VICTORIA, B.C. — Escape the winter chill this month in A Midsummer Night’s Dream presented by the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA). Barbara Poggemiller directs the students in Shakespeare’s evocative moonlit adventure.
Get lost in the woods with Shakespeare’s collection of mythic characters, confused lovers, and a travelling actor troupe that may miss a joke but never misses a beat. Queen of the Fairies Titania and her King Oberon come to the woods to celebrate their marriage – a relationship that is in complete conflict. So begins an evening of chaos wrought from the power struggle between partners that creates havoc in the natural world.
“Because of the conflict between Titania and Oberon the planet is suffering,” says Poggemiller, “the way our planet is suffering now.” Poggemiller notes today’s parallel of altering seasons and the infected element of the earth. “We’re working with a story that resonates here and now to help the students find that sense of personal investment and emotionally charge it with life and meaning.”
Poggemiller is playing the dual role of Director and teacher. She instructs the students in Acting and Inner Space. While directing is restricted to rehearsals, Poggemiller has been using the class time to explore text in different ways.
“We use the text as an element of storytelling to make it come to life in terms of physicality as well as words. This is a play full of vitality, physicality, and emotion, and then the beautiful language too. We’re using the class time to invest in the physicality of the realm of the fairies and the kind of supernatural element of dream.”
Poggemiller has been working in Canadian theatre for over 30 years and continues to return to CCPA for the pleasure of working with the students. “It’s wonderful to be able to work with people who have the skills that these students have. They work easily in movement, in dance, in music, and bring all of those skills and more into whatever production you’re doing.”
For example, one fiddler in the cast has rearranged an old Celtic tune to incorporate into the production. The other students will join her in the harmony she’s composed. “Those kind of things don’t happen everywhere,” says Poggemiller, “The level of talent, the variety of talent, that these students have — that’s a rare and wonderful thing.”
The cast is composed of CCPA’s Enriched Performing Arts Diploma Year II students and Performing Arts Certificate student Rebecca Thackray. The UVic grad came to CCPA with her BMus, Major in Vocal Performance, to study the full complement of disciplines in performing arts. The one-year program, designed for working professionals or those that have completed a relevant post-secondary program, is customized just for her.
What: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Who: Canadian College of Performing Arts
When: Dec. 14 to 16, evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Where: CCPA Performance Hall, 1701 Elgin Rd, Victoria
Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors, and $16 for students and CCPA alumni. Please contact the Box Office at 250-595-9970 ext. 222, online at ccpacanada.com/tickets, or in person at 1701 Elgin Rd.
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