Photography: Laura Eastley
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
Adapted and directed by Kelly Wilson
Original music by Karlin Love and Kelly Wilson
Production week, 30 November - 2 December, 2023
Studio Theatre, Hobart
Recasting the roles of Young Sebastian and Andrea/William’s Daughter only
Setting: Midsummer early 21st century, at a nursing home for residents with dementia
List of Characters: 13 roles (for actors 18+ only)
Nursing home patients and their families:
Cynthia Goodfellow, a former theatrical director in her 40s/50s with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, who organises the Pyramus and Thisbe performance
Sebastian Goodfellow, Cynthia’s husband and successful music producer
Robyn “Puck” Goodfellow, Cynthia’s daughter, who works as an accountant
William, nursing home resident who resembles Cynthia’s father, Nathaniel
Nurses at nursing home (The ‘Medicinals’):
Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Rachel Starveling, Tamara Snout and Lucy Snug
Characters in Flashback (25 years earlier):
Young Cynthia, budding artist in love with Young Sebastian
Young Sebastian (20s), talented musician in love with Young Cynthia
Nathaniel (played by William), businessman and father of Young Cynthia
Antonio (played by William’s Son), aspiring young businessman, Nathaniel’s choice of husband for Young Cynthia
Andrea (20s - played by William’s Daughter), friend of Young Cynthia, loves Antonio
Characters in Cynthia’s Daydream (inspired by Shakespeare’s play):
Young Cynthia, represents Hermia, in love with Young Sebastian
Young Sebastian, represents Lysander, in love with Young Cynthia
Antonio, represents Demetrius, wants to marry Young Cynthia
Andrea, represents Helena, best friend of Young Cynthia, in love with Antonio
Sebastian, represents Oberon, King of the Fairies
Cynthia, represents Titania, Queen of the Fairies
Robyn, represents Puck, fairy serving Oberon
Nick Bottom, represents Bottom
Francis Flute, represents Cobweb, fairy in Titania’s service (group singing)
Rachel Starveling, represents Moth, fairy in Titania’s service (group singing, dancer)
Tamara Snout, represents Peaseblossom, fairy in Titania’s service (solo singing)
Lucy Snug, represents Marigold, fairy in Titania’s service (group singing)
Auditions will consist of a digitally recorded reading of one of the monologues from the production (see the end of this page). Please familiarise yourself with the monologue so that you can look away from the page from time to time, but it is not necessary to completely memorise the entire passage. I want to hear how you speak the language and see how you portray the character.
A copy of the self-tape should be emailed by Friday, 17 March to Kelly Wilson at email@example.com. If you are unable to complete a self-tape, you may email to request an audition in person before the 17 March deadline.
Call-backs will be held on Thursday, 30 March, location and time TBA. Call-backs will involve cold readings of scenes with current and potential cast members.
Rehearsals and Performance:
Rehearsals will begin the last week of October, three times a week, for 3 hours, beginning at 6pm, preferably between Monday-Thursday, depending on the availability of the cast. The rehearsal schedule will be negotiated with the actors and created in April. Scripts will also be posted to actors in April.
Actors must be available to travel to Hobart early in the morning on Thursday, 30 November, arriving at the Studio Theatre by 12pm. Cast will be able to leave Hobart after the final evening performance on Saturday, 2 December, or remain in Hobart until the following morning. At the conclusion of the production, 20% of the box office earnings will be split evenly between the actors as payment. Three nights of double/triple share accomodation in Hobart will also be provided, if actors don’t have family or friends that they can stay with in Hobart.
Directorial Interpretation and Plot Summary:
This contemporary adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream retains William Shakespeare’s original text, while reframing the narrative action around the central characters of Cynthia, a mother in her forties diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, her husband Sebastian Goodfellow and her daughter Robyn Goodfellow. This production, exploring dreams as an extension of memories and fears, is filled with all the fun and hilarity an audience would expect from the play, as well as heart-felt explorations of the ageing process and the power of love and forgiveness.
Cynthia’s passion for theatre began in her youth when she fell in love with the works of William Shakespeare. Her favourite play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream and she closely identifies with the character of Hermia because, as a young woman, Cynthia fell in love with Sebastian, a talented musician of whom her father disapproved. Her father, Nathaniel, insisted that she marry Antonio, a young man with a mind for business like his own. However, following the example of her favourite Shakespearean character, Cynthia eloped with Sebastian, prompting her father to disinherit her and never speak to her again.
It is 25 years after Cynthia’s marriage to Sebastian and they are still a happily married couple with a grown daughter. However, Cynthia has recently moved to a nursing home to get the support that she, Sebastian, and her daughter Robyn need as they confront the harsh realities of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Cynthia’s condition is regressing, resulting in the loss of her memory of her daughter, which upsets Robyn very deeply. Cynthia believes that she is once again in her twenties, only four days away from her life changing wedding day to Sebastian.
In order to assist with the retention of her memory, Cynthia and a crew of willing nurses plan to stage a short play, Pyramus and Thisbe. During rehearsals, momentary lapses into a catatonic state are filled with waking visions inspired by Cynthia’s past memories, such as the youthful adventures of Antonio (Demetrius), Andrea (Helena), Young Cynthia (Hermia) and Young Sebastian (Lysander) in the bush, as well as memories and fantasies about Cynthia’s first love (who resembles the charming nurse, Nick Bottom). Cynthia’s present day fears about the strange young woman (Robyn), who accompanies Sebastian during his visits to the nursing home, are represented in the conflict between Titania and Oberon, motivated by Titania’s jealous accusations of Oberon’s infidelity with Puck.
Male Monologue: Young Sebastian (Lysander)
NOTE: The actor playing Young Sebastian must be between
5’4” and 5’8” and have a close enough resemblance to
Christopher Bryg (who is playing Sebastian, shown right)
in order to be believable as a younger version of Sebastian.
Please read both speeches for the audition.
(Young Sebastian defends himself against the disfavour of
Young Cynthia’s father, Nathaniel.)
I am, Nathaniel, as well derived as he,
As well possessed; my love is more than his,
My fortunes every way as fairly ranked,
If not with vantage, as Antonio's;
And (which is more than all these boasts can be)
I am beloved of beauteous Cynthia.
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
(Beat) Antonio, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Robert's daughter, Andrea,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
(Young Sebastian tells Young Cynthia of his plan to elope with her.)
Hear me, Cynthia:
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Hobart is her house remote seven kays,
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Cynthia, may I marry thee.
Steal forth thy father's house tomorrow night;
And in the bush, two kays without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Andrea
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.
Female Monologue: Andrea (Helena)
NOTE: Actors of any race or ethnicity are invited to audition for this role. It is preferable for the actor playing Andrea to be taller than 5’4”.
(Andrea (Helena) vents her frustration over her unrequited love for Antonio (Demetrius).
How happy some o'er other some can be!
Through Hobart I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Antonio thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Cynthia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste;
And therefore is love said to be a child
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where;
For, ere Antonio looked on Cynthia's eyne,
He hailed down oaths that he was only mine,
And when this hail some heat from Cynthia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Cynthia's flight:
Then to the bush will he, tomorrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence,
If I have thanks - it is a dear expense;
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither, and back again.