Gary Griffin and the fictional music of The Mechanicals

March 9, 2012

Listen to Gary Griffin talk with Tony Sarabia 

Gary Griffin, associate artistic director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, is the director of the production A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Friday on Eight Forty-Eight he explained his take on The Bard's comedy classic. He was joined by The Mechanicals, the fictitious musical theater troupe from the play who provide constant levity, during the play-within-a-play they perform at the end of Midsummer Night's Dream, "Pryamus and Thisbe"They also benefit from the idiocy of Nick Bottom (the gentleman with a beard in these photos, played by Ron Orbach), who turned into a donkey and the fairy queen falls in love with him. Trust Shakespeare, he knew what he was doing.

"I was influenced by bringing the spirit of Freud into the play," Griffin told Tony Sarabia. While that might not sound like the most obvious connection with a work of Shakespeare, Freud's thoughts about dreams prompted Griffin to add touches of the 1920s to this particular production -- and Freud himself. Listen to a bit of The Mechnicals performing on Eight Forty-Eight, and then see the play and tell us if it all works.

(From left to right: Richard Manera as Snug the joiner,  Levenix Riddle as Flute, Ron Orbach as Nick Bottom, Tim Kazurinsky as Peter Quince, Rod Thomas as Starveling and Michael Aaron Lindner as Tom Snout.)