Actors From The London Stage Present A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Purdue
Actors From The London stage recreate William Shakespeare’s iconic masterwork, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at Purdue University on February 2 and February 3 at 8pm in Fowler Hall.
Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) was founded in 1975 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, by Professor Homer “Murph” Swander and the renowned stage & screen actor Sir Patrick Stewart, best known as Captain Picard on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Professor Xavier in the X-Men film franchise.
The AFTLS company ethos and mission is simplicity at its finest. Five actors take the stage, with minimal props and costumes, and direct themselves in a performance of a complete Shakespeare play, with each actor portraying multiple roles.
But the performance is only part of the experience. The company tours to colleges & universities across the United States twice yearly, with each tour organized and administered by Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Each company of five actors leads classes and workshops throughout the residency week.
The goal: to interpret Shakespeare’s text as a blueprint for performance, lifting the words off the page as Shakespeare originally intended.
For most of his working life, William Shakespeare was a sharer in the King’s Men, London’s leading theatre company. He knew the actors he was writing for and collaborated with them on seeing the plays into performance.
All theatre is a collaboration, of course, and while actors can no longer collaborate directly with Shakespeare, the Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) company always aims to work with him, respectfully and creatively, throughout the rehearsal process. They aim to make his words exert their magic and their power in performance, but they do this in a vital, and perhaps unconventional, way. They have no massive sets to tower over the performers and no directorial concept to tower over the text of Shakespeare’s play. In fact, AFTLS does not have a director at all; instead, the play has been rehearsed by the actors, working together to create theatre, cooperating with each other in their imaginative engagement with the play’s words.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows the intertwining plotlines of love, mistaken identity, and magical mischief. Set in the enchanting realm of Athens and the mystical forest inhabited by fairies, the play unfolds with the escapades of four young lovers, a group of bumbling amateur actors, and the mischievous fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania. As the characters’ paths cross and magical interventions lead to hilarious and sometimes bewildering situations, Shakespeare weaves a tapestry of romance, comedy, and enchantment.
With its whimsical characters and timeless themes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues to captivate audiences, and the upcoming performance by Actors From The London Stage at Purdue University promises to be a delightful exploration of Shakespearean brilliance.