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Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama Re-imagines Shakespeare’s
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Nov. 18-20 and Nov. 30-Dec. 4
New Stage Technology, Rarely Found at Universities, Will Magically Recreate Classic Play
PITTSBURGH—William Shakespeare’s fantastic dream of a laborer who yearns to be an actor will replay itself on stage at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama when Don Wadsworth, professor of voice and speech, directs “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Nov. 18 through 20 and Nov. 30 through Dec. 4. Known for its strengths in the arts and technology, the school will use new automated stage equipment to create magical effects in this imaginative version of Shakespeare’s famous comedy. The technology will move scenery and lift actors on and off stage.
“The play is based in high fantasy because of the character’s dream of being in the theater,” Wadsworth said. “In a time when we are surrounded by spectacular movie effects, I hope people will leave inspired by this version and be immersed in the joy and romance of experiencing live 3-D entertainment onstage. We are celebrating the full potential of live theatre throughout the play.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. The play weaves urban romance and woodland fantasy, spinning dreams within dreams. In the School of Drama’s production, Wadsworth will use the play’s notoriety as inspiration to use the new stage technology and adapt the length of the play.
The play is cut shorter and slightly re-arranged to emphasize the dream sequence in the play. The production will be approximately 90 minutes long without an intermission. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturdays in CMU’s Philip Chosky Theatre.
The stage automation technology, called the Navigator, allows CMU’s theater artists the ability to make the stage and the scenery move in creative ways, giving them much more flexibility than traditional equipment used in theaters. CMU is one of a few university theater production facilities in the world using this technology. Professional theater companies like Cirque de Soleil use this technical system.
“This gear is rarely found in academia; we are one of a very few programs that have it. Our students will graduate having had actual hands-on experience with its implementation on real productions,” said Kevin Hines, assistant teaching professor of production technology and management.
Anne Mundell, associate professor of scene design, created the modern set and Erik Lawson, a Master of Fine Arts candidate in the School of Drama, produced an original score. The scenery and the music combine to create a dream-world-like environment.
Wadsworth says the stage is reset into “a contemporary place, so young audiences can identify more strongly with the lovers. The play is also about romance and the fickleness of young love, as well as the romantic idea of the theatre itself.”
Ticket prices begin at $15 for adults and $10 for students. For complete ticket prices, call the School of Drama Box Office at 412-268-2407 or visit http://www.drama.cmu.edu.
Students in the Dramaturgy Program will hold a post-performance talkback with the audience, casts and crews following the Nov. 30 performance. The dramaturgs are available to discuss the plays with classes, student groups and public organizations. Contact Michael Chemers, dramaturgy option coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-268-2399 to schedule a session with a dramaturg. For more information on the 2010-2011 season of plays visit www.drama.cmu.edu.