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A Midsummer Night's Dream
Transcript of A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
The exact date of Shakespeare's birth is unknown, but it is assumed to be on April 23rd, 1564. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, England to John and Mary Shakespeare. Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564 at the Holy Trinity Church. After this point little is known about his childhood. Which is why this time period is often reffered to as the "lost years".
On November 28th, 1582 eighteen year old Shakespeare married twenty-six year old Anne Hathaway. Six months after their marriage, on May 26th 1583, Anne gave birth to their first child Susanna. Two years later Anne gives birth to twins, Hamnet and Judith Shakespeare. One year after the birth of the twins, the Shakespeares move to London.
Shakespeare's Successful Life
In 1595 Shakespeare was named as one of the senior members of the Lord Chamberlain's Men (an acting company that performed frequently before the court). In the year 1596 Shakespeare is granted a "Coat of Arms" which awards him the title of gentlemen. This also happens to be the year his son Hamnet dies. In 1597 Shakespeare, now a wealthy playwright and poet, purchases New Palace (the second largest house in Stratford). In 1598 Francis Meres publishes an exceptional review of Shakespeare's work, which further expands his fame. This is also the time when the Globe Theatre is established, this is where a majority of Shakespeare's plays will be performed. In 1611 Shakespeare retired from his profession as a playwright and poet. Four years later, in 1616 Shakespeare would die at the age of 52.
Shakespeare's Writing Periods
Love's Labour's Lost
The Two Gentlemen
The Taming of
Romeo and Juliet
The Merchant of Venice
*A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado about Nothing
The Merry Wives of Windsor
All's Well That
Antony and Cleopatra
The Winter's Tale
• Also known as the Shakespeare Globe
• It is a three story, 3000 capacity
• Owners of the building are William Shakespeare
J and R Burbage, G Byran, John Hemminges, Augustine Phillips, Thomas Pope, and Will Sly.
• Reason why they open was because they had
nowhere else to readily perform their plays.
1.) Their rivals “The Admiral’s Men” had already had the Rose Playhouse to perform their plays
• James and Richard Burbage of the Lord
Chamberlain’s men had money, it wasn’t still enough
1.) They ended coming up with an idea.
a.) James and Richard split 25% and 25%
b.)The rest of the men would chip in the remaining 50%
• They split them 12.5%
1.)Will Kemp another member backed out
• It opened in 1599 after it was completed
1.) It could hold 300 patrons
2.)The made money by the ticket sales and hiring out
Elizabethan Era Costumes
Clothes Worn by Actors:
Stockings or Hose
Smock or Shift, also called a chemise made of Line
People who lived in the Elizabethan Era were not allowed to wear whatever they liked. It didn’t matter if you were wealthy or not. The fabric and even the of their clothes were known by their rank, status or position. They were strict rules enforced by British Law. These laws were called Sumptuary Laws.
During the Elizabethan Era only men were allowed to act in the theatre until 1660. Young boys were hired in the female roles because of their high pitch voice
Shakespeare Stage Props
Parts of the Stage
• Upper Stage- used in scenes such as Juliet’s balcony
• Twopenny Gallery- payment of an extra penny member if the audience to the Galleries. It covered them from them from the rain and benches for them to sit on.
• Within- discovery scenes
• The Orchestra- beside the stage. They may have been the "gentlemen's rooms" sometimes referred to in the period.
• The Heavens- above the stage
• The Swan- supports the heaven
Summary of A Midsummer Night's Dream
Two mythological figures, Thesueus and Hippolyta are about to be wed. In the woods outside Theseus, Athens two young men and women first form a love triangle and then another until finally sorting themselves into two separate couples. In the woods the Queen and King of fairyland fight over custody over an orphan boy. King Oberon makes Queen Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom who's head has been transformed into a donkey's by the hobgoblin Robin Goodfellow. Lastly Bottom nd his companions stage the tragedy of "Pyramus and Thisbe".
Top Layer Plot
Though Oberon and Titania seem to appropriately be the top layer of the story they squabble in an all too human way. Still they have a profound influence over the human world. Their actions influence the very seasons of the year. Their arguments have changed the world in the way that nature influences human microcosm. Puck seems to have less power and is no more than a mischief maker.
Top Human Layer of Plot
Theseus and Hippolyta, though the top of the mortal hierarchy play a minor part in the comedy. They hunt, celebrate the midsummer's festival, and get married. But like Oberon, Theseus seems to be concerned with maintaining male supremacy. He tells Hippolyta the Amazonian women that he wooed her with his sword.
Middle Layer of Plot
Shakespeare has created two sub-layers, Roman and Romantic nd used them in his recipe for comedy. Two young lovers hindered in their love by the rusty old man, and they plot to escape his tyranny. Demetrius and Helena and the invention of the love juice is more in the tradition of a romantic comedy.
Bottom Layer of Plot
Those on the bottom (least important) of the play would be those characters who are workmen and tradesmen. Bottom the weaver is part of this class himself.
The Motif of Love
Theseus is the king of Athens
Played by Richard Burbage in original play.
Played by David Strathairn in 1999 version.
Former Queen of the Amazon who was defeated by Theseus. Played by Sophie Marceau in the 1999 version. Sophie is a French actress who has played a variety of roles but never one in such a traditional story.
Father to Hermia, he tries to keep his daughter from marrying Lysander. Played by Bernard Hill in the 1999 version. Bernard is a British actor who is known for acting as a "hard man."
Lysander is Hermia's lover, who had been accidentally drugged to love Helena . Played by Dominic West in the 1999 version. Dominic is a British actor who is known for playing roles as ancient world warriors.
Demetrius is engaged to Hermia however he becomes dosed with Oberon's magic and falls in love with Helena. Played by Christian Bale in the 1999 version. Christian is a British actor who is known for acting in numerous different roles.
Philostrate is the Master of the Reveals, which is also known as Theseus's party planner. Played by John Sessions in the 1999 version. John is a Scottish actor and comedian who is known for playing passive characters.
Quince is a well known carpenter who puts on the play Pyramus and Thisbe. Played by Roger Rees in the 1999 version. Bernard is a British actor who's primarily a man of the theatre with secondary careers as a playwright and stage director
Snug is a joiner, a type of carpenter, who has been asked by Quince to play the tiger in the play Pyramus and Thisbe. Played by Gregory Jbara in the 1999 version. Gregory is an American actor who has performed in several musicals on Broadway.
Bottom is the comic relief throughout the play. Played by Kevin Kline in the 1999 version. Kline has played Hamlet twice in Shakespeare Hamlet, he even directed one of those plays. He is also a fan of Shakespeare and comfortable in theatre
Flute is a bellows-mender, who is an excited actor, but is dissapointed to find out his role in Pryamus and Thisbe is a female. Played by Sam Rockwell in the 1999 version. He has never appeared on a play.
Played by Bill Irwin in the 1999 version. Irwin graduated with a degree in arts. Irwin is thought of as a clowny actor and thus played the character perfectly
Starveling has been played by Otis Harlan, Max Wright, and Javier Sanz in the plays history. Harlan was a comedic actor and this can be seen in his portrayal of the character.
Hermia is the daughter of Egeus. She is engaged to Demetrius but refuses to marry him because she loves Lysander.
Played by Anne Friel in the 1999 version. She has never acted in any plays.
Played by Calista Flockhart in the 1999 version.
In an interview this is what she had to say about learning the Shakespearean language "I don't find it more difficult. I think it is kind of a misconception. I think that it is intimidating and I think yes, you're dealing with a whole new language. But once you know it, it becomes close to who you are. It doesn't seem that that's the hard part. I think there's always challenge in every role. Well, I would say the language is an added small challenge."
Oberon is King of the Fairies and was played by Rubert Everett in the 1999 rendition. He has never acted in another Shakespearean play.
Titania is Queen of the Fairies and was played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1999 rendition. She was quoted saying " I love his tragedies (Shakespeare), I think they are very funny."
Played by Stanley Tucci in the 1999 rendition. Tucci has never acted in another play but is known for playing roles with wisdom and playfulness.
Played by Flamaine Fegarotti in the 1999 rendition. Fegarotti has never acted in another play, which made this a completely new experience for her.
Played by Annalisa Cordone in the 1999 rendition. She too has never worked in any other plays.
Played by Solena Nocentini in the 1999 rendition. Nocentini is an Italian actress. This had been her first time acting in a Shakespearean play.
Played by Paola Pessot in the 1999 rendition. She is a well known Italian actress who is comfortable in theatre, but has only participated in one Shakespearean play.