There have been many renditions of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but none quite like Benjamin Britten’s version. Game of Thrones actor Miltos Yerolemou, who plays Puck in the show, will be hitting the stage in the City of Brotherly Love for the production just in time for Philly Theatre Week. Miltos chatted with Metro about his character, what to expect from the show overall and why setting the story to music made it even more special.
GoT star Miltos Yerolemou hits the stage in Philly with Opera Philadelphia’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
There have been many renditions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, what sets Benjamin Britten’s version apart from others that have been done before?
Miltos Yerolemou: The fact that it’s an opera is really interesting, and the fact that its set to some amazing music. Benjamin Britten, his music is very evocative of the magic and mystery of what the play is about- about people being locked in a forest and going through some kind of transformation that I think makes it’s very special, and the fact that it’s been enacted in such a way that I think it heightens the drama of the play.
What can you tell me about your character, Puck?
Miltos Yerolemou: Well, Puck has been played even in the opera in many different ways. The Peter Hall production- which is quite an old production like this one, it goes back 25 years- has Puck as a little boy actually played by a very young boy and that works fantastically well. However, in our production, he’s played by a middle-aged man. You see the fairies, all the fairies, they are little tiny men with mustaches and slicked back hair looking like butlers- they are all pristine and immaculate looking. Then you see Puck who is not like that anymore and has kind of gone to sleep and is much older and outgrown his costume and kind of looks a bit like a down and out because he basically got old. But because of the argument, he suddenly comes into his own. So he’s very different to the way that a lot of productions have him, which is as a youthful kind of spirit. In this, he tries too hard and he gets to do some amazing stunts- but yeah, it’s a very different take and a very funny one I say.
Do you have a specific scene or part in the show that is your personal favorite?
Miltos Yerolemou: I love watching while I’m up on stage the lover’s fight. That’s always fantastic. You have these four amazing opera singers, and I don’t know how they’re doing this, singing this four-part complicated piece of music while jumping on each other and beating each other up. Which is kind of just as a technique pretty amazing to see, but it’s also very entertaining.
What can the people of Philadelphia expect from the show overall?
Miltos Yerolemou: When I joined in this production many years ago I had never been to the opera and I never thought that the opera was really my kind of thing. Being just a straight actor, you don’t often get the chance to be in an opera production. The work that we kind of do usually is very, very different. But there’s something about seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an opera; I think it’s funnier, I think its more interesting- the design is beautiful which is really magical. But I think people don’t ever expect how entertaining it is and how engaging and funny. I think its one of the funniest version’s of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in so many different versions and this is pretty much one of my favorites. The reason why it’s been revived for over 25 years is because it was a real game changer when it was first created. It’s active, it’s very engaging, very immediate-unlike what opera used to be which is, you know, you just get a fantastic script and someone onstage delivering an aria. Our production is not like that, it’s very dynamic.
Opera Philadelphia is located at 1420 Locust St., Philadelphia. For more information and tickets visit operaphila.org and todaytix.com for the Theatre Week discount.