is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Director Adam Luckey Wakes Up A Midsummer Night's Dream With Edits and Energy can always be fresh and new because of what the actors bring to the language. This is what is brilliant about Shakespeare..."   Adam Luckey, Artistic Director , A Midsummer Night's Dream 

The first sample of SummerFest's offerings opens this Wednesday at the Arboretum when A Midsummer Night's Dream under the direction of Adam Luckey will bring to stage some of Lexington's finest actors and talent for William Shakespeare's fantasy of fancy.  Prepare for incredible visual scenes and enchanting characters, and don't prepare for a marathon of theatre, because the work has been plucked a bit in the interest of ... well, interest.  

So I asked Luckey what makes this version of Shakespeare's classic unique and enticing to folks.  "Simply put," he said, "I wanted this production to be a clear, concise, well told story. I have judiciously cut the play to run right under a brisk two hours. In this production the plots (there are 5, I think) are clearly mapped out and all are played with energy and excitement."

He believes this will move the play along well for the Arboretum audience.  "Best of all, the language is clear.  Actors truly understand (can therefore feel) the words that their characters are saying ... and therefore will the audience. There is no need for a Shakespearean Dictionary or Archaic Book of Puns or anything like that. I wanted a story that was easy to follow with wonderful images and looks and feels to it and I really think we have achieved that through a lot of hard work and a lot of opportunities for rest, recovery, and recuperation. It was a slow and steady rehearsal process but my actors earn their days off, had plenty of them, and came in prepared and ready to try new things that they discovered on their own and on their own time. That is what has made this process and production a true ensemble piece because the actors are always thinking of strong and new ways to engage and connect."

"This play is over 400 years old and has been performed triple that amount and then some but it can always be fresh and new because of what the actors bring to the language. This is what is brilliant about Shakespeare. And that is why I would love to perform Shakespeare 50 weeks out of the year and never get tired of it." 

The one, the only
Bianca Spriggs.

The decision for Luckey to direct the piece began just a few months ago.  "I proposed the question to about directing this show to the Artistic Director in February or early April, I think. We had a talk or two and then I was told to get moving on the project. Once I got the green light, I dove right into the Midsummer forest and haven't gotten out yet."

With everyone working so hard on such a project, it's rarely expected the director will allow actors to skip or arrive late to rehearsal, but Luckey advises he did allow one actor some time to follow a proud family occasion.  "I let our Lysander come late to rehearsal and also got his scenes done early so that he could watch his sister in the Qualifying Rounds for the Olympics on television. (She is Kelsey Floyd, the swimmer who went to Tates Creek and was one of USA's top Butterflyers. I think she missed the Olympic team by one swimmer.)"  

Ryan Case and Adam Luckey

With star-studded casts, SummerFest brings familiar faces that breathe new life into classic works year after year.  In every show, however, there is a scene-stealer, someone whose voice and actions simply dazzle the audience and from whose presence you dare not look away.  I call them the "velcro" characters.  Adam speaks about one who stole the show at last year's  Shakespeare production at the arboretum...and it is not surprising she'll be back to bring her brilliance to another role in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  "Well, Bianca Spriggs, the wonderful poet and writer is our Titania. The way she speaks Shakespeare's language will melt your heart. Although everyone is doing well in that department, really," he adds.

The multi-talented Luckey has also composed the majority of the music used in the show as soundtrack and underscore. "Two other original tunes that we are using were written by the Conservatory students. One by Sarah Webb and the other by Cameron Taylor."

He is also pleased with the wardrobe underpinnings of the production, and says, "Kirsten Aurelius has outdone herself with these costumes. I can't wait to see them under the lights."

"I can't wait to see ALL OF IT under the lights, under the stars. A magical midsummer night indeed!" exclaims Luckey.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Sponsored by: Morgan Worldwide & TopsinLEX

Directed by Adam Luckey

July 11 - 15, 2012

Gate: 7:00pm, Show: 8:45pm


Lysander loves Hermia and Hermia loves Lysander, but Demetrius also loves Hermia and his former sweetheart Helena still loves him. When the runaway lovers seek shelter in the forest outside Athens, they wind up smack in the middle of the turf of Oberon and Tatiana, the wrangling King and Queen of the Fairies. Oberon tries to help the poor humans with a love potion, but his henchman Puck fumbles it: all humans look pretty much alike so he doses the wrong man and all heck breaks loose. Add a bumbling band of would-be actors trying to find a quiet place to rehearse, an unlikely romance between Tatiana Queen and a guy with unusually long, hairy ears, and a wild moonlight chase through the mysterious forest – will things get sorted out in time for the big royal wedding back in Athens? Come join us and find out!

Cast & Crew

Director: Adam Luckey
Stage Manager: Ashley Gott
Set Design: Dathan Powell
Lighting Design: Danny Bowling
Costume Design: Kirsten Aurelius
Props: Barbara Clifton
Props Assistant: Peggy Watts
Additional Sound Design: Andrew Connerley

Original Music Composed by: Adam Luckey
Additional Music by: Pam Welsh-Huggins & KCT Music Composition Students

Theseus: Dmetrius Conley-Williams
Hippolyta: Sarah Humble
Lysander: Chris Floyd
Hermia: Kim Dixon
Egeus: Tim Soulis
Demetrius: William Drane
Helena: Meredith Crutcher
Philostrate: Mark Smith
Quince: Jacob Karnes
Bottom: Eric Seale
Flute: Cameron Taylor
Snug: John Stith
Snout: Clayton Winstead
Starveling: Gareth Evans
Oberon: Matt Seckman
Titania: Bianca Spriggs
Puck: Joe Fields-Elswick
Boy: Jackson Becker

Harper Toney
Tynesea Watts
Sarah Webb
Brianna Mayo
Jonah Robinson
Melissa Anderson
Julie Wilson

SummerFest's Kim Dixon 

I'm excited to see this show for a number of reasons, perhaps the foremost one is that I've never seen a show Adam Luckey has directed.  I've seen him dance and sing on stage with my nephew in Actors Guild's MY WAY years ago, I've watched him wrestle with Bob Singleton and other such fabulous actor types during the JEKYLL & HYDE production for SummerFest, I've seen him in television commercials and if I was, erm, lucky, I'd have seen him singing and playing music with his band, We Play Music (see photo, right)  -- that'll happen soon, I hope, when his musical schedule allows, after he's wrapped up A Midsummer Night's Dream, just about a week from tomorrow, believe it or not!  

More to come about SummerFest and news bits as they are divulged to me.  I want to thank Adam for taking time to give me a few scoops on Lexington'ls best outdoor on-stage ballin-ass July experience, the glorious and splendid July event known as SummerFest.  

Bring a blanket, bug spray galore, and all the food and wine you can consume in a few hours (you'll be so glad you did).  Go crazy. Get happy.  Get thee to the arboretum.  
See you there!

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