Ciulei`s exploration of the comedy`s text focuses on the subjugation of women by men in Athenian society. This is made clear immediately, before a word of the play is spoken, when a black Hippolyta (Lorraine Toussaint), glaring defiantly and wearing a mannish haircut, is carefully stripped of her black leather Amazon`s uniform and re-adorned with a flowing white gown in preparation for her marriage to Theseus, duke of Athens (Gary Reineke). This rough male-female relationship is further stressed when Oberon, king of the fairies, forcefully presses the love potion into the eyes of Titania, producing a violent physical reaction from the sleeping queen.
Why did you feel the need to transcribe everything?
OK I'll give you an example; you've got the super alien from outer space, Overdog, being played by Michael Ironside in Spacehunter. So this guy is like the montage monster, he speaks one word at a time. And so in order to construct his sentences, I had to actually be able to hunt through and find and isolate these single words to put these sentences together, and that was one of the technique things that I was able to do through transcribing. When it was working, you know when it wasn't like going to the dentist, it did provide a meditative space. Because it was a research project as well, and I needed to familiarize myself with these films as films. And get inside them, get to know the performers, because one of the style things that I settled on was the use of composite characters. Character actors like Henry Ramer, Kate Lynch, Gary Reineke, people who are not household names, but who might have appeared in small roles in eight or ten films. And by creating composite characters, I was able to sort of promote these Canadian actors into lead-supporting roles.
Gary Reineke makes a strong and credible Duke, noble but human. And as his fussbudget Master of the Revels, Richard Oom makes his character a familiar bureaucrat afraid of upsetting his superior.