Lucy Ellinson has a dream of a role with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Blackpool as A Play for the Nation opens at the Grand Theatre.
She’s playing the most popular character in the play - give or take the occasional Bottom. Puck, who else?
Lucky Lucy admits: “I love it so much, he’s full of mischief, and the audience really connect with Puck because he’s getting told off by Oberon all the time. He’s almost child like so children love him too.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is styled A Play For the Nation and rightly so as the nation’s favourite play.
It’s presented by the RSC and Poulton Drama in association with the Grand Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday with matinees Thursday and Saturday as well as evening performances to reach the maximum audience.
It’s event theatre of the calibre audiences crave, a throw back to the theatre which established the Grand’s reputation, but the play is getting very different treatment on tour as 18 professional actors join forces with amateur dramatic groups across the land. Locally, Poulton Drama members are cast as Shakespeare’s Mechanicals and are also being featured, among others, in a BBC documentary. The Mechanicals create the most comedic, even ridiculous, moments in what’s become known as the play within the play. And this is the definitive play for Lucy and others. “It is a dream of a role in every sense,” she admits. “This is the play which turns so many onto Shakespeare. I remember seeing it as a kid and cackling all the way through it. Children get it on a level adults often miss. There are so many layers within it. It’s a very visual comedy, a lot of fight choreography and stage choreography going on.”
The production is set in the 1940s. “It’s a very exceptional production. We’ve got 583 school children performing on the tour and the minute they put on the costumes and make up that’s it. We just click and the chemistry happens. There will be about 67 people on the stage of the Grand at one point and the theatre is perfect for this play. It breaks down barriers.”
Lucy, who’s from North Wales, is looking forward to seeing something of Blackpool between matinees, evening shows - and rehearsals. “I was last here to see Radio Head but it would lovely to see the Tower, Funny Girls and Pleasure Beach. Either way, we’ll have a lovely time.”