Our new outdoor play for Summer 2018!
Oberon’s Cure will tour nightly (Wednesday to Sunday) to fifty-one outdoor venues (village greens, recreation grounds, pub fields, school fields and gardens) across the South of England from Devon to Kent from Saturday 2nd June to Sunday 12th August. First night will be at a new village for us, Harrietsham (on the Booth Field) in North Kent, not all that far from Maidstone, and the final night will be as usual at Michelham Priory, near Hailsham, East Sussex. See the full list soon by clicking on ‘Book tickets’.
About the play
Oberon’s Cure’ is based on Titania’s accusation in Act Two, Scene 1 of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ that her husband Oberon has had an affair with ‘this bouncing Amazon’, Hippolyta, and is therefore an imagined prequel to Shakespeare’s play. It is basically about an old man who is not capable of resisting a beautiful young woman. Now when hasn’t that been in the news recently! But he is made to look ridiculous by his inadequacy – and the foolish lack of self-awareness makes him into a sad, pathetic individual. But there is forgiveness, too, as Titania teaches him a lesson and appeals to him to grow old gracefully (with her and not be always chasing after girls). But do we want to grow old gracefully? It is an old story, which people will recognise and laugh at because of its familiarity. There are things to admire too: Hippolyta’s wiliness as she wraps Oberon round her little finger and Briony’s child-like, innocent, but tough, determination to work out the confusion of life and emerge as a young woman. ‘Oberon’s Cure’ is a new version of ‘The Fairy Queen’, which was created by us in 2005, but updated and re-written with a brand new score and design.
The impossibly handsome Captain Theseus (really Prince of Athens in disguise) has plucked the ravishing Hippolyta from the front lines of the formidable Amazonian forces entrenched in Attica and has with the assistance of his corporal, Flatulo, dragged her (bound hand and foot) into a forest near Athens. Through cunning and brute force she escapes only to encounter an ageing Oberon, King of the Fairies, who tries unsuccessfully to seduce her despite his increasingly diminished returns in the seduction department.
Theseus meanwhile has given chase, but is soon diverted by his own encounter with Titania, Oberon’s much younger wife. Theseus is immediately enchanted. To protect her own identity as Queen of the Fairies, however, Titania allows him to think her name is Mrs Cloudberry, actually the name of the poor swineherd Jeremy’s sow. The innocent changeling Briony, Oberon’s ward and Jeremy’s sweetheart, thinks that Mrs Cloudberry’s heart has been won by a human and Mr Cloudberry’s inability to ‘play with’ her must be because he’s pining. Confusion and chaos spreads.
Dr Dropwart, already called upon to deal with Mr Cloudberry’s own problems in the seduction department, is asked by Oberon to find a potion which will make him irresistible to Hippolyta. Oberon discovers, however, that he has bitten off much more than he can chew with the Amazonian queen when she demands of him to bring her in turn blackbirds to sing to her, the moon to light her way through the forest and finally Titania’s crown. Willoughby and Mother Sneezewort, servants to Oberon and Titania respectively, make sure that the blustering and incompetent doctor’s potions cause the maximum of chaos with almost everyone in the forest being affected at some point or other. Even the unfortunately afflicted Flatulo finds love only for it to be snatched away again by the ultimately unassailable barrier between human and fairy worlds. All things lead to the Midsummer moon where revelations and vows are made, lovers meet, and just deserts are served.
Advice & conditions
|Picnics – The site will be open one & a half hours before the start for picnics. Large picnic tables or gazebos will not be allowed in the arena, except by special arrangement. Ring 01323-50-12-60
|Seating – Seating is not provided. Bring your own low backed seats or rugs. Tall chairs are not permitted. You will be asked to move picnics that are spread out so that seats can be brought into lines 20 minutes before the show is due to start. You may be asked to move your seats if the arena gets full to aid compaction. In our experience we believe our customers get more out of our shows by sitting close together & as close to the front as possible.
|Movement around the area – This is a sit down event. Do not let children run around & try to make loo runs in the interval.
|Cancellation – We will continue in light rain. If the performance has to be called off in the event of heavy rain or for other reasons beyond our control refunds may be claimed by emailing the Box Office (firstname.lastname@example.org). As we are on the road for most of the summer it may take a few days. But note: This does not apply to The Gilbert White House in Selborne, where there will be no refunds. However, customers can transfer for free to any other venue. In fact, for any performance that is interrupted by rain customers may see the show again for free. Email us to re-book. Don’t do it online.
|Umbrellas – Umbrellas must not be raised in the arena while the play is in progress, unless you are sitting at the back or round the perimeter. If it gets so bad that it is uncomfortable we will stop. Umbrellas restrict people’s view.
|Children – Note that our shows are aimed at adults. However, many children do like them and for that reason we do offer child and family rates, but it is for parents to judge whether their children are likely to enjoy it. One key question is: Are they likely to sit quietly for two hours or so? If the answer is no then you probably shouldn’t bring them. Some parents bring…
Babies and small toddlers – We want children to be initiated young, but it is not a children’s show where ‘child noise’ is tolerated, so please do not bring babies and toddlers. Please use your judgment for children say between 3 & 7. Ring us for advice if you are unsure.
Dogs – We are happy to have quiet dogs, but if they start barking they must be taken out.
|Smoking – No form of smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is permitted within the audience area. Please leave the area if you wish to smoke.
New theatre inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte
The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company has been creating original theatre inspired by the traditions and style of the Commedia dell’Arte since 1999. We work outdoors in the summer months mainly in villages and also a few towns across Southern England from Kent to Devon creating strong relationships with communities. We believe in the power of storytelling to bring communities together, giving a reason for people to be together and share in an experience which stimulates the mind, heals through laughter, and educates through thought-provoking subject-matter. Although our style is rooted in a genre which is hundreds of years old the stories always reflect what matters to people now. We also tour indoors occasionally in the winter and it is our aim to do more of this in the future.
Click on the following to read about Pete’s current thoughts about our work.