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|A Midsummer Night's Dream|
YOUTH ACTION THEATRE has chosen for its seventh full-length production a play by Shakespeare. Now that school holidays have started, rehearsals for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' are well under way, and it will be presented at Hampton Court Theatre from October 2 to October 5.
YAT is a group of young people between the age of 16 and early 20s who come together because they enjoy, as a group activity, taking part in plays and wish to learn as much as possible about acting. It has been in existence for four years, and the only qualifications required for joining are to be in this age group and to be keen and enthusiastic to learn about drama.
During its short life, the choice of plays has been wide, ranging from a completely improvised play worked out by the group, 'Waiting To Be Born' to such well-known titles as 'The Diary of Ann Frank', 'The Crucible' and most recently 'Spring Awakening' which is at present in the National Theatre's repertory.
Members come from a wide area - Tolworth to Staines, a contingent from Sunbury and another from Ham, whilst most parts of the Borough of Richmond are represented.
Cast in important parts in 'The Dream' are two girls who recently joined, Irene Palka from Surbiton as Hermia and Diana Katis from Ham as Titania. Paddy Hogston from Twickenham who played comparatively small parts previously, now tackles Demetrius whilst Graeme Hole of Richmond, seen as the Rector in 'Spring Awakening' is playing Oberon. One of the most difficult parts in 'The Dream' is Puck which Keith Holmes from Hampton Hill is working very hard to achieve.
When plays are not in rehearsal, the group continues to meet every Monday evening in Teddington when members work on all types of drama techniques, movement, improvisations, mime, etc.
Naturally the ambition of the group is to have a 'home' of its own, the sole use of a large room or series of rooms, where rehearsals can take place on any evening of the week, where those not rehearsing can design or make scenery, properties or costumes or simply to meet and talk over the problems of the production.A Midsummer Night's Dream
by William Shakespeare
Adaptation by Stanley Wells
Traditionally seen as one of Shakespeare's more romantic and enchanting plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream has more recently been seen as a darker and more sinister play than generations of schoolchildren have ever imagined.
The play has usually been seen as a comical tale and confused identities and the fickleness of youthful love, as the young lovers, Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena escape parental control and the "sharp Athenian law" of their elders by eloping into the forest outside the city. Unfortunately they stumble into civil war in fairyland, where King Oberon and Queen Titania fight over possession of a beautiful young Indian "changeling" boy. The appearance of the "rude mechanicals", a group of Athenian workers, including the weaver Nick Bottom, compounds the confusion.
Chaos, confusion and "shaping fantasies" reign before the final settlement of the play, but underneath all the hilarity many critics have discerned more ambivalent attitudes towards coercive parental control, bestial sexuality and the destructive power of desire. These approaches in no way detract from the exquisite lyricism of many sections of the play, but make it a more complex and effective comedy than has often been appreciated.
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