Producing a modern version of the play Essay
Producing a modern version of the play
What difficulties have you experienced in producing a modern version of the play and how have you gone about solving these? A Midsummer Night’s dream looks at many themes and issues surrounding love and magic. The play looks into love, relationships, magic and how men and women treat each other. The play starts off with two minor characters in the play that appear at the beginning and at the end, Duke Theseus of Athens and Hippolyta the Queen of the Amazon’s discussing their forthcoming wedding. This part of the play creates images of weddings and romances. Recurrent images throughout the play appear here the moon, heaven and fate.
There is a romantic tone and the language is also romantic as the Duke says ‘she lingers my desires’. The theme is love. Egeus, Hermia’s father enters angry with his daughter, and Lysander whom she is in love with. Egeus tries to threaten Hermia into marrying Demetrius. This is whom Egeus would like his daughter to be with, as he believes Demetrius can do no wrong and would care for Hermia unconditionally. Hermia is then given an ultimatum; she either marries Demetrius or dies. The language is full of hatred and ‘full of vexation come I’. This gives imagery of fantasies.
The theme is of stolen love and fantasy. The tone of the actors is harsh and changes toward the end when Egeus says ‘… stubborn harshness. And, my gracious Duke… ‘. Hermia loves Lysander with all her heart. She doesn’t want to marry Demetrius and she certainly does not want to die, so the love-struck couple decide to escape and run away to the woods to be wed. Hermia sticks up for Lysander and says he is a worthy gentleman. The topic is that Hermia would die for Lysander; she doesn’t desire Demetrius. The language is full of anti-Demetrius, and the tone is occupied with sadness.
Once again there are recurrent images of the moon, suggesting fate will deal its own hand this occurs when ‘… on Diana’s altar… ‘ is mentioned. Goddess of chasity and moon means this. Just as the two young lovers head towards the wood they meet Helena. Helena is a good friend of Hermia. She loves Demetrius, and is very jealous of Hermia’s beauty, for she is whom Demetrius loves. They tell Helena of their plans to elope. She then tells Demetrius to get on the good side of him (because he loves Hermia). The language in this area of the play is full of jealousy, and has a bitter tone.
Hermia greets Helena with ‘God speed, fair Helena! Whither away? ‘ and she replies in a very cold and resentful tone saying ‘Call me fair? … Demetrius loves your fair’. We then meet the actors, also known as the mechanicals that are going to perform an act at Duke Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. We find out they are not the cleverest of people. One actor who is called Nick Bottom is introduced to us and his occupation is a weaver. We discover he is greedy and wants to take over everyone’s parts in the play. Bottom uses rhyme and rhythm when he speaks reciting poem.
A Midsummer Night’s dream is about two worlds, earth and the fairy world. In the fairy world we meet a fairy, servant to Titania and Puck (Robin Goodfellow), Oberon’s lieutenant. We learn of Puck’s mischievous behaviour. The fairy introduces us to Puck with such rhyme and rhythm creating calmness, ironic to Puck’s character. Oberon and Titania are king and queen of the fairy world. Together they are parents to an Indian child servant. However, the two argue about whom the child is to stay with. We gain knowledge of who loves whom in the real world. Titania blames Oberon for the natural disasters in the real world.
Titania suggests that the result of the quarrel causes strong gusts of wind, stormy sea, fog, loss of crop, floods, frosts etc. She also says that they have caused ‘murrion’, murrain is a fatal disease in sheep caused by wetness. In today’s society we can relate to this as we have experienced the terrible foot and mouth disease spread around the whole countryside. However, we cannot relate to the natural disasters as a result of quarrelling as these are occurrences which no one human being has force and control over. Due to the argument between the king and the queen of the fairy world Oberon decides to take revenge over Titania.
He remembers of a flower, which contains a potion. The potion will make a living being fall in love with the first living thing they see. You can convey the magic of the flower with an anti-drugs to appeal to today’s society. Helena and Demetrius enter the wood. Helena tells Demetrius how she feels, but he doesn’t feel the same way. She is determined to win over his heart, and whatever Demetrius says and does, despite the nature of it, Helena falls more deeply in love with him. Helena keeps on following Demetrius, she throws herself at him at every opportunity she has and she doesn’t like to not see him.
Demetrius’ tone of voice is hostile and his language is full of hatred. Images created are of hate. Demetrius says ‘ Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit; for I am sick when I do look at thee’. Images of hell are also present. Oberon listens into the conversation between the pair, and he decides to side with Helena. He decides to help Helena out, as he feels she deserves someone to treat her fairly, and someone that will make her very happy. He tells Puck to drop some of the potion from the magical flower into Demetrius’ eyes. Whilst Titania is sleeping Oberon put the magical drops into her eyes.
Mean while Lysander and Hermia enter the woods and fall asleep. Puck saw Lysander in the woods, confused, he put the drops into his eyes. Helena then goes deeper into the woods after losing track of Demetrius. She sees Lysander on the floor. He is still and very pale, and Helena thinks he is dead. She begins to shake him and he awakes. Lysander looks into Helena’s eyes and he falls instantly in love with her; he does not love Hermia any more, thanks to the magical flower. Lysander follows Helena leaving Hermia alone; he tries to convince her of his undying love. As Hermia is left alone asleep she has a terrible nightmare.
She has a nightmare of a serpent eating her heart. The images create a vision of hell. Hermia wakes to find Lysander is not there, she is scared and very worried. The actors try to find a ‘convenient place’ for their rehearsal. They discover the wood is the perfect position to practice. The actors continuously seek to find fault with the play. They suggest that the killing of Pyramus could not be shown because it would scare the women watching. They also recommended that they could not have the part of a lion roaring as the audience would be afraid. After the trouble getting the play started, they began.
Puck enters on scene; he is unseen and unheard. He thinks to himself what do we have here? Puck’s character is portrayed as a mischievous character; this shows when he plants an ass’s head on Bottom’s head. The mechanicals create humour with word play, and also there are many misunderstandings. The actors do not know what impact they are having on the audience, as they are not supposed to be comedic. However they are and don’t know which adds humour to the language and imagery. Bottom is puzzled as the actors surrounding him run away from him calling him names whilst being afraid.
This is very ironic. He wonders around singing and whistling to himself. Titania awakes and when she notices Bottom she instantly falls in love with him. She instructs her fairies to tend to his every need. Imagery and themes of slavery are presented here. Puck explains to Oberon about his incident with Bottom and he agrees it was better than he could have devised. The duo watch Hermia and Demetrius in an argumentative conversation. Hermia believes Demetrius has hidden Lysander from her, so he can have her for himself; this is far from the truth.
Demetrius tried to justify himself, but Hermia would have none of it. He eventually gave in, lied on the floor and fell asleep. Oberon realises Puck has made a mistake with the magical flower. We are then with Lysander and Helena, and Lysander is still trying to convince Helena of his love for her. Demetrius wakes to find Helena, and once again the magic begins, he loves Helena. Helena thinks the two men are lying to her, trying to mock her. She thinks everyone is in on the supposed plot, including Hermia whom now enters dazed and confused. This suggests the theme and idea of love is confusing.