James Kassees’ Second Week of Performances
We asked DSF’s Peter Quince, James Kassees, to share his thoughts on the second week of performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. James is a veteran of the Delaware theatre scene, with performances at Arden Shakespeare Gild, City Theater Company, OperaDelaware, and many others.We’re now into our final week of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with four more shows to do at Rockwood (that’s not counting our “tour” to the Freeman Stage near Fenwick Island on August 2). It’s been very gratifying to work with such a talented, dedicated cast and crew—and even more gratifying to experience the warm response from the audience.
Our visionary director David Stradley frequently exhorted us to create the largest world possible for our characters to inhabit (or something like that—he picked it up from larger-than-life literary critic Harold Bloom). David succeeded in communicating his singular (and ever-evolving) vision to the cast and crew, who in turn have worked very hard to present that unconventional world to the audience. It’s very cool to sketch out an idea, then put it perhaps shakily at first on its feet and finally present it to an audience, and it’s cool to experience the continual development of that idea—through discoveries and sometimes happy accidents—throughout the run of the show.
If hard work and talent are the frame and the canvas, imagination is the paint that gives this world vibrant, shimmering color. Imagination has colored every aspect of this production, from David’s concept to the set design by Christopher Haig (we’re embraced by hugs and kisses) to Amanda Wolff’s costumes, David Todaro’s lighting, Steve Manocchio’s sound, Alex Buckner’s dances and Tim Gallagher’s fight choreography. And that’s just to name a few of the immensely talented and imaginative people who have brought this show to life. It would take hundreds of words to begin to describe the depth and intelligence and wit of the actors—it’s truly a pleasure sharing a stage with them.
Yes, the weather has been a challenge. It’s disappointing to get halfway through a performance only to have all that creative energy derailed by lightning or rain. But the rewards have outweighed the bummers. My sincerest gratitude goes to everyone involved in this production, to David for this terrific opportunity, to our receptive audiences—some of whom are experiencing their first live Shakespeare and are surprised by how much fun it is—and to my patient and supportive wife Barb.