Today I was privy to watch the last show of DePaul Theatre School’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” production. The famous Shakespeare play was adapted and directed by Catherine Weidner. Being a lover of the arts and a closet actress myself, I purely enjoyed the adaptation. In this production targeted to an audience of age 8 and above the play is set in Athens but the time period is 1952. The language was kept as is but the play is not performed in its full length. I would imagine it would be difficult to pay attention to and fully grasp Early Modern English of the Elizabethan era for an audience so young. The incorporation of the 5Os fashion was purely genius and reminded me so much of American Bandstand.
The play though not in full detail managed to relay the message and much credit should be given to the entire cast for a stellar performance on the stage.I would like to highlight a dear friend, a rising star whose interests are akin to mine; Loresa Grigsby. She did an amazing job playing Hippolyta & Titania .
My first year of college I took a class at the Theater School, though I do not claim to be a theatrical genius, I picked up a few terms here and there. Drama turg, stage manager, theatrical fog etc…Sitting in the Merle Reskin Theater took me back to days of that class and it got me thinking; What does a novice of the theater know about a drama turg? How often do you sit and enjoy a play and all the cool lighting and effects and not stop to think for a second who created all that? There is all these different scenes that make the play enjoyable and really give you a sense of the setting, time period etc. Can you honestly say after seeing a profound production you went home and googled the light designer because you were curios to see more of their work? My point is, there is so many behind the scenes players without whom the play would not be a success but often the general public, myself included are less inclined to efforts of these “backstage individuals.”
This led me to another train of thought: The magnificent skylines, the augmented asphalt highways, the proverbial drinking hole (office water cooler) have and I quote Thabo Mbeki, “all been panels of the set on the natural stage on which we act out the foolish deeds of the theatre of our day.” Picture this if you will, early morning you wake up at that ghastly hour and venture out on your journey to work. As soon as you step out of your building/condo/house you are greeted by a beautiful CLEAN sidewalk, which you don’t notice because you are already mad about being up. Whether you drive to work, take a bus or a cab you are forced to drive on pothole free roads that are clearly marked! If you are unlucky or lucky whichever way you view it, you work in a highrise building where you have the privilege of taking an elevator to your corner office on the 50th floor…OK WHERE am I going with all this? Try replaying the previous scene but this time replace the clean sidewalk with a cigarette stub, banana peel, plastic paper & scrap covered sidewalk. That highway you could be cruising on at a 100mph with a pothole infested road that almost resembles a piece of Swiss cheese. Your crowded elevator with NO elevator!
I am not really concerned about the comforts that we so often take for granted but rather the individuals who help maintain that level of comfort. You hardly smile at the street sweeper- if anything you are walking past them wondering why they chose that profession. A road construction sign makes you boil with anger and if not for the heavy $10,000 fine or 5year jail sentence you would so love to run over one of those construction workers for being the cause of your delay. Dare I talk about the maintenance guy whose skill is questioned by everyone even the girl in the copy room. However these people are instrumental in making our everyday lives more bearable. They are our drama turgs we forget to pay tribute to, or the costume designer you have never googled.
Today I pay tribute to these and other overlooked individuals, who may not have invented the toaster but whose existence is as important to our being as is the next person. Hats off to amazing people who help make our everyday lives just that much easier…
In the spirit of Shakespeare and the theater I leave with these famous words from “All the world’s a stage”
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”–William Shakespeare (“As you like it” Act 2, Scene 7)