As DSF gets ready to celebrate its Tenth Anniversary, we take a look back at how one of Delaware’s favorite summer traditions got its start. Each month until this year’s Festival, we’ll hear the memories of a participant in the inaugural production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (2003).
Nancy B. Lynch – DSF Board Chair
Mostly I remember it was magical. I took my teenaged daughter (who later studied acting in college and served apprenticeships with DSF for two summers). We were greeted by a charming gentleman who helped us find just the right spot for our low beach chairs and offered us complimentary insect repellent. A year or so later I learned the gentleman was Bob Cahill, father of the founding Artistic Director, Molly Cahill Govern, and who went on to serve on the DSF Board of Directors and as Head Usher for nine years.
As we settled into our picnic dinner of subs and sodas, I looked around the audience and realized I knew almost everyone there. I don’t remember how I learned about this performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I guess the word had spread through the theatre community in Delaware and it was the place to be. Maybe I heard about it from a former student who was then in a BFA acting program at NYU and was playing one of the fairies.
The performance was lovely. The night was comfortable and we could see the stars through Archmere’s trees under which the stage was set. I knew the play well, having directed a student production of it a few years before, but I remember how fun it was to see how different the look and feel of this production was, outdoors where it should be.
When the “curtain” fell – all too soon since I would have enjoyed sitting there watching Shakespeare for hours and hours – Head Usher Cahill guided the small but appreciative crowd to the parking lot, lighting our way with flashlights.
What’s amazing to me is that in 10 years we’ve grown technically, artistically and in audience numbers, but each year DSF manages to recreate that intimate magical atmosphere I loved at the very first performance.