SPA challenges expectations with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Director Marcia Douglas and a cast of 25 University of Maine students will bring a fresh and inventive production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the Hauck Auditorium stage, beginning Nov. 10.

The UMaine production of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy will run for seven performances; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10–11 and 17–18;  2 p.m. Nov. 12 and 19; and 10 a.m. Nov. 16. Tickets are $10 and available online; admission is free for students with a valid MaineCard.

After the 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 12, Caroline Bicks, the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature, will present a free, public discussion, “From Page to Stage,” with theater professionals Pier Carlo Talenti and Toby Bercovici.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of Shakespeare’s most widely produced plays and its story and themes are familiar to many audiences.

UMaine’s production will present audiences with a unique experience, says Douglas, associate professor of theatre at UMaine. “We’ve done our best to challenge audience expectations,” she says.

For one, playgoers will be seated on stage with the cast.

“We wanted to force the audience into the world of the play,” says Douglas.

Portland-based stunt coordinator, fight director and UMaine alumnus Andrew Silver believes the play will be more interactive than audiences are used to.

“Entrances and exits will be happening 360 degrees around the audience,” says Silver. “By the end of the play the audience won’t know which way is up.”

Another fresh approach involves the casting of Puck, “the shrewd and knavish sprite” who drives much of the story. Shakespeare doesn’t indicate Puck’s gender, though Puck is often interpreted as male. In this production, Puck will simultaneously be portrayed by two actors, one male and one female.

“This is a world where anything can happen, and nothing is as it seems,” Douglas says. “We want the audience to really believe that anything can happen in a dream.”

For more information, contact Alan Berry, To request a disability accommodation, call Kerry Davis, 581.4703.