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Lighting the Stage: Modern 'Midsummer' reimagines classic tale

By Carlina Duan, For The Daily
Published December 2, 2012

“I don’t think that gender roles are assumed in this show.”

For actors, involvement in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has drastically altered perspectives on Shakespeare and the world around them.

For the cast and crew, the play has involved many changes, including adjustments in stage direction and costume throughout the entire rehearsal process. Tulip explained this constantly evolving nature of the play as an essential part of his direction.

“It’s like being an archeologist,” Tulip said. “You have to mine the text for the echoes that are hidden inside what relationships are there.”

Tulip described changing the lovers’s positions in one specific scene.

“The lovers fall asleep towards the end of the play next to each other,” he said. “It’s only when they wake up that they end with the one they’re going to marry, and I realized by reading the play just this week (that) when the court comes into the forest the whole sound wakes the lovers up.”

Tulip emphasized scouring the text for details such as these.

Myers underwent a similar last-minute adjustment in her costume design.

Close to her design presentation, she thought Hermia's costume was incorrect. “I completely redesigned one of the characters last-minute based on balance and on the cast.”

For Tulip and Myers, such moments do more than enrich a production — they’re inherent to the rehearsal process.

“I see it as a scientific process in that you have a hypothesis,” Tulip said. “You have an idea about what you think (a play) should be. You devise an experiment. You run a rehearsal. You observe the results. You come to a conclusion, and you get new information constantly changing that conclusion.”

Myers described her costume design as a gifting process.

“There’s always a shift and I actually love that moment where I feel like I’m passing a baton,” Myers said. “It’s been my design, and it becomes (the actor’s), and then it’s not mine anymore.”

Collins, meanwhile, likens the play to straw punch candy.

“Originally it has that bite.” he said. “It has that flavor in your mouth that you don’t know what to do with, but after you suck on it for a while, you let it really embody you.”

“It’s a good taste, it’s a good feeling — I’m tempted to say sweet. It is a comedy, so everything ends up being ‘sweet’ at the end.”