Miss Wolff, Primary Liaison for English, writes:
On the 19th of June, all Year 7 students had the opportunity to watch Quantum Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Year 7s have been reading this text in their English lessons, and this performance gave students the opportunity to better understand Shakespeare’s language and comedy. The company’s use of string instruments and humming helped to establish the traditional atmosphere of Elizabethan theatre for the students, to enable them to understand how Shakespeare intended his play to be viewed.
Quantum Theatre is a professional company that performs their plays both in schools and in open air productions of Shakespeare. The five actors fulfilled all the roles in the play with some very quick costume changes. The play was performed using traditional Shakespearean language directly from the text while including modern twists in the play in order to appeal to our Year 7 students. These additions included umbrellas, toothbrushes, radios, and a truly lovely rendition of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On (which is what made Titania fall in love with Bottom!). And, of course, who can forget Bottom’s mistake when spraying his aerosol deodorant. Oops-lesson learned!
Students particularly enjoyed the character of Bottom and his comedy. His lion roars and high pitched voice allowed students to really understand the comedy behind this play – which was clear in students’ uproarious laughter. Of course, one of the highlights was Bottom’s transformation into a donkey. Or, depending on who you ask, the highlight may have been when Lysander accidentally kissed Demetrius due to Helena’s quick movement. It drew many cries of laughter and shock!
“My favourite characters were Lysander and Helena because they showed their passion of acting through their characters.” Maisy Buckingham, 7B
“The thing I enjoyed the most was when everything had been tied up, when Lysander loved Hermia again and Demetrius loved Helena.” Eloise Laurence, 7B
“It helped me to understand the play because even though I didn’t understand some of the language used, the expression and the way the characters acted helped me to know what was going on,” Olivia Preston, 7B
“I enjoyed the way the actors quickly changed costumes and knew their lines perfectly. There were some funny jokes as well!” Millie Harris, 7B
“I loved A Midsummer Night’s Dream! It is one of the best plays I’ve ever watched! The acting was amazing, especially the way you can fit two people in one small box.” Finley Mitchell, 7A
Harriet Ross, 7A, particularly enjoyed the interpretation of the ‘play within a play’ scene, when Peter Quince sat down in the crowd and watched it along with students. Adam Eason, 7S, was also thrilled to have Quince come down to sit right next to him!
The actors were equally very impressed with students’ participation in the play and their reactions to the comedy. Alice of Quantum Theatre said that the students of Stanborough clearly understood the play and their knowledge of the plot and language made it evident that they were studying A Midsummer Night’s Dream in lessons.
We hope that all students enjoyed the play and that they now have a greater understanding of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Shakespeare’s language in order to prepare them for their current studies as well as their studies of Romeo and Juliet, which they will be reading for their literature GCSE in Year 11. Thank you for being such an excellent and appreciative audience, Year 7s!