It’s been really difficult to get any parts at all these last few months, even auditions, so I was thrilled when they offered me Titania. In my enthusiasm, though, it didn’t register that only an outdoor production would be allowed this summer. Haven’t they heard of hay fever?!
The directors soon found a bank that provided the whole lot – oxlips, nodding violets and the rest. They had obviously never tried lying down on a bed of wild thyme. The stems aren’t called woody for nothing. By the end of the first rehearsal my legs were positively pitted with indentations. As for the luscious woodbine that’s entwined itself around the eglantine, it may seem heavenly on first sniff, but after spending all those hours under a massive canopy of the stuff, its pungent thick scent doesn’t half cling to you for hours afterwards.
On the day of the first performance the pollen count was sky high and I had a nose as red and inflamed as Bardolph, the guy in that other play, and a throat that felt as hairy as Bottom’s… well, bottom, in his donkey incarnation of course. My lines sounded more like those of the Macbeth witches than a graceful queen of fairies.
As for Oberon, I am unfortunately married to him in real life too. I am getting heartily sick of him regaling to Lysander and Demetrius in the bar after the performance how good it is to have me under his spell for once, even if it is potion-induced. Never has a truer word been said than in Act 2, when I say the line “I have forsworn his bed and company”. In fact, if this carries on, it may truly be that death does indeed us part, much sooner than he imagined. Let’s just say that whilst a fairy queen might relish a sip of that woodbine’s sweet nectar, the king might find a honeysuckle berry pie less palatable!
Never mind, for now the play must go on, so I will fold in the fairy wings, lie back, and prepare to kiss a donkey.