School Version Introduction

The "School" version is the most deeply contextualised. In this, Puck and the fairies are schoolchildren with white wings sprouting from schoolbags on their backs (an exception is Cobweb, who is a school mistress). Desks are present throughout. At one point Puck is caned by a schoolmasterish Oberon. Quince calls the mechanicals to order with a school bell.

The relation of this context to the play emerges in a framing action. As the production opens, a "director" is seen pondering a miniature set (the model of the "school" stage layout). Two shadowy figures - his wife and daughter - are seen deserting him. The suggestion is of personal trauma mixed with a lack of creative inspiration.

Suddenly a winged schoolboy (Puck) appears. His dress is that of a schoolboy of the immediate postwar era. It is the director as a child. The child-self then leads the adult-self into the play, where the director becomes Oberon.

After this, the framing action re-emerges twice. In the interval between Oberon and Titania becoming Theseus and Hippolyta, they also take the forms of the director and his wife, with whom the director is now reunited (a figure representing his daughter also joins them). Then at the conclusion of Shakespeare's play, Oberon and Puck again become the director and his child-self, who now take final leave of each other.

The "School", then, is more than a setting in the spatial or social senses. It is a temporal and autobiographical setting. The descent into the world of the play represents a descent into the remembered past, the dreamed past, the intimate and yet public past - the lived and local past of Deguchi's Japanese audience. As the play progresses, many details of costume and costume-change serve to both focus the period setting, and enrich it.

Jump to School Version: Opening Frame sequence