Local vineyard backdrop for Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Filed under: In Our Community |

   Photo-9-Midsummer-Night's-DreamPhoto-3-Midsummer-Night's-Dreamby Shelbey Hernandez

When you go to see a play you would normally expect to be indoors. You would see a large stage with painted sets and lights set up before rows of auditorium-style seats.

But, for those who went to Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard over the weekend to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the setting was much different.

The cast and crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream used 15 actors, 15 microphones, one sound man, along with props and costumes, to put on its production using the outdoor environment of Cooper’s Hawk as the backdrop.

The play ran August 11 to 12 and August 18 to 21. The August 19 show alone played to a crowd of 100 people.

The Ghost Light Players is only about a year old, but this isn’t the first time it put on an outdoors production. In fact, its very first production was Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged at Cooper’s Hawk.Photo-8-Midsummer-Night's-Dream

A relationship was quickly formed between the production group and the vineyard. At Christmastime last year, the vineyard played host to the Ghost Light Players for a dramatic indoor reading.

Using the outdoors as a setting for your production has its risks. The weather for A Midsummer Night’s Dream cooperated, to a point. Unfortunately, Saturday’s show was cancelled due to heavy rain, but those who purchased tickets for that day were able to get either refunds or attend the Sunday show.

Although some play directors and producers would rather put on a play in a scene that is more controlled, Ghost Light Players has a very particular motto: create theatre, without fear.

“Some of the major pitfalls were that it’s really hot, so there’s always that kind of sweat action going on and then there’s always that ever present fear of the weather. It’s uncontrollable and we just have to put up with it every day,” Jeffery Bastien, the Artistic Director for the play, said. “On the other hand, there’s a great excitement about doing theatre outdoors. It offers a lot of opportunity and a lot of situations where we can find some new solutions to problems. So we’re becoming a much stronger company for doing something like this, going out of our comfort zone.”

Regardless of the rain showers during one performance, the play had plenty of good scenery. A meteor shower one evening, a rainbow during another performance, and a full moon during two of the evening performance made it all worth the risk.

Photo-7-Midsummer-Night's-DreamCooper’s Hawk Vineyard’s event Manager MaryAnn Perry pointed out that wineries are known for their art-related events. Wine and arts just “go together,” she said.

Perry agrees strongly with Bastien about the use of an outdoor setting making for a much more authentic production.

There is no need for as many soundtracks when all the sound effects are right there.

The crickets, the bull frogs, the setting sun, and even the bugs all play a part in setting the scene and making it romantic.

Aside from that, Perry said it’s just an all-around great event that managed to attract not only adults, but children and teenagers as well.

“I love it because we can offer so much,” Perry said. “They can make a reservation for lunch or dinner and have a beautiful meal and then just head over to the stage to watch the show. So there’s more than just coming here and seeing a theatre production. There’s wine tasting, there’s dining, we have a beautiful park-like setting, you can go for a stroll.

It’s just a great place for you to spend several hours, and people were even bringing their children to the play. If it’s a play that’s appropriate for children, we are seeing people bring their families.”

Perry said having plays at the vineyard will become regular. Bastien is already thinking up the next year’s play, but said anyone interested has to wait until the fall to find out.