By Pam Creech
The threat of rain didn’t stop 100 theatergoers from attending an outdoor production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream — Dissected” Saturday, Aug. 23. Although Friday night’s performance was canceled due to a torrential downpour, brave cast and tech crew members put on the show on the wet earth behind Jengo’s Playhouse in downtown Wilmington.
While the production was a theatrical performance, it incorporated other art disciplines, including dance, music and film. Instead of staying seated and watching the show from afar, audience members stood throughout the one-hour performance and were encouraged to follow the actors across the grounds from scene to scene.
Decorations and props were non-traditional. Mason jar candles on top of a picnic table lit up the center of the grassy stage. Colored strands of lights illuminated a small yellow house.
Karola Lüttringhaus, the show’s creator, wanted to design a performance that would differ from the traditional productions of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that her audience had seen before. Instead of recreating the entire play, Lüttringhaus dissected the script and worked with the scenes that, she said, best portray the emotions and power of the female roles.
“This is only half of the play, really,” Lüttringhaus said. “We just took little stories from here and there — Hermia and her father, the love talk between Lysander and Hermia and Helena’s entrance.”
The show opened with Hermia wearing a flowy pink dress, dancing and throwing a trash can to show her frustration. Her father, Egeus, appeared larger-than-life on a screen behind her, telling her to marry Demetrius, go live in a nunnery, or die.
Throughout the play’s 12 scenes, Lüttringhaus and her cast of actors, dancers and musicians kept the audience engaged by providing them with sensory overload. In one scene, a character climbed a tree and gave a monologue 10 feet off of the ground. Another character dumped a bucket of water on her head and danced against the side of the yellow house. Buckets of rain were dumped on the house’s tin roof to create a gentle rhythm. Lüttringhaus made an appearance toward the end of the play sporting a shimmery wedding gown.
“We had a good turnout considering that the weather was so crazy,” Lüttringhaus said. “I hope that we get to do it again; maybe we can do it in the fall.”
Breanne Horne, who played Hermia, was also satisfied with her experience in the production.
“The process is an adventure in and of itself,” Horne said. “It’s a team that makes a good show happen … even in the rain.”