ProjectsDesign and Illustration – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2001) Costume Design

A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Athens, Ohio

An unfamiliar setting with skewed names was proposed by Jan Brown Checco for a staging of the popular Shakespearian comedy.

Setting: an unseasonably warm month of April 2005; Southeastern Ohio, in and around the residential/civic “Woodlands Compound” development just outside of Athens, Ohio.

We find ourselves in a triumvirate environment – Aberant/Oberon rules a post-apocalyptic tropical Eden which is restoring itself after a nearby nuclear accident (as described by Titanium in Act 2, Scene 1). Thesis/Thesus is chief in a Disneyesque upperclass compound sited in the suburban/rural outskirts of the Ohio University campus. L’Opposita/Hippoleta and Titanium/Titania are fronting a formidable gender revolution, weary of being dominated by the ways of their menfolk. Some of the pre-existing life forms and politics of the region persist, but the players and their processes are to be forever changed…

The “civil/corporate” power structure, still genetically intact, is intent on keeping up appearances and exhibits bombastic over-compensation. Too cheerful in their focus on the next party to be planned, they narrowly escaped death or mutation by hiding in the Civil Defense fallout shelters of their mid-century office buildings.

Their blue collar workers are just content to have escaped the nuclear rain – and to be employed. They were sheltered in Peter Squint’s subterranean boiler room office, where they had been gathered for a late afternoon round of cold beers and poetry readings – Peter’s and Nick’s latest musings. These good fellows would have liked to attend the university that employs them, but for their low high school GPAs and complete lack of time management skills.

The “fairies” – the pol’s euphemism for the genetically-altered Green Party (who were living outdoors in rural wind and solar powered communes at the time of the “little mishap”) have – ironically- developed characteristics of their PETA-protected and rainforest friends. Mutated into a variety of superior species with superhuman talents – leaping higher, running faster, prowling, stalking, sniffing, stalking and seducing with abilities to kill– the Green’s revenge is instead expressed by troubling the lives of the self-exhalted conservatives. (Really, has there ever been a liberal who could actually kill anyone?)

This is just one of the stories in the “naked” post-nuclear city of Athens…