A mischievous they/them sprite comes to town

Puck is a mischievous fairy. In Shakespeare's 'Midsummer Night's Dream', they are the first of the main fairy characters to appear. Puck 'Shakespeare's mischievous sprite' loves playing pranks, such as replacing Nick Bottom's head with that of an ass.
Alexander Thatcher  |  Art & Culture
Ella Prince (they/them) plays Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

Love is in the air in Athens one midsummer night. A royal wedding is just days away, and there is a mischievous sprite called Puck who loves to cause mishaps and mayhem!

Ella Prince (they/them) chatted with FUSE about their character Puck in Bell Shakepears's latest play to hit the stage. But first a bit about Puck.

Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, is a magical, mischievous sprite and Oberon's attendant. Puck is often considered to be the most important character in the play. They serve Oberonand, in many ways, plays his 'fool' or jester.

Pucks cheeky nature and quick wit permeate their speech, creating an atmosphere of magic and fun throughout the play. Puck triggers the play's action through magic. This sprite plays pranks on the human characters, such as when they transform Bottom's head into that of a donkey. Puck also mistakenly pours love potion on the eyelids of Lysander instead of Demetrius, making the wrong man fall in love with Helena, causing great chaos.

FUSE: We hear you're playing Puck, Shakespeare's mischievous sprite, can you tell a bit about how Puck shapes the story?

ELLA: Puck is pure joy and mischief. They live in the present with the audience. Puck is your companion through every moment of mishap, mayhem and madness.

Puck is traditionally played as a male Fairy, and as usual, it's great to see Bell Shakespeare mess around with gender stereotypes. We love that! Can you tell us a bit about how you'll be portraying Puck?

My Puck has echoes of humanness, but only in their selective learning and mirroring of certain behaviours. They do have a human-like body, but they move in the quick and light. They are a fairy first: a shapeshifter and a shadow. Far more powerful than any gender might allow

What's your favourite line and scene?

One of my favourite lines is Bottom's, when he arises from a most transcendent and transformative dream (or waking)…

'The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was.' 

For me, these words perfectly render the experience of passing through worlds, as we do in the play and in life: and particularly when something profound and inexplicable occurs.

Ella Prince (they/them) plays Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

Do you think 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' has any parallels or lessons in today's modern world?

Absolutely. How love changes us - whatever that love may be. And how we see and feel differently in the pursuit of love. Conversely, how the pursuit of power can alter worlds, change seasons, and bring about great destruction. Also, life is tragic. If tragedy is the breathing in, comedy is the spluttering out. Our play is an accordion of the absurd. Yet weirder things may happen in real life.

Can you tell us how Bell Shakespeare's performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream differs from how it's traditionally performed?

We lean into the dark and malevolent as much as we embrace the ethereal and fragile. Our director, Peter Evans, has delicately observed the subtle threads between 3 distinct realms: of nobles, of fairies, and of mechanicals. There's a genuine question as to which of these worlds is real, and an openness to letting the audience find friendship with any of our characters. We play them all with heartfelt affection, and this care for their plight makes more tragic and hilarious the disastrous unfolding of events.

Great, and lastly, what you would you say to any of our readers who might be hesitant to come and see a Shakespeare play?

A Midsummer Night's Dream is both profound and ridiculous. Forget what you know about Shakespeare. Trust us to take you somewhere completely unexpected. 



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