Set Visit! Construction the stage for A Midsummer Night's Dream

If you happen to pass by Pinkney Park this week, you may notice that the A Midsummer Night's Dream set is coming together. With a little over one week to go until the opening night of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a crew lead by technical director Maya Robbins-Zust is working hard to set up the stage before the arrival of the actors and the beginning of the production. (The actors are rehearsing in New York City, and will only arrive at the park this Saturday to begin "tech week," or rehearsals on stage and in the park itself).

 Sneak peek at the set: a giant acorn lies next to the stage, waiting to be used.

Sneak peek at the set: a giant acorn lies next to the stage, waiting to be used.

Today I have a chance to go with producer Colin Liander to see how the construction in the park is going. As we pull in, I see piles of heavy black carrying crates stacked up by the road, next to bright orange wires which snake through the grass. Crew members climb up lighting rigs to plug in lights and wheel around loudspeakers on little dollies. In the "ampitheatre" of the park itself, the little valley where thousands of people will sit to watch the show in the upcoming several weeks, the hum of drills fills the air as the skeletal wooden framework of the stage is slowly constructed and filled in, becoming a multicolored, tiled floor. Athens, and the magical forest that surrounds it, is coming together before my eyes.

The set for the play is the brainchild of designer Brian Prather. It starts as a scale model about the size of a Lego set- small but intricately designed, with every detail mapped out, essentially a smaller mirror image of the actual set. Having seen the scale model for this year's production, I'm struck by how identical the one being constructed in the park looks.

The set design is sent to Maya, who then constructs it with her crew at a location in the Berkshires. They then disassemble it, pack it into a truck, and drive it to Pinkney Park, where it's reassembled (you may see their white truck parked on the side of the road by the park!). This, of course, isn't completely without problems: the set build in the park was delayed when the truck got trapped in traffic (oops!). Still, the build in the park is going smoothly, on track to be finished for this Friday- just in time for the actors to arrive.

 Potentially the best seat in the house for  A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Potentially the best seat in the house for A Midsummer Night's Dream.

This year stage is surrounded by four lighting rigs, two tarp tents (one with the lighting/soundboard for cues and lighting during the play, one for actor costume changes and the like), and many smaller setpieces, For those of you who have been to productions before, you may notice that the stage is oriented in a different direction than in previous years, with the back facing the water instead of the fence; this will pose unique challenges in terms of seating due to the changes in elevation of the park's natural hills. (For those of you who have been to the park, high- and low-backed chairs are usually placed on the slope leading down to the stage, but will have a different view of the stage due to its new orientation).

As we leave the crew as they prepare for possible incoming rain (the sensitive lighting and sound equipment will have to all be covered with tarps and trash bags), Colin tells me that the set will be gone almost immediately after the production. Maya's crew will begin disassembling it on the night of the final production, working at almost 11 in the night to break everything down. Just like Hippolyta's observation that "Four days will quickly steep themselves in night./Four nights will quickly dream away the time" in the play, A Midsummer Night's Dream's 4-week stint in Pinkney Park will be over before we know it, and it'll best if we enjoy it while it lasts.

A Midsummer Night's Dream opens on Thursday, June 14th and will run through July 1st, with no performances on Mondays. Please see our "Visit" tab for information about ticket sales and activities to do in and around the park!

Hello!

Hello there! My name is Julia, and I'm an intern with Shakespeare on the Sound. Having seen 5 SOS productions (my first was As You Like It in 2013, when I was in 7th grade!), I'm thrilled to be helping out backstage in the office and in the park! Shakespeare on the Sound has helped make me an avid lover of Shakespeare, and I hope all of you checking out this blog enjoy it, as well as Shakespeare on the Sound, as much as I do.

Anyways, welcome! I'll be using this blog to post some fun pictures, sneak peeks of A Midsummer Night's Dream, snippets of what happens behind the scenes of the production, interviews with members of the SOS crew, and other cool updates. Be sure to stay tuned!

A Midsummer Night's Dream opens next Thursday, June 14th and runs through July 1st, with no performances on Mondays. Be sure to check out the website for visiting and ticket information. Having been delighted by Shakespeare on the Sound every year, I'd highly encourage you to buy your tickets soon and enjoy a fantastic evening watching A Midsummer Night's Dream in the beautiful Pinkney Park!

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Five Reasons to Apprentice at SOS

1) Our company is smaller than most. As a result, our apprentices get up-close experience with all aspects of production.

2) We keep in touch with our apprentices, and many often come back to work with the company in some capacity. In fact, Joey Santia, our 2017 Hamlet, began as an acting apprentice. 

3)  By being a part of this professional production, you will grow as an artist. Master classes with theater professionals are available (and required) for apprentices in every department.

4)  We are just a short train ride to New York City, and you’ll receive a transportation stipend.

5)  Rowayton, CT is an idyllic spot to spend a few weeks in early summer – with fireflies in Pinkney Park and beautiful sunsets along the Five Mile River.

Interested? Here's a brief overview of the apprenticeships we offer! (Please visit the official link for complete job description and application requirements).

ARTS ADMINISTRATION: Will experience the many facets of arts administration including: marketing, education, box office, house management, and fundraising and development to name a few.

ACTING: We offer two types of acting apprenticeships: SOS Players and Mainstage.

  • SOS Players: A group of 4-5 actors will work with the Playwriting and Directing Apprentices to devise a 30-minute version of our summer production, appropriate for a young audience. The play will tour local schools and libraries and, once we are in production, be performed nightly as a pre-show at the park. Additionally, each actor will understudy a role in the mainstage production of Macbeth and be required to attend some mainstage rehearsals.
  • Mainstage: Mainstage Acting Apprentices will play small roles in our professional summer production.

COSTUME: Works directly with the costume designer and wardrobe supervisor. Duties include assisting the costume designer in pulling costumes, attending and assisting costume fittings, assisting in costume alterations, working with the wardrobe supervisor during the run of the show, and laundering the costumes nightly. Applicant should have sewing skills.

DIRECTING: Directs the Acting Apprentices' pre-show and assists the director of the mainstage production.

EDUCATION: Performs a wide array of educational duties throughout the apprenticeship. Responsibilities include creating and implementing summer camp curriculum, resulting in a 45-minute camp version of our mainstage production, as well as crafting study guides, and leading activities at the First Folio Kids Corner during the the run of the our mainstage show. Camps include our Groundlings summer camp (ages 7-9) and our Mainstage Jr. camp (ages 10-13)

PLAYWRITING: In collaboration with the Directing Apprentice and the SOS Players, writes a 30-minute version of our mainstage show appropriate for a young audience.

PRODUCTION: Will be designed around the successful candidate’s specific interest within the realm of technical theater. Opportunities include prop design, lighting design, sound design, set construction, production management, and producing.

STAGE MANAGEMENT: Assists our mainstage Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager, performing a myriad of duties - everything from keeping line notes to maintaining our rehearsal space in NYC.

*Please contact Claire Kelly at claire@shakespeareonthesound.org with any questions or concerns.

We look forward to seeing your applicatons!