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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 19, 1970)
'Midsummer Night's Dream'
Mixes success and failure
by NELSON POTTER
The University Theater's production of
Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's '
Dream" opened last week at Howell
Theater and continues in performance
through the end of this week. Directed
by Harvey Miller, the production mixes
success and failure; but its successes are
great enough to make it a presentation
The main strengths in this version of
the Shakespearean masterpiece are in some
individual triumphs in acting and in the
Among the actors in this production
Ric Marsh stands out, as he develops a
strongly shaped characterization of Puck.
He somersaults, giggles and hops his way
about the stage, and seems perfectly to
be the fantastic, immortal, disembodied,
mischievous fairy he plays.
LINDA VARVEL gives us a strong
Helena. Her nicely original reading of this
character as having just a bit of the tom
boy, the shrew, and the cynic is one way
of being just right. She prepares us
perfectly for Helena's indignant rejection
of the sudden advances of her bewitched
lover, later in the play.
Lesser triumphs are won by Laura
Ursdevenicz, who is at once voluptous and
regal as Titania, Queen of the Fairies,
and Christopher Stasheff, who is properly
majestical and uneartlily as Oberon, the
King of the Fairies.
And the parts of the "rude mechanics,"
Bottom, Quince, Flute, and the rest, are
mostly very well done.
The fine costuming adds considerably
to this production. The real, as opposed
to the fairy, characters, are mostly given
Elizabethan dress; in color and in design,
they are beautifully done.
The costumes for the fairies are even
better; everything about them Indicates the
fairies vegetable origin and nature. Puck's
and Oberon's costumes seem made of
leaves, and the female fairies wear long
flowing robes with vague flowerlike pat
terns of color.
The attendants to Titania move like
impetuous and insubstantial flowers through
the unearthly half-light of the "dream"
portion of the play. The costumes, the
lighting, and the "choreography" of the
fairies' movements all these are effects
But beside the substantial strengths of
this production must be listed some crippl
ONE PROBLEM that must be
overcome in any production of Shakespeare
is the difficulty of the language. In the
comedies it is hard to get all of the gag
lines across. In longer speeches, words
tend to get lost in the sing-song rhythm
of the metred lines especially in early
Shakespeare. The present produtcion does
not succeed in conquering these problems.
Early in the play Oberon and Theseus
have long speeches, full of marvelous
language but most of the poetry in
what they say is lost because the actors
speak them rapidly and with little em
phasis. So many of the humorous lines are
lost that most of the amusement in this
production of "Dream" comes from the
action, and we are left with the impression 1
that, overall, this play is only moderately
and occasionally funny.
But more serious and central than the
problem of the language is that of concep
tion. There seems to be no over-all concep
tion behind this production, and it very
much needs one. This Shakespeare play
has the static form of a dream or a fantasy,
and so the action alone does not carry
Perhaps the magical, moonlit central
portion of the play ought to never touch
reality, so that it is seen as a mere figment
or shadow. Perhaps the play might be
presented as an essay on the varieties
of love. Perhaps it might somehow be
BUT NONE of these conceptions, nor
any other, is adopted for this production,
PHI MU ALPHA SINFONIA
PORTRAITS IN JAZZ XII
THURSDAY, MARCH 19
KIMBALL RECITAL HALL
THE UNIVERSITY LAB BAND
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF PROF.
RCSERT DEADELL AND
GUEST CONDUQOR DAVE
BAKER, CHAIRMAN, BLACK
STUDIES DEPT., UNIVERSITY
tell her with flowers
127 s. 13th
ft 'TTlV rmXi
o J I
ft A2 jrvfif "P w . I
Lincoln Community Concerts Series season tick
ets are now on sale in the North Lobby of the
Nebraska Union through March 27th. Price for
students is $5.15 which includes Addis & Crofut,
the last presentation of the current season.
and thus there is nothing to hold the action
together, or carry us forward. The play
fails to be an Elizabethan period piece,
a pure fantasy, or a philosophical comment
on the relation of truth and fantasy because
it fails to be any one particular thing
at all. fa
It is not only the play as a whole,
but, in some cases, individual scenes that
fail to hold together, once again, it seems,
because of the director's lack of an overall
conception of the scene.
For example, Theseus, the king of
Athens, and his A m a z o n wife-to-be ought
to dominate the opening and closing scenes
by their mere presence; but the Theseus
of this production seems more like "one
of the boys" or "a really nice guy, for
a king," and thus his scenes lack the
center of gravity they need.
And, though Stephen Gains mostly does
a very nice job in the important role of
Bottom, he plays Bottom's role of
"Pyramus" in the very funny final scene,
not as a foolish untutored weaver trying
to act, but as a skilled actor in a farce
absurdly overacting his part. What he does
is very funny, but he gets his laughs at
the expense of the dramatic consistency
of the scene.
70th mU ym
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 1970
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