A Midsummer Night's Dream – Abbie-Lee Lewis On Her Role In The Bell Shakespeare Production

Published in Arts  
'A Midsummer Night's Dream' 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Iconic Shakespeare play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' will be reawakened in an enchanting new production from Bell Shakespeare.


From Director Peter Evans comes a fresh take on a classic Shakespearean comedy filled with magic, mirth and mayhem.

Love is in the air for multiple parties – it's fast, funny and a story for all ages – perfect for a family outing to the theatre.

From a meeting in a moonlit forest with the hidden company of fairies, to a rehearsal for a play set to be shown at a royal wedding, worlds collide and what ensues is an explosion of comic confusion. Lovers will be in jeopardy and chaos will reign.

Here, cast member Abbie-Lee Lewis, playing Hermia, tells us about the production, playing Redland Performing Arts Centre.

For those unfamiliar with this story, sum it up for us in your own words.
There are three storylines kind of happening all at the same time. Our play starts with a community group who wants to put on a play for the Duke who is about to get married. If their play gets picked to be performed in front of the Duke, they would basically become famous, so it’s kind of a big deal for them. There’s also the story of the lovers. They have a weird love square going on. They all end up in a forest and some stuff goes down. Then there is the third storyline which is the story of the fairy king and queen. They’ve been arguing and because they are powerful creatures, when they fight the weather goes nuts. They are arguing because the fairy queen has been looking after a human child and the fairy king also wants the human child. So, the fairy king decides to play a trick on the fairy queen with the help of his buddy Puck and Puck kinda gets a little excited and turns one of the actors in the community group into a donkey. Chaos erupts and it is hilarious.

Tell us a bit about your character.
My main character Hermia is a wealthy young woman; she's strong-willed, a tad rebellious, confident and a bit hot-tempered.

What will you be bringing to the role of Hermia?
When coming to the role of Hermia I really wanted to highlight her strength. Not just physically but also her mental strength. She is a woman that when told she can't do something, for example, marry the guy she loves, she questions it. She goes to court and asks why. I think that takes strength and courage. I also wanted to bring a type of ugliness to Hermia. I don’t mean visually but an ugliness to her character. She turns so quickly on her friend Helena and does some brutal things to her. So, I wanted to play her without shying away from that ugliness. I think this shows that Hermia is human, she is flawed.

Midsummer BrettBoardman
Image © Brett Boardman

As an actor, what’s the biggest challenge in playing a role in a Shakespeare play?
I think the biggest challenge coming to Shakespeare today is approaching it in a way that audiences today can relate to it. Trying to explore it with fresh eyes and not be influenced by what other productions have done.

And what’s your favourite quality about Hermia?
My favourite quality of Hermia is her courage.

Why do you think Shakespeare has endured for so many years, to this day?
I think people come back to Shakespeare because we enjoy interrogating his work. We can see parts of ourselves in his work but more so we like exploring and questioning his work. And by doing so we are also interrogating and questioning ourselves and the society we live in. Even as a Kalkadoon woman I see parts of myself represented in some of his characters and that is kind of mind-boggling because he was an English white male. How could he possibly write something that resonates with an Indigenous woman 400 years later?

Are there any messages in this show that you hope audiences can take away?
This play is quite lighthearted, but I think if there is a lesson to be learnt from this play it is that we as humans interpret information and process information differently and there is a danger of acting on that information without seeing the whole picture or receiving all the information.

What has been the highlight, so far, of being involved with this production?
The highlight for me so far working on this production is being able to work with such a wonderful group of people. Not just the cast but also the creatives, our rehearsal room was constantly full of joy and laughter. I also want to give a shout out to our behind-the-scenes team, they are so hard-working and delightful that it makes our jobs more enjoyable.

Lastly. . . What is your #1 go-to quarantine boredom killer tip?
My #1 boredom kill in quarantine… 'Witcher 3' on Nintendo Switch.

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' plays Redland Performing Arts Centre 18 September.

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