Here's a charming, fantasy romp of fairies, elves, and sprites and their adventures--and misadventures--in love. And it's all happening at the same time of Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” The sprites of Shakespeare’s fairy kingdom are awaiting the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. The fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, should bless the upcoming wedding, but have been locked in a dispute over custody of an Indian changeling child for nearly two years. The sprites clamor to rekindle old flames and encourage new ones while making it their business to reunite the king and queen. This play is a fun opportunity for students to enjoy the comedy and energy of Shakespeare. It also can be staged as easily or lavishly as desired and still work its magic.
In this tight, well-plotted script, the action builds to almost farcical levels at some points. The interplay among all the characters is excellent, and there are plenty of scenes with only a few actors at a time, making it easy to rehearse segments without having to balance too many schedules. With a goal for inclusivity, some roles and associated friendships may fall outside of traditional norms. The representation of any such couple is done innocently, sweetly, and naturally. This play has rich themes of friendship, loyalty, allegiance, and of course, jealousy.
With Patti Veconi
What inspired you to write this play?
I’ve had a long fascination with the sprites who serve Titania and Oberon and thought it would be fun to track "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" with a behind-the-scenes companion story focusing on those characters who are most age-appropriate for young performers.
What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
My favorite lines are the ones that fall into verse in Act II, Scene 4 between Robin, Starling, Demetrius and Helena because it’s a moment that leans into the bridge between Shakespeare’s world in “Midsummer” and the one I created with “Forgeries.”
Tell us about the characters.
I love writing plays where the protagonist is an ensemble of characters and have never had so much fun creating a group of characters before. Shakespeare gives us five sprites in “Midsummer” by name – and another simply called “Fairy” – so I started with those ones and filled out the rest of the two camps that serve Titania and Oberon focusing on the rift between them. The theme of children caught in the crossfire when parents fight or are separated is pretty obvious throughout, but I think it reflects many situations where allegiances dictate who we can be friends with and where there is inherent tension. The fact that Titania and Oberon aren’t necessarily the best role models makes it even more about self-discovery in young adults.
What did you try to achieve with this play?
I wanted to speak to the universality of love and give everyone some place to connect with that theme. There are a lot of characters in different stages of readiness to experience love and do the work necessary for building a relationship of trust. All of them are okay and they all find support by the end of the play wherever they are in their individual journeys.
Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
Shakespeare used the words fairy, elf and sprite interchangeably and I found that very liberating when it came time to cast and develop this play. In its simplest breakdown, the fairies serve Titania and the elves serve Oberon, but they are all sprites and those distinctions can be as fluid and blurry and overlapping as the human condition allows.