A Midwinter Night's Dream
“Midwinter” A Theatrical Love Letter to the Palouse
Stephen John has created a holiday love letter to the Palouse with “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” a play to bring light and joy to the season’s short and dark days.
A graduate student in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, John’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s comic classic shifts the action to a winter wonderland but otherwise remains faithful to the Bard’s original story with a cast of royalty, fairies and befuddled actors transformed by the magical and mysterious power of love. John and the Department of Theatre Arts bring “Midwinter” to the Hartung Theater for seven performances Nov. 30 through Dec. 9.
“’Midwinter’ takes place when magic happens at winter solstice, the day with the fewest hours of sunlight and the longest night in the year,” John said.
A lovers’ spat, mistaken identity and general pandemonium follow the characters as they venture through a world of beautiful confusion.
Experiencing the “Midwinter” characters’ universe for two hours through their hardest, darkest, coldest part of the year is a reminder that “it’s all going to be easier tomorrow,” John said.
Ultimately, the play celebrates a way of looking at the world.
“I think there’s magic everywhere,” he said. “Once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it.”
Text and Dialect Coach Keeps Actors on Track
An added benefit surrounding this season’s production of “Midwinter” is Dylan Paul, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts who is helping the actors as a text and dialect coach. A Fulbright recipient and former resident company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Paul knows his Shakespeare.
“He keeps the actors’ focus on track and honest,” John said.
More than 40 cast and crew are involved in “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” which is the largest production John has directed to this point. His most recent projects were U of I’s productions of “True West” and “The Dumb Waiter,” both in the Forge Theater.
Article by Kelly O’Neill, Department of Theatre Arts
Published December 2018