in the Town Park in early morning. The few early risers who passed by have been very enthusiastic about seeing the finished product.
As this is a first for us, we are not charging for the performances. It will be a first come, first served, “pay what you like” approach. We have spent a lot of time dealing with the Shannon Municipal District who have given us a lot of guidance on running outdoor events of this type. Risk assessments, garda presence, first aid, toilet facilities all had to be considered, but as I say we’re on the final straight and everything is looking good. Lets just hope the weather holds!
For the production itself, we have gone back to basics. No set (apart from some camouflage netting), a handful of tables, chairs and props, and a unique styling for each group. The Mortals will be in modern dress, more well to do; the Mechanicals will be variations on denim and the Fairies will look have an eclectic fashion sense picked up from whatever they liked over the last 400 years! No lighting, no microphones, but there will be some music, performed by the fairies and some of the lovers. All in all it should be a fun few evenings for all the family, not to be taken too seriously. And even if it rains, or nobody comes, we’ll have had a couple of months of laughs and socialising that’s been badly missed. And remember, the course of true love never did run smooth! Lord what fools these mortals be!