I am currently directing a production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve directed two other productions of it during my directing career, but all productions take on lives of their own.
My approach for this production is to set the play in a mythical America 1967, complete with 60s music, a couple of dances, Peter Max images, and 60s icons.
The fairies will be hippies living in the wood in a hippy van, which will be a set piece onstage. Regarding the fairies, I decided for the first time (for me) to use real wings. Oberon is a biker patterned after Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones. Theseus, Duke of Athens, is patterned on Richard Nixon, and his Amazon queen, Hippolyta, becomes Angela Davis. The mechanicals are modern workers. Bottom’s Pyramus and Flute’s Thisbe will be patterned on Sonny and Cher’s, “I Got You, Babe.” I'm currently shopping for a Prince Valiant wig for Pyramus.
Each time I’ve done the production, I have had the quandary of finding an appropriate ass’s head for Bottom that both looks good and is affordable. I spent lots of time online and finally narrowed the search down to the following two wonderful choices. Both were ordered online and arrived within a week.
The first mask is from Custom Heraldic Designs, a site specializing in numerous Medieval costumes and masks. This leather mask is expertly crafted, light weight, and is easy to wear. It is based on a Medieval manuscript illustration of mummers. It is the cheaper of the two.
The second mask, from Maskarade [630 St. Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 70116], is a beautifully crafted, much more substantial hard mask by Diane Trapp, with paper mache padded face and synthetic-fur donkey whiskers and a great tuft of black hair. This is mask we’ll probably use.
Our show will be presented during the last two weeks of March.