Romance and comedy with a dash of dark undertones in staging of Shakespearean classic

Published:07 August 2018

TOP: CQCM students (from left) Chanelle Regwell, Mikeal Bobart, Sarah Dunn, Jackson Wecker, Samantha Attard and Mikaela Small tackle The Lovers scene of the upcoming production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. SECOND: Mikaela Small (left) and Chanelle Redgwell (right) collectively play the role of Puck – the right-hand man of Oberon, played by Jeremy Adams. THIRD: Esteemed Director Luke Rogers has reproduced the Shakespeare classic – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – for CQUniversity’s CQCM students to perform. FOURTH: CQCM students Samantha Attard and Connor Scoble are thrilled to be working with director Luke Rogers. BELOW: Bachelor of Theatre (Tech) students Leia Ruthenberg and Stuart Read are working hard behind the scenes to make the production a reality.

Esteemed theatre director, actor and producer, Luke Rogers will leave his professional mark on Mackay with an expert execution of CQUniversity’s latest Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music (CQCM) production.

“This play – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – is about opposites: night and day; order and chaos; repression and liberation; reality and magic,” Luke explains.

“It’s filled with feuding couples, mischievous supernaturals, teenagers rebelling against their parents and a group of wannabe superstars.

“It’s a romantic comedy, but there are a lot of dark undertones within which we are exploring and unlocking some of the subversive possibilities the play offers.”

In a unique twist, Luke’s reproduction of this Shakespeare classic sees the main character, Puck, played by not one – but two – female actresses (Chanelle Redgwell and Mikaela Small) who will represent the two sides to Puck’s psyche.

“Additionally, the character of Lysander, originally a handsome man from Athens, will be reimagined as a woman involved in a same-sex relationship (played by Mikeal Bobart).

“This is the ultimate tale of adolescent love, sexual awakening, defiance and finding yourself; it’s about fighting for the right to love who we want to love,” Luke said.

Luke’s directing credits include In Real Life (Darlinghurst Theatre Company), Blink, MinusOneSister, Fireface, The Last Five Years, and The Carnivores (Stories Like These); and he has previously worked as a resident artist with Griffin Theatre Company.

Bachelor of Theatre (Music Theatre) student Samantha Attard described Luke’s reproduction of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as ‘eye-opening and refreshing’.

Samantha plays the role of Helena – a determined young woman fighting for the love of a man (Demetrius) who has his eyes set on her childhood friend (Hermia).

“Often Helena is perceived as ‘crazy’; however, I have discovered in rehearsals with our director Luke that Helena’s speech and actions are simply a reflection of how deeply and strongly she feels,” she said.

“There is so much more to Helena than what may initially meet the eye; this has been an incredible learning experience.”

Bachelor of Theatre (Drama) student Connor Scoble is equally grateful for Luke’s expertise.

Cast in the role of Bottom – an ambitious, optimistic hard worker with a passion for the theatre who dreams of becoming a well-beloved performer – Connor has reportedly “thoroughly enjoyed learning how to incorporate some physical comedy into his role to emphasise the text”.

“The last scene (where the Mechanicals play) is one of the most enjoyable scenes I’ve ever acted in before,” he added.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be on show at CQCM at CQUni Mackay’s Ooralea Campus (Boundary Road) from 9-12 August. For performance times and bookings, visit the CQCM website.

Please Note: This production contains sexual references which may be inappropriate for younger audiences.