From skirt ruffles made from newspaper bags to a mayonnaise jar turned hat, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream digs into the recycling bin for its fairy finery.
Seeing Climate Change In Shakespeare’s Text
The concept comes from a second act speech by Titania, the Fairy Queen. She’s arguing with her King, Oberon, and the ripple effects are catastrophic: rivers are flooding, corn is rotting in the field, and the seasons themselves are all out of whack. It’s a problem for everyone, not just the magical creatures:
“The human mortals want their winter here…
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.”
Artistic Director Denice Hicks saw a description of climate change in those lines. From that jumping off point, she decided to set this Midsummer right here, right now, complete with fairies that take a very contemporary approach to caring for nature: these woodland sprites recycle and repurpose everything they can–with the help of Costume Designer June Kingsbury.
Here’s a slideshow of some of the costumes: