A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Overview
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that was written by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

. It is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta
Hippolyta
In Greek mythology, Hippolyta or Hippolyte is the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons....

. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, who are manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.
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Quotations

Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;Four nights will quickly dream away the time;And then the moon, like to a silver bow New bent in heaven, shall behold the nightOf our solemnities.

Hippolyta, scene i

But earthly happier is the rose distill’dThan that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

Theseus, scene i

Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,Could ever hear by tale or history,The course of true love never did run smooth.

Lysander, scene i

O, hell! to choose love by another’s eye.

Hermia, scene i

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,Brief as the lightning in the collied night,That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,And ere a man hath power to say, — Behold!The jaws of darkness do devour it up:So quick bright things come to confusion.

Lysander, scene i

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.

Helena, scene i

Masters, spread yourselves.

Bottom, scene ii

This is Ercles’ vein.

Bottom, scene ii

Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming

Flute, scene ii

I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice.

Bottom, scene ii
Encyclopedia
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that was written by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

. It is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta
Hippolyta
In Greek mythology, Hippolyta or Hippolyte is the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons....

. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, who are manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Characters



  • The Athenians:
    • Theseus
      Theseus
      For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

      , Duke of Athens
    • Hippolyta
      Hippolyta
      In Greek mythology, Hippolyta or Hippolyte is the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons....

      , Queen of the Amazons, betrothed of Theseus
    • Egeus
      Egeus
      Egeus is a character in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the comedy by William Shakespeare. He tries to keep his daughter, Hermia, from marrying Lysander, by force if necessary...

      , father of Hermia, forces Hermia to marry Demetrius
    • Lysander
      Lysander (Shakespeare)
      Lysander is one of the iconic lovers in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. A handsome young man of Athens, Lysander is in love with Hermia and plans to run away from her father with her to escape Athenian law and wed. But his plans are disrupted when Oberon decides to have some...

      , in love with Hermia and Helena at different times of the play.
    • Helena
      Helena
      -First name:*Helena , Roman mother of Emperor Constantine*Helena, wife of Julian , Roman daughter of Emperor Constantine*Helena...

      , in love with Demetrius
    • Demetrius
      Demetrius (Shakespeare)
      Demetrius is one of the iconic lovers in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a young man of Athens who abandons Helena and pursues Hermia, whose father Egeus finds Demetrius to be the better suitor. His obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the...

      , in love with Hermia and Helena at different times of the play.
    • Hermia
      Hermia
      Hermia is a science park near Tampere University of Technology . Hermia is located in Hervanta, a suburb of Tampere, Finland. Hermia is also acting as a technology centre for its region....

      , in love with Lysander
    • Philostrate
      Philostrate
      Philostrate is the Master of Revels at Theseus' court in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream . He is in charge of his lord's entertainments, making recommendations to Theseus, as well as altering the text of some of the plays performed in his court. Shakespeare may have used this...

      , Master of the Revels for Theseus

  • The supernatural characters:
    • Oberon, King of the Fairies
    • Titania, Queen of the Fairies
    • Puck
      Puck (Shakespeare)
      Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream that was based on the ancient figure in English mythology, also called Puck. Puck is a clever and mischievous elf and personifies the trickster or the wise knave...

      , a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow, servant to Oberon
    • Titania's fairy servants (her "train", who wait on Bottom):
      • Peaseblossom, fairy
      • Cobweb, fairy
      • Moth, fairy
      • Mustardseed, fairy
      • (unnamed) Fairy (Act II, Scene 1)

  • The acting troupe (also known as The Mechanicals
    Mechanical (character)
    A mechanical is any of six characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream who perform the play-within-a-play Pyramus and Thisbe. Named for their occupations as skilled manual laborers, they are a group of Amateur actors from around Athens, looking to make names for themselves by having their production...

    ):
    • Peter Quince
      Peter Quince
      In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Quince is a carpenter who works in ancient Athens. He is one of the six craftsmen that put on a play for Theseus and Hippolyta at their wedding...

      , carpenter, who leads the troupe.(prologue)
    • Nick Bottom
      Nick Bottom
      Nick Bottom is a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream who provides comic relief throughout the play, and is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of an ass by the elusive Puck within the play.- Overview :...

      , weaver; Bottom is turned into a donkey and is loved by Titania, he plays Pyramus in the troupe's production of "Pyramus and Thisbe".
    • Francis Flute
      Francis Flute
      Francis Flute is a character in the play A Midsummer Night's Dream. His occupation is a bellows-mender. He is forced to play the female role of Thisbe in "Pyramus and Thisbe", a play within the play which is performed for Theseus' marriage celebration....

      , the bellows-mender who plays Thisbe.
    • Robin Starveling
      Robin Starveling
      Robin Starveling is a character in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream , one of the Rude Mechanicals who plays the part of Moonshine in their performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. His part is often considered one of the more humorous in the play, as he uses a lantern in a failed attempt...

      , the tailor who plays Moonshine.
    • Tom Snout
      Tom Snout
      Tom Snout is a fictional character in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a tinker, and one of the "mechanicals", amateur players in Pyramus and Thisbe, a play within the play....

      , the tinker who plays Wall.
    • Snug, the joiner
      Joiner
      A joiner differs from a carpenter in that joiners cut and fit joints in wood that do not use nails. Joiners usually work in a workshop since the formation of various joints generally requires non-portable machinery. A carpenter normally works on site...

       who plays a Lion.


Synopsis



The play features three interlocking plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke
Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

 of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and the Amazon
Amazons
The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia...

 queen, Hippolyta
Hippolyta
In Greek mythology, Hippolyta or Hippolyte is the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons....

, and set simultaneously in the woodland, and in the realm of Fairy
Fairy
A fairy is a type of mythical being or legendary creature, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural.Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term...

land, under the light of the moon.

In the opening scene, Hermia refuses to follow her father Egeus's instructions to marry Demetrius, whom he has chosen for her. In response, Egeus quotes before Theseus an ancient Athenian law whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death. Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity worshiping the goddess Diana
Diana (mythology)
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt and moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy...

 as a nun
Nun
A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent...

.

At that same time, Quince and his fellow players were engaged to produce an act which is "the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe", for the Duke and the Duchess. Peter Quince reads the names of characters and bestows them to the players. Nick Bottom who is playing the main role of Pyramus, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate others by suggesting himself for the characters of Thisbe, The Lion and Pyramus at the same time. Also he would rather be a tyrant and recites some lines of Ercles or Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

. Quince ends the meeting with "at the Duke's oak we meet".

Meanwhile, Oberon
Oberon
Oberon is a legendary king of the fairies.Oberon may also refer to:-People:* Merle Oberon , British actress* Oberon Zell-Ravenheart , Neopagan activist-Media and entertainment:* Oberon...

, king of the fairies, and his queen, Titania, have come to the forest outside Athens. Titania tells Oberon that she plans to stay there until after she has attended Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding. Oberon and Titania are estranged because Titania refuses to give her Indian changeling
Changeling
A changeling is a creature found in Western European folklore and folk religion. It is typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, troll, elf or other legendary creature that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who...

 to Oberon for use as his "knight" or "henchman," since the child's mother was one of Titania's worshipers. Oberon seeks to punish Titania's disobedience, so he calls for his mischievous court jester Puck
Puck (Shakespeare)
Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream that was based on the ancient figure in English mythology, also called Puck. Puck is a clever and mischievous elf and personifies the trickster or the wise knave...

 or "Robin Goodfellow" to help him apply a magical juice from a flower called "love-in-idleness
Love in Idleness
Love-in-idleness is another name for the wild pansyIt is the flower mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare that inspired love.- In A Midsummer Night's Dream :Shakespeare uses the flower as a plot device in A Midsummer Night's Dream...

," which when applied to a person's eyelids while sleeping makes the victim fall in love with the first living thing seen upon awakening. He instructs Puck to retrieve the flower so that he can make Titania fall in love with the first thing she sees when waking from sleep, which he is sure will be an animal of the forest. Oberon's intent is to shame Titania into giving up the little Indian boy. He says, "And ere I take this charm from off her sight, / As I can take it with another herb, / I'll make her render up her page to me."

Having seen Demetrius act cruelly toward Helena, Oberon orders Puck to spread some of the magical juice from the flower on the eyelids of the young Athenian man. Instead, Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, not having actually seen either before. Helena, coming across him, wakes him while attempting to determine whether he is dead or asleep. Upon this happening, Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena. Oberon sees Demetrius still following Hermia and is enraged. When Demetrius decides to go to sleep, Oberon sends Puck to get Helena while he charms Demetrius' eyes. Upon waking up, he sees Helena. Now, both men are in pursuit of Helena. However, she is convinced that her two suitors are mocking her, as neither loved her originally. Hermia is at a loss to see why her lover has abandoned her, and accuses Helena of stealing Lysander away from her. The four quarrel with each other until Lysander and Demetrius become so enraged that they seek a place to duel each other to prove whose love for Helena is the greatest. Oberon orders Puck to keep Lysander and Demetrius from catching up with one another and to remove the charm from Lysander, so that he goes back to being in love with Hermia.


Meanwhile, a band of six labourers ("rude mechanicals", as they are described by Puck) have arranged to perform a play about Pyramus and Thisbe
Pyramus and Thisbe
Pyramus and Thisbe are two characters of Roman mythology, whose love story of ill-fated lovers is also a sentimental romance.The tale is told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.-Plot:...

 for Theseus' wedding and venture into the forest, near Titania's bower
Dwelling
Dwelling, as well as being a term for a house, or for living somewhere, or for lingering somewhere, is a philosophical concept which was developed by Martin Heidegger. Dwelling is about making yourself at home where the home itself is a building that is a house...

, for their rehearsal. Nick Bottom
Nick Bottom
Nick Bottom is a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream who provides comic relief throughout the play, and is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of an ass by the elusive Puck within the play.- Overview :...

, a stage-struck weaver, is spotted by Puck, who (taking his name to be another word for a jackass
Donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...

) transforms his head into that of a donkey
Donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...

. When Bottom returns for his next lines, the other workmen run screaming in terror. Determined to wait for his friends, he begins to sing to himself. Titania is awakened by Bottom's singing and immediately falls in love with him. She lavishes him with attention, and presumably makes love to him. While she is in this state of devotion, Oberon takes the changeling. Having achieved his goals, Oberon releases Titania, orders Puck to remove the donkey's head from Bottom, and arrange everything so that Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena will believe that they have been dreaming when they awaken. The magical enchantment is removed from Lysander, leaving Demetrius under the spell and in love with Helena.

The fairies then disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene, during an early morning hunt. They wake the lovers and, since Demetrius does not love Hermia any more, Theseus overrules Egeus's demands and arranges a group wedding. The lovers decide that the night's events must have been a dream. After they all exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have experienced a dream "past the wit of man". In Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers watch the six workmen perform Pyramus and Thisbe. The play is badly performed to the point where the guests laugh as if it were meant to be a comedy, and afterward everyone retires to bed. Afterward, Oberon, Titania, Puck, and other fairies enter, and bless the house and its occupants with good fortune. After all other characters leave, Puck "restores amends" and reminds the audience that this might be nothing but a dream (hence the name of the play).

Sources and date



It is unknown exactly when A Midsummer Night's Dream was written or first performed, but on the basis of topical references and an allusion to Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

's 'Epithalamion', it is usually dated 1594 or 1596. Some have theorised that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding (for example that of Elizabeth Carey, Lady Berkeley
Elizabeth Carey, Lady Berkeley
Hon. Elizabeth Carey was an English noblewoman and a patron of the arts. Thomas Nashe dedicated his Terrors of the Night to her in 1594...

), while others suggest that it was written for the Queen
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 to celebrate the feast day of St. John. No concrete evidence exists to support either theory. In any case, it would have been performed at The Theatre
The Theatre
The Theatre was an Elizabethan playhouse located in Shoreditch , just outside the City of London. It was the second permanent theatre ever built in England, after the Red Lion, and the first successful one...

 and, later, The Globe. Though it is not a translation or adaptation of an earlier work, various sources such as Ovid's Metamorphoses and Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale
The Knight's Tale
"The Knight's Tale" is the first tale from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The story introduces many typical aspects of knighthood such as courtly love and ethical dilemmas. The story is written in iambic pentameter end-rhymed couplets.-Story:...

" served as inspiration.

Publication and text


The play was entered into the Register
Stationers' Register
The Stationers' Register was a record book maintained by the Stationers' Company of London. The company is a trade guild given a royal charter in 1557 to regulate the various professions associated with the publishing industry, including printers, bookbinders, booksellers, and publishers in England...

 of the Stationers Company
Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers
The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Stationers' Company was founded in 1403; it received a Royal Charter in 1557...

 on 8 October 1600 by the bookseller Thomas Fisher, who published the first quarto edition later that year. A second quarto was printed in 1619 by William Jaggard
William Jaggard
William Jaggard was an Elizabethan and Jacobean printer and publisher, best known for his connection with the texts of William Shakespeare, most notably the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays...

, as part of his so-called False Folio
False Folio
False Folio is the term that Shakespeare scholars and bibliographers have applied to William Jaggard's printing of ten Shakespearean and pseudo-Shakespearean plays together in 1619, the first attempt to collect Shakespeare's work in a single volume....

. The play next appeared in print in the First Folio
First Folio
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio....

 of 1623. The title page of Q1 states that the play was "sundry times publickely acted" prior to 1600. The first performance known with certainty occurred at Court on 1 January 1605.

17th and 18th centuries


During the years of the Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

 Interregnum
English Interregnum
The English Interregnum was the period of parliamentary and military rule by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell under the Commonwealth of England after the English Civil War...

 when the theatres were closed (1642–60), the comic subplot of Bottom and his compatriots was performed as a "droll". Drolls were comical playlets, often adapted from the subplots of Shakespearean and other plays, that could be attached to the acts of acrobats and jugglers and other allowed performances, thus circumventing the ban against drama.

When the theatres re-opened in 1660, A Midsummer Night's Dream was acted in adapted form, like many other Shakespearean plays. Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

 saw it on 29 September 1662 and thought it "the most insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw ..."

After the Jacobean/Caroline era, A Midsummer Night's Dream was never performed in its entirety until the 1840s. Instead, it was heavily adapted in forms like Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

's musical masque/play The Fairy Queen (1692), which had a successful run at the Dorset Garden Theatre
Dorset Garden Theatre
The Dorset Garden Theatre in London, built in 1671, was in its early years also known as the Duke of York's Theatre, or the Duke's Theatre. In 1685, King Charles II died and his brother, the Duke of York, was crowned as James II. When the Duke became King, the theatre became the Queen's Theatre in...

, but was not revived. Richard Leveridge
Richard Leveridge
Richard Leveridge was an English bass singer of the London stage and a composer of baroque music, including many popular songs....

 turned the Pyramus and Thisbe scenes into an Italian opera burlesque, acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields is the largest public square in London, UK. It was laid out in the 1630s under the initiative of the speculative builder and contractor William Newton, "the first in a long series of entrepreneurs who took a hand in developing London", as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner observes...

 in 1716. John Frederick Lampe
John Frederick Lampe
John Frederick Lampe was a musician.He was born in Saxony, but came to England in 1724 and played the bassoon in opera houses. His wife, Isabella Lampe, was sister-in-law to the composer Thomas Arne with whom Lampe collaborated on a number of concert seasons...

 elaborated upon Leveridge's version in 1745. Charles Johnson had used the Pyramus and Thisbe material in the finale of Love in a Forest, his 1723 adaptation of As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

.
In 1755, David Garrick
David Garrick
David Garrick was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson...

 did the opposite of what had been done a century earlier: he extracted Bottom and his companions and acted the rest, in an adaptation called The Fairies. Frederic Reynolds produced an operatic version in 1816.

The Victorian stage



In 1840, Madame Vestris
Lucia Elizabeth Vestris
Lucia Elizabeth Vestris was an English actress and a contralto opera singer, appearing in Mozart and Rossini works. While popular in her time, she was more notable as a theatre producer and manager...

 at Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as...

 returned the play to the stage with a relatively full text, adding musical sequences and balletic dances. Vestris took the role of Oberon, and for the next seventy years, Oberon and Puck
Puck (Shakespeare)
Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream that was based on the ancient figure in English mythology, also called Puck. Puck is a clever and mischievous elf and personifies the trickster or the wise knave...

 would always be played by women. After the success of Vestris' production, 19th-century theatre continued to stage the Dream as a spectacle, often with a cast numbering nearly one hundred. Detailed sets were created for the palace and the forest, and the fairies were portrayed as gossamer-winged ballerinas. The overture by Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 was always used throughout this period. Augustin Daly
Augustin Daly
John Augustin Daly was an American theatrical manager and playwright active in both the US and UK.-Biography:Daly was born in Plymouth, North Carolina and educated at Norfolk, Va...

's production opened in 1895 in London and ran for 21 performances. The special effects were constructed by the Martinka
Martinka
Martinka & Company is America's oldest magic company. Throughout the years the company has acquired and combined with over 30 other magic firms including Hornmann and Milton Chase and its roots date back to the early 19th century.-Beginnings:...

 Magic Company, which was later owned by Houdini.

Twentieth century


Herbert Beerbohm Tree
Herbert Beerbohm Tree
Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree was an English actor and theatre manager.Tree began performing in the 1870s. By 1887, he was managing the Haymarket Theatre, winning praise for adventurous programming and lavish productions, and starring in many of its productions. In 1899, he helped fund the...

 staged a 1911 production with live rabbits.

Max Reinhardt
Max Reinhardt (theatre director)
----Max Reinhardt was an Austrian theater and film director and actor.-Biography:...

 staged A Midsummer Night's Dream thirteen times between 1905 and 1934, introducing a revolving set. After he fled Germany he devised a more spectacular outdoor version at the Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

, in September 1934. The shell was removed and replaced by a forest planted in tons of dirt hauled in especially for the event, and a trestle was constructed from the hills to the stage. The wedding procession inserted between Acts IV and V crossed the trestle with torches down the hillside. The cast included John Davis Lodge
John Davis Lodge
John Davis Lodge , was an American politician, and 79th Governor of Connecticut from 1951 to 1955. He was also an actor and U.S. Ambassador to Spain, Argentina and Switzerland.-Early life:Lodge was born in Washington, D.C....

, William Farnum
William Farnum
William Farnum was a major movie actor. One of three brothers, Farnum grew up in a family of actors. He made his acting debut at the age of ten in Richmond, Virginia in a production of Julius Caesar, with Edwin Booth playing the title character...

, Sterling Holloway
Sterling Holloway
Sterling Price Holloway, Jr. was an American character actor who appeared in 150 films and television programs. He was also a voice actor for The Walt Disney Company...

, Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
Olivia Mary de Havilland is a British American film and stage actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 and 1949. She is the elder sister of actress Joan Fontaine. The sisters are among the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s.-Early life:Olivia de Havilland...

, Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney is an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television, and stage appearances span nearly his entire lifetime. He has won multiple awards, including an Honorary Academy Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award...

 and a corps of dancers which included Katherine Dunham
Katherine Dunham
Katherine Mary Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer, songwriter, author, educator, and activist...

 and Butterfly McQueen
Butterfly McQueen
Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen was an American actress. Originally a dancer, the 28-year-old McQueen first appeared as Prissy, Scarlett O'Hara's maid in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind, then continued as an actress in film in the 1940s, then moving to television acting in the 1950s .-Early life:Born...

, with Mendelssohn's music.

On the strength of this production, Warner Brothers signed Reinhardt to direct a filmed version, Hollywood's first Shakespeare movie since Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-born motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

's Taming of the Shrew in 1929. Rooney (Puck) and De Havilland (Hermia) were the only holdovers from the Hollywood Bowl cast. James Cagney
James Cagney
James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor, first on stage, then in film, where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth...

 starred, in his only Shakespearean role, as Bottom. Other actors in the film who played Shakespearean roles just this once included Joe E. Brown and Dick Powell
Dick Powell
Richard Ewing "Dick" Powell was an American singer, actor, producer, director and studio boss.Despite the same last name he was not related to William Powell, Eleanor Powell or Jane Powell.-Biography:...

. Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Erich Wolfgang Korngold was an Austro-Hungarian film and romantic music composer. While his compositional style was considered well out of vogue at the time he died, his music has more recently undergone a reevaluation and a gradual reawakening of interest...

 was brought from Austria to arrange Mendelssohn's music for the film. He not only used the Midsummer Night's Dream music but also several other pieces by Mendelssohn. Korngold went on to make a Hollywood career, remaining in the U.S. after the Nazis invaded Austria.

Director Harley Granville-Barker
Harley Granville-Barker
Harley Granville-Barker was an English actor-manager, director, producer, critic and playwright....

 introduced in 1914 a less spectacular way of staging the Dream: he reduced the size of the cast and used Elizabethan folk music instead of Mendelssohn. He replaced large, complex sets with a simple system of patterned curtains. He portrayed the fairies as golden robotic insectoid creatures based on Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

n idols. His simpler, sparer staging significantly influenced subsequent productions.

In 1970, Peter Brook
Peter Brook
Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director and innovator, who has been based in France since the early 1970s.-Life:...

 staged the play for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
The Royal Shakespeare Company is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs 700 staff and produces around 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon and plays regularly in London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on tour across...

 in a blank white box, in which masculine fairies engaged in circus tricks such as trapeze
Trapeze
A trapeze is a short horizontal bar hung by ropes or metal straps from a support. It is an aerial apparatus commonly found in circus performances...

 artistry. Brook also introduced the subsequently popular idea of doubling Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania, as if to suggest that the world of the fairies is a mirror version of the world of the mortals. British actors who played various roles in Brook's production included Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Hewes Stewart, OBE is an English film, television and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career in theatre and television for around half a century...

, Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley
Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE is a British actor. He has won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards in his career. He is known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film Gandhi in 1982, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor...

, John Kane (Puck) and Jennie Stoller (Helena).

Since Brook's production, directors have used their imaginations freely in staging the play. In particular, there has been an increased use of sexuality on stage, as many directors see the palace as a symbol of restraint and repression, while the wood is a symbol of unrestrained sexuality, both liberating and terrifying.

A Midsummer Night's Dream has been produced many times in New York, including several stagings by the New York Shakespeare Festival
New York Shakespeare Festival
New York Shakespeare Festival is the previous name of the New York City theatrical producing organization now known as the Public Theater. The Festival produced shows at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, as part of its free Shakespeare in the Park series, at the Public Theatre near Astor Place...

 at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park and a production by the Theatre for a New Audience, produced by Joseph Papp
Joseph Papp
Joseph Papp was an American theatrical producer and director. Papp established The Public Theater in what had been the Astor Library Building in downtown New York . "The Public," as it is known, has many small theatres within it...

 at the Public Theatre. In 1978, the Riverside Shakespeare Company
Riverside Shakespeare Company
The Riverside Shakespeare Company of New York City was founded in 1977 as a professional theatre company on the Upper West Side of New York City, by W. Stuart McDowell and Gloria Skurski...

 staged an outdoor production starring Eric Hoffmann as Puck, with Karen Hurley as Titania and Eric Conger as Oberon, directed by company founder Gloria Skurski. There have been several variations since then, including some set in the 1980s.

Love


David Bevington
David Bevington
David Martin Bevington is an American literary scholar. He is Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and in English Language & Literature, Comparative Literature, and the College at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1967, as well as chair of Theatre and Performance Studies...

 argues that the play represents the dark side of love. He writes that the fairies make light of love by mistaking the lovers and by applying a love potion to Titania's eyes, forcing her to fall in love with an ass. In the forest, both couples are beset by problems. Hermia and Lysander are both met by Puck, who provides some comic relief in the play by confounding the four lovers in the forest. However, the play also alludes to serious themes. At the end of the play, Hermia and Lysander, happily married, watch the play about the unfortunate lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, and are able to enjoy and laugh at it. Helena and Demetrius are both oblivious to the dark side of their love, totally unaware of what may have come of the events in the forest.

Problem with time


There is a dispute over the scenario of the play as it is cited at first by Theseus that "four happy days bring in another moon", the wood episode then takes place at a night of no moon, but Lysander asserts that there will be so much light in the very night they will escape that dew on the grass will be shining like liquid pearls. Also, in the next scene Quince states that they will rehearse in moonlight which creates a real confusion. It is possible that the Moon set during the night allowing Lysander to escape in the moonlight and for the actors to rehearse, then for the wood episode to occur without moonlight. Theseus's statement can mean four days until the next month.

Loss of individual identity


Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University
Baylor University
Baylor University is a private, Christian university located in Waco, Texas. Founded in 1845, Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.-History:...

, writes of the blurring of the identities of fantasy and reality in the play that make possible "that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess associated with the fairies of the play". By emphasising this theme even in the setting of the play, Shakespeare prepares the reader's mind to accept the fantastic reality of the fairy world and its magical happenings. This also seems to be the axis around which the plot conflicts in the play occur. Hunt suggests that it is the breaking down of individual identities that leads to the central conflict in the story. It is the brawl between Oberon and Titania, based on a lack of recognition for the other in the relationship, that drives the rest of the drama in the story and makes it dangerous for any of the other lovers to come together due to the disturbance of Nature caused by a fairy dispute. Similarly, this failure to identify and make distinction is what leads Puck to mistake one set of lovers for another in the forest and place the juice of the flower on Lysander's eyes instead of Demetrius'.

Victor Kiernan, a Marxist scholar and historian, writes that it is for the greater sake of love that this loss of identity takes place and that individual characters are made to suffer accordingly: "It was the more extravagant cult of love that struck sensible people as irrational, and likely to have dubious effects on its acolytes". He believes that identities in the play are not so much lost as they are blended together to create a type of haze through which distinction becomes nearly impossible. It is driven by a desire for new and more practical ties between characters as a means of coping with the strange world within the forest, even in relationships as diverse and seemingly unrealistic as the brief love between Titania and Bottom the Ass: "It was the tidal force of this social need that lent energy to relationships".

David Marshall, an aesthetics scholar and English Professor at the University of California – Santa Barbara, takes this theme to an even further conclusion, pointing out that the loss of identity is especially played out in the description of the mechanicals their assumption of other identities. In describing the occupations of the acting troupe, he writes "Two construct or put together, two mend and repair, one weaves and one sews. All join together what is apart or mend what has been rent, broken, or sundered". In Marshall's opinion, this loss of individual identity not only blurs specificities, it creates new identities found in community, which Marshall points out may lead to some understanding of Shakespeare's opinions on love and marriage. Further, the mechanicals understand this theme as they take on their individual parts for a corporate performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. Marshall remarks that "To be an actor is to double and divide oneself, to discover oneself in two parts: both oneself and not oneself, both the part and not the part". He claims that the mechanicals understand this and that each character, particularly among the lovers, has a sense of laying down individual identity for the greater benefit of the group or pairing. It seems that a desire to lose one's individuality and find identity in the love of another is what quietly moves the events of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is the primary sense of motivation and is even reflected in the scenery and mood of the story.

Ambiguous sexuality


In his essay "Preposterous Pleasures, Queer Theories and A Midsummer Night's Dream", Douglas E. Green explores possible interpretations of alternative sexuality that he finds within the text of the play, in juxtaposition to the proscribed social mores of the culture at the time the play was written. He writes that his essay "does not (seek to) rewrite A Midsummer Night's Dream as a gay play but rather explores some of its 'homoerotic significations' ... moments of 'queer' disruption and eruption in this Shakespearean comedy". Green states that he does not consider Shakspeare to have been a "sexual radical", but that the play represented a "topsy-turvy world" or "temporary holiday" that mediates or negotiates the "discontents of civilisation", which while resolved neatly in the story's conclusion, do not resolve so neatly in real life. Green writes that the "sodomitical elements", "homoeroticism", "lesbianism", and even "compulsory heterosexuality" in the story must be considered in the context of the "culture of early modern England" as a commentary on the "aesthetic rigidities of comic form and political ideologies of the prevailing order". Aspects of ambiguous sexuality and gender conflict in the story are also addressed in essays by Shirley Garner and William W.E. Slights albeit all the characters are played by males.

Feminism


Male dominance is one thematic element found in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Shakespeare's comedies often include a section in which females enjoy more power and freedom than they actually possess. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lysander and Hermia escape into the woods for a night where they do not fall under the laws of Theseus or Egeus. Upon their arrival in Athens, the couples are married. Marriage is seen as the ultimate social achievement for women while men can go on to do many other great things and gain societal recognition. In his article, "The Imperial Votaress", Louis Montrose draws attention to male and female gender roles and norms present in the comedy in connection with Elizabethan culture. In reference to the triple wedding, he says, "The festive conclusion in A Midsummer Night's Dream depends upon the success of a process by which the feminine pride and power manifested in Amazon warriors, possessive mothers, unruly wives, and wilful daughters are brought under the control of lords and husbands." He says that the consummation of marriage is how power over a woman changes hands from father to husband. A connection between flowers and sexuality is drawn. The juice employed by Oberon can be seen as symbolising menstrual blood as well as the sexual blood shed by virgins. While blood as a result of menstruation is representative of a woman's power, blood as a result of a first sexual encounter represents man's power over women.

There are points in the play, however, when there is an absence of patriarchal control. In his book, Power on Display, Leonard Tennenhouse says the problem in A Midsummer Night's Dream is the problem of "authority gone archaic". The Athenian law requiring a daughter to die if she does not do her father's will is outdated. Tennenhouse contrasts the patriarchal rule of Theseus in Athens with that of Oberon in the carnivalistic Faerie world. The disorder in the land of the faeries completely opposes the world of Athens. He states that during times of carnival and festival, male power is broken down. For example, what happens to the four lovers in the woods as well as Bottom's dream represents chaos that contrasts with Theseus' political order. However, Theseus does not punish the lovers for their disobedience. According to Tennenhouse, by forgiving of the lovers, he has made a distinction between the law of the patriarch (Egeus) and that of the monarch (Theseus), creating two different voices of authority. This distinction can be compared to the time of Elizabeth I in which monarchs were seen as having two bodies: the body natural and the body mystical. Elizabeth's succession itself represented both the voice of a patriarch as well as the voice of a monarch: (1) her father's will which stated that the crown should pass to her and (2) the fact that she was the daughter of a king. The challenge to patriarchal rule in A Midsummer Night's Dream mirrors exactly what was occurring in the age of Elizabeth I.

Literary


Botho Strauß
Botho Strauß
Botho Strauss is a German playwright, novelist and essayist.-Biography:Botho Strauss's father was a chemist. After finishing his secondary education, Strauss studied German, History of the Theatre and Sociology in Cologne and Munich, but never finished his dissertation on Thomas Mann und das Theater...

' play Der Park (1983) is based on characters and motifs from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Similarly, motifs and structures from the Dream are used in The Morning After Optimism (1971) by Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy (playwright)
Tom Murphy is an Irish dramatist who has worked closely with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and with Druid Theatre, Galway. He was born in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland...

 and A Bucket of Eels (1994) by Paul Godfrey. St. John's Eve
St. John's Eve
The evening of June 23, St John's Eve, is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke states that John was born about six months before Jesus, therefore the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on June 21~24, six months before Christmas...

 written in 1853 by Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

 relies heavily on the Shakespearean play. The Thyme of the Season, written in 2006 by Duncan Pflaster
Duncan Pflaster
Duncan Pflaster is an American Off-Off-Broadway playwright, composer and actor. His first play Wilder and Wilder , was produced in 1995 at Florida Playwrights' Theatre in Hollywood, FL...

 is a sequel to Shakespeare's play, set on Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

. Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels...

's 1992 novel Lords and Ladies
Lords and Ladies (novel)
Lords and Ladies is the fourteenth Discworld book by Terry Pratchett. It was originally published in 1992.-Synopsis:At the end of Witches Abroad, Magrat Garlick, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax left Genua bound for home, in Lancre...

features a wedding, an estranged King and Queen of some mythic note and a band of rude mechanicals putting on a play.

In Angela Carter's last novel, Wise Children
Wise Children
Wise Children was the last novel written by Angela Carter. The novel follows the fortunes of twin chorus girls, Dora and Nora Chance, and their bizarre theatrical family. It explores the subversive nature of fatherhood, the denying of which leads Nora and Dora to frivolous "illegitimate" lechery...

, the character Genghis Khan directs a film production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Hollywood with his first wife Daisy Duck as Titania and main characters, Dora and Nora Chance, as Peaseblossom and Mustardseed.

For his series The Sandman, Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Richard Gaiman born 10 November 1960)is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book...

 included a fantastical retelling of the play's origins in the graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

 Dream Country. It won several awards, and is distinguished by being the only comic that has ever won a World Fantasy Award
World Fantasy Award
The World Fantasy Awards are annual, international awards given to authors and artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy...

.

In 2006–2007, comic-strip artist Brooke McEldowney
Brooke McEldowney
Brooke McEldowney is responsible for 9 Chickweed Lane, a print comic strip, and also for Pibgorn, a webcomic. 9 Chickweed Lane has been syndicated by United Media since 1993, and has one published collection, Hallmarks of Felinity....

, creator of 9 Chickweed Lane
9 Chickweed Lane
9 Chickweed Lane is an American comic strip written and drawn by Brooke McEldowney following the fortunes of the women of three generations of the Burber family — Edna, Juliette, and Edda — as they try to make their way in the world. 9 Chickweed Lane is the address of their former family home. ...

and the webcomic
Webcomic
Webcomics, online comics, or Internet comics are comics published on a website. While many are published exclusively on the web, others are also published in magazines, newspapers or often in self-published books....

 Pibgorn
Pibgorn (webcomic)
Pibgorn is a webcomic by Brooke McEldowney that began in early 2002, ended its run on Comics.com on April 18, 2007, and has resumed with GoComics.com on May 14, 2007. The title character is a fairy whose adventures span the fantasy and real worlds...

, adapted the story into a 20th century setting in Pibgorn, using characters from both his comic series in the "cast".

A Midwinter Morning's Tale is comic of the Corto Maltese
Corto Maltese
Corto Maltese is a comics series featuring an eponymous character, a complex sailor-adventurer. It was created by Italian comic book creator Hugo Pratt in 1967...

 series by Hugo Pratt
Hugo Pratt
Hugo Eugenio Pratt was an Italian comic book creator who was known for combining strong storytelling with extensive historical research on works such as Corto Maltese...

. Oberon, Puck
Puck (Shakespeare)
Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream that was based on the ancient figure in English mythology, also called Puck. Puck is a clever and mischievous elf and personifies the trickster or the wise knave...

, Morgan Le Fey and Merlin
Merlin
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as the wizard featured in the Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures...

 appear in the comic as a representation of the Gaelic
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 and Celtic
Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure...

 fantasy beings. They choose Corto Maltese as their knight to fight for their sake against a possible German invasion in the context of World War I.

Jean Betts of New Zealand also adapted the play to make a comedic feminist spoof, "Revenge of the Amazons" (1996). The gender-roles are reversed (play actors are feminist "thesbians"/ Oberon falls in love with a "bunny girl"). It is set in the 1970s with many social references and satire.

Magic Street
Magic Street
Magic Street is an urban fantasy novel by Orson Scott Card. This book follows the magical events in the Baldwin Hills section of contemporary Los Angeles, including the life of protagonist Mack Street, his foster brother Cecil Tucker, a trickster identified variously as Bag Man, Puck, Mr...

(2005) by Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card is an American author, critic, public speaker, essayist, columnist, and political activist. He writes in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. His novel Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the...

 revisits the work as a continuation of the play under the premise that the story by Shakespeare was actually derived from true interactions with fairy folk.

A Midsummer Night's Gene
A Midsummer Night's Gene
A Midsummer Night's Gene is a sci-fi parody novel of Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. This Andrew Harman farce, published in 1997 by Random House, reflects the plot of the original play....

(1997) by Andrew Harman
Andrew Harman
Andrew Harman is a science fiction and fantasy fiction author from the UK. His novels bear titles that pun on other famous works. Each work reflects its playful title, having a plot matching the work to which it alludes, with a humorous twist....

 is a sci-fi parody of Shakespeare's play.

Faerie Tale
Faerie Tale
Faerie Tale is a supernatural thriller by Raymond E. Feist, first published in 1988.-Plot introduction:Phil Hastings and his family have just moved back to his hometown for some much needed peace and quiet from the Hollywood scene. As Phil's twins, Sean and Patrick, soon discover, there is more to...

, the 1988 fantasy novel by Raymond E. Feist
Raymond E. Feist
Raymond Elias Feist is an American author who primarily writes fantasy fiction. He is best known for The Riftwar Cycle series of novels and short stories. His books have been translated into multiple languages and have sold over 15 million copies.- Biography :Raymond E...

, contains many references to the characters represented in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Sisters Grimm series written by Micheal Buckley, features Puck, the Trickster King, as one of the main characters. In the fourth book of the series, Once Upon a Crime, Titania, Oberon, and other Faerie Folk are introduced.

The teen book This Must Be Love (2004) by Tui Sutherland is based on the play. The characters have similar or identical names to the original. One sub-plot involves a school play of another Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular archetypal stories of young, teenage lovers.Romeo and Juliet belongs to a...

, and another sub-plot involves the main characters going to see a play entitled "The Fairies Quarrel" in which a character acts like Puck amongst the main characters.

In Leslie Livingston's series for young adults, Wondrous Strange
Wondrous Strange
Wondrous Strange a teen fantasy novel and the first book by author Lesley Livingston. It was published in trade paperback on January 13, 2009 by HarperCollins Canada, Ltd.-Plot:This novel follows teenage aspiring actress Kelley Winslow to New York City...

, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is shown as a realm.

Musical versions


Henry Purcell

The Fairy-Queen
The Fairy-Queen
The Fairy-Queen is a masque or semi-opera by Henry Purcell; a "Restoration spectacular". The libretto is an anonymous adaptation of William Shakespeare's wedding comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. First performed in 1692, The Fairy-Queen was composed three years before Purcell's death at the age...

by Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

 consists of a set of masque
Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

s meant to go between acts of the play, as well as some minimal rewriting of the play to be current to 17th century audiences.

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
In 1826, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy composed an overture
Overture
Overture in music is the term originally applied to the instrumental introduction to an opera...

 for concert performance, inspired by the play. It was first performed in 1827. In 1842, partly because of the fame of the overture, and partly because his employer King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia liked the incidental music
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 that Mendelssohn had written for other plays that had been staged at the palace in German translation, Mendelssohn was commissioned to write incidental music for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream to be staged in 1843 in Potsdam
Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

. He incorporated the existing Overture into the incidental music, which was used in most stage versions through the 19th century. Among the pieces in the incidental music is his Wedding March
Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" in C major, written in 1842, is one of the best known of the pieces from his suite of incidental music to Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream...

, used most often today as a recessional in Western weddings.

The choreographer Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa
Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa was a French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Petipa is considered to be the most influential ballet master and choreographer of ballet that has ever lived....

, more famous for his collaborations with Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

 (on the ballets Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

and The Sleeping Beauty) made another ballet adaptation for the Imperial Ballet
Mariinsky Ballet
The Mariinsky Ballet is a classical ballet company based at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Founded in the 18th century and originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet is one of the world's leading ballet companies...

 of St. Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 with additional music and adaptations to Mendelssohn's score by Léon Minkus
Ludwig Minkus
Ludwig Minkus a.k.a. Léon Fyodorovich Minkus was an Austrian composer of ballet music, a violin virtuoso and teacher.Minkus is most noted for the music he composed while serving as Ballet Composer of the St...

. The revival premiered 14 July 1876. English choreographer Frederick Ashton
Frederick Ashton
Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton OM, CH, CBE was a leading international dancer and choreographer. He is most noted as the founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet in London, but also worked as a director and choreographer of opera, film and theatre revues.-Early life:Ashton was born at...

 also created a 40-minute ballet version of the play, retitled to The Dream. George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

 was another to create a Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream (ballet)
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a two-act ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music for Shakespeare's play of the same name. In addition to the incidental music, Balanchine incorporated other Mendelssohn works into the ballet including Overtures to Athalie, Son...

ballet based on the play, using Mendelssohn's music.

Between 1917 and 1939 Carl Orff
Carl Orff
Carl Orff was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana . In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children.-Early life:...

 also wrote incidental music for a German version of the play, Ein Sommernachtstraum (performed in 1939). Since Mendelssohn's parents were Jews who converted to Lutheranism, his music had been banned by the Nazi regime, and the Nazi cultural officials put out a call for new music for the play: Orff was one of the musicians who responded. He later reworked the music for a final version, completed in 1964.

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Over Hill, Over Dale, from Act 2, is the third of the Three Shakespeare Songs
Three Shakespeare Songs
Three Shakespeare Songs is a piece of classical choral music written for an a cappella SATB choir. It was written in 1951 by the British classical composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The work comprises three short pieces which are settings of text from two plays by the English playwright William...

set to music by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many...

. He wrote the pieces for a cappella SATB choir in 1951 for the British Federation of Music Festivals, and they remain a popular part of British choral repertoire today.

Benjamin Britten

The play was adapted into an opera
A Midsummer Night's Dream (opera)
A Midsummer Night's Dream is an opera with music by Benjamin Britten and set to a libretto adapted by the composer and Peter Pears from William Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream...

, with music by Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

 and libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Britten and Peter Pears
Peter Pears
Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears CBE was an English tenor who was knighted in 1978. His career was closely associated with the composer Edward Benjamin Britten....

. The opera was first performed on 1 June 1960 at Aldeburgh
Aldeburgh
Aldeburgh is a coastal town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England. Located on the River Alde, the town is notable for its Blue Flag shingle beach and fisherman huts where freshly caught fish are sold daily, and the Aldeburgh Yacht Club...

.

Moonwork

The theatre company, Moonwork put on a production of Midsummer in 1999. It was conceived by Mason Pettit, Gregory Sherman and Gregory Wolfe (who directed it). The show featured a rock-opera version of the play within a play, Pyramus & Thisbe with music written by Rusty Magee
Rusty Magee
Benjamin Rush "Rusty" Magee was an accomplished composer and lyricist for theatre, television, and film and commercials.-Childhood and Education:...

. The music for the rest of the show was written by Andrew Sherman.

The Donkey Show

The Donkey Show
The Donkey Show (musical)
The Donkey Show: A Midsummer Night's Disco is a theatrical adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The production, created in a disco-era style, was written by Diane Paulus and her husband Randy Weiner and first appeared Off-Broadway, opening August 18, 1999. The show subsequently...

is a disco-era experience based on A Midsummer Night's Dream, that first appeared Off-Broadway
Off-Broadway
Off-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts...

 in 1999.

Other

In 1949 a three-act opera by Delannoy
Marcel Delannoy
Marcel Delannoy was a French composer and critic. He wrote operas, ballets, orchestral works, vocal and chamber works, and film scores.-Life and career:...

 entitled Puck
Puck (opera)
Puck is an opéra-féerique in three acts with music by Marcel Delannoy, premiered in 1949. The French libretto was adapted by André Boll from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream.-Background:...

was premiered in Strasbourg.

Progressive Rock guitarist Steve Hackett
Steve Hackett
Stephen Richard Hackett is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. He gained prominence as a member of the British progressive rock group Genesis, which he joined in 1970 and left in 1977 to pursue a solo career...

, best known for his work with Genesis
Genesis (band)
Genesis are an English rock band that formed in 1967. The band currently comprises the longest-tenured members Tony Banks , Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins . Past members Peter Gabriel , Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips , also played major roles in the band in its early years...

, made a classical adaptation of the play in 1997.

Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze is a German composer of prodigious output best known for "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life"...

's Eighth Symphony
Symphony No. 8 (Henze)
The Eighth Symphony by the German composer Hans Werner Henze was composed in 1992-93.Using Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as inspiration, it has a lighter theme than the major work it immediately follows, the Requiem of 1992...

 is inspired by sequences from the play.

Ballets

  • George Balanchine
    George Balanchine
    George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

    's A Midsummer Night's Dream
    A Midsummer Night's Dream (ballet)
    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a two-act ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music for Shakespeare's play of the same name. In addition to the incidental music, Balanchine incorporated other Mendelssohn works into the ballet including Overtures to Athalie, Son...

    , his first original full-length ballet, was premiered by the New York City Ballet
    New York City Ballet
    New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

     on 17 January 1962. It was chosen to open the NYCB's first season at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center in 1964. Balanchine interpolated further music by Mendelssohn into his Dream, including the overture from Athalie
    Athalie
    Athalie is the final tragedy of Jean Racine, and has been described as the masterpiece of 'one of the greatest literary artists known' and the 'ripest work' of Racine's genius...

    . A film version of the ballet was released in 1966.
  • Frederick Ashton
    Frederick Ashton
    Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton OM, CH, CBE was a leading international dancer and choreographer. He is most noted as the founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet in London, but also worked as a director and choreographer of opera, film and theatre revues.-Early life:Ashton was born at...

     created his "The Dream", a short (not full-length) ballet set exclusively to the famous music by Félix Mendelssohn, arranged by John Lanchbery
    John Lanchbery
    John Arthur Lanchbery OBE was an English, later Australian, composer and conductor, famous for his ballet arrangements.-Life:...

    , in 1964. It was created on England's Royal Ballet and has since entered the repertoire of other companies, notably The Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
  • John Neumeier
    John Neumeier
    John Neumeier is a well-known American ballet dancer, choreographer, and director. He has been the director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet since 1973. 5 years later he founded the Hamburg Ballet School, which also includes a boarding school...

     created his full-length ballet Ein Sommernachtstraum for his company at the Hamburg State Opera (Hamburgische Staatsoper) in 1977. Longer than Ashton's or Balanchine's earlier versions, Neumeier's version includes other music by Mendelssohn along with the Midsummer Night's Dream music, as well as music from the modern composer György Sándor Ligeti, and jaunty barrel organ music. Neumeier devotes the three sharply differing musical styles to the three character groups, with the aristocrats and nobles dancing to Mendelssohn, the fairies to Ligeti, and the rustics or mechanicals to the barrel organ. Neumeier set his A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Bolshoi Ballet
    Bolshoi Ballet
    The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is among the world's oldest ballet companies, however it only achieved worldwide acclaim by the early 20th century, when Moscow became the...

     in 2005.
  • Elvis Costello
    Elvis Costello
    Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

     composed the music for a full-length ballet Il Sogno
    Il Sogno
    Il Sogno is the 20th studio album by Elvis Costello, released on Deutsche Grammophon, B0003284-02. It is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London...

    , based on A Midsummer Night's Dream. The music was subsequently released as a classical album by Deutsche Grammophon
    Deutsche Grammophon
    Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

     in 2004.

Film adaptations



A Midsummer Night's Dream has been adapted as a film several times. The following are the best known.
  • A 1935 film version
    A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935 film)
    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1935 film directed by Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle, produced by Henry Blanke and Hal Wallis, and adapted by Charles Kenyon and Mary C. McCall Jr...

     was directed by Max Reinhardt
    Max Reinhardt (theatre director)
    ----Max Reinhardt was an Austrian theater and film director and actor.-Biography:...

     and William Dieterle
    William Dieterle
    William Dieterle was a German actor and film director, who worked in Hollywood for much of his career. His best known films include The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Story of Louis Pasteur and The Hunchback of Notre Dame...

    , produced by Henry Blanke
    Henry Blanke
    Henry Blanke was a German-born film producer who also worked as an assistant director, supervisor, writer, and production manager. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture for The Nun's Story ....

     and adapted by Charles Kenyon
    Charles Kenyon
    Charles Kenyon was an American screenwriter, who wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for 114 films between 1915 and 1946...

     and Mary C. McCall Jr. The cast included James Cagney
    James Cagney
    James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor, first on stage, then in film, where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth...

     as Bottom
    Nick Bottom
    Nick Bottom is a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream who provides comic relief throughout the play, and is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of an ass by the elusive Puck within the play.- Overview :...

    , Mickey Rooney
    Mickey Rooney
    Mickey Rooney is an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television, and stage appearances span nearly his entire lifetime. He has won multiple awards, including an Honorary Academy Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award...

     as Puck
    Puck (Shakespeare)
    Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream that was based on the ancient figure in English mythology, also called Puck. Puck is a clever and mischievous elf and personifies the trickster or the wise knave...

    , Olivia de Havilland
    Olivia de Havilland
    Olivia Mary de Havilland is a British American film and stage actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 and 1949. She is the elder sister of actress Joan Fontaine. The sisters are among the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s.-Early life:Olivia de Havilland...

     as Hermia, Joe E. Brown
    Joe E. Brown (comedian)
    Joseph Evans Brown was an American actor and comedian, remembered for his amiable screen persona, comic timing, and enormous smile. In 1902 at the age of nine, he joined a troupe of circus tumblers known as the Five Marvelous Ashtons which toured the country on both the circus and vaudeville...

     as Francis Flute
    Francis Flute
    Francis Flute is a character in the play A Midsummer Night's Dream. His occupation is a bellows-mender. He is forced to play the female role of Thisbe in "Pyramus and Thisbe", a play within the play which is performed for Theseus' marriage celebration....

    , Dick Powell
    Dick Powell
    Richard Ewing "Dick" Powell was an American singer, actor, producer, director and studio boss.Despite the same last name he was not related to William Powell, Eleanor Powell or Jane Powell.-Biography:...

     as Lysander
    Lysander (Shakespeare)
    Lysander is one of the iconic lovers in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. A handsome young man of Athens, Lysander is in love with Hermia and plans to run away from her father with her to escape Athenian law and wed. But his plans are disrupted when Oberon decides to have some...

     and Victor Jory
    Victor Jory
    Victor Jory was a Canadian actor.-Biography:Born in Dawson City, Yukon, Jory was the boxing and wrestling champion of the Coast Guard during his military service, and he kept his burly physique. He toured with theater troupes and appeared on Broadway, before making his Hollywood debut in 1930...

     as Oberon. Many of the actors in this version had never performed Shakespeare and never would do so again, notably Cagney and Brown, who were nevertheless highly acclaimed for their performances in the film.
  • A 1968 film version was directed by Peter Hall. The cast included Paul Rogers
    Paul Rogers (actor)
    Paul Rogers is an English actor of film, stage and television.Rogers was born in Plympton, Devon, England, and later trained at the Michael Chekhov Theatre Studio at Dartington Hall and made his film debut in 1932...

     as Bottom, Ian Holm
    Ian Holm
    Sir Ian Holm, CBE is an English actor known for his stage work and for many film roles. He received the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in The Homecoming and the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in the title role of King Lear...

     as Puck, Diana Rigg
    Diana Rigg
    Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, DBE is an English actress. She is probably best known for her portrayals of Emma Peel in The Avengers and Countess Teresa di Vicenzo in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service....

     as Helena, Helen Mirren
    Helen Mirren
    Dame Helen Mirren, DBE is an English actor. She has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.-Early life and family:...

     as Hermia, Ian Richardson
    Ian Richardson
    Ian William Richardson CBE was a Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of the Machiavellian Tory politician Francis Urquhart in the BBC's House of Cards trilogy. He was also a leading Shakespearean stage actor....

     as Oberon, Judi Dench
    Judi Dench
    Dame Judith Olivia "Judi" Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English film, stage and television actress.Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she played in several of William Shakespeare's plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo...

     as Titania, and Sebastian Shaw
    Sebastian Shaw (actor)
    Sebastian Lewis Shaw was an English actor, director, novelist, playwright and poet. During his 65-year career, Shaw appeared in dozens of stage performances and more than 40 film and television productions....

     as Quince. This film stars the Royal Shakespeare Company
    Royal Shakespeare Company
    The Royal Shakespeare Company is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs 700 staff and produces around 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon and plays regularly in London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on tour across...

    , and is directed by Peter Hall. It is sometimes confused with Peter Brook
    Peter Brook
    Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director and innovator, who has been based in France since the early 1970s.-Life:...

    's highly successful 1971 production, but the two are different, and Brook's production was never filmed. The fairies in Peter Hall's production wore green body paint. It received its U.S. premiere on CBS
    CBS
    CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

     as a television special
    Television special
    A television special is a television program which interrupts or temporarily replaces programming normally scheduled for a given time slot. Sometimes, however, the term is given to a telecast of a theatrical film, such as The Wizard of Oz or The Ten Commandments, which is not part of a regular...

     in early 1969.
  • A Midsummer Night's dream/Sen noci svatojánské (1969) was director by Czech animator Jiri Trnka
    Jirí Trnka
    Jiří Trnka was a Czech puppet maker, illustrator, motion-picture animator and film director. In addition to his extensive career as an illustrator, especially of children's books, he is best known for his work in animation with puppets, which began in 1946...

    . This was stop-motion puppet film that followed Shakespeare's story simply with a narrator.
  • A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
    A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
    A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy is a 1982 film written, directed by and starring Woody Allen.The plot is loosely based on Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night. This was the first of 13 movies that Allen would make starring Mia Farrow...

    (1982) was a film written and directed by Woody Allen
    Woody Allen
    Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

    . The plot is loosely based on Ingmar Bergman
    Ingmar Bergman
    Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

    's Smiles of a Summer Night
    Smiles of a Summer Night
    Smiles of a Summer Night a.k.a. Smiles on a Summer Night is a 1955 Swedish comedy film directed by Ingmar Bergman. It was the first of Bergman's films to bring the director international success, due to its exposure at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival...

    , with some elements from Shakespeare's play.
  • A 1996 adaptation directed by Adrian Noble
    Adrian Noble
    Adrian Keith Noble is a theatre director, and was also the artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1990 to 2003.-Education and career:...

    . The cast included Desmond Barrit
    Desmond Barrit
    Desmond Barrit is a Laurence Olivier Award winning, British actor, best known for his stage work.-Biography:Barrit was born on 19 October 1944 in Morriston, Swansea, Wales....

     as Bottom, Barry Lynch
    Barry Lynch
    Barry J. Lynch is an American actor. His brother, Richard Lynch, is also an actor who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation...

     as Puck, Alex Jennings
    Alex Jennings
    Alex Jennings is an English actor whose roles have included Charles, Prince of Wales in The Queen .-Early years:...

     as Oberon/Theseus, and Lindsay Duncan
    Lindsay Duncan
    Lindsay Vere Duncan, CBE is a Scottish stage, television and film actress. On stage she won two Olivier Awards and a Tony Award for her performance in Les Liaisons dangereuses and Private Lives , and she starred in several plays by Harold Pinter. Her most famous roles on television include:...

     as Titania/Hippolyta. This film is based on Noble's hugely popular Royal Shakespeare Company
    Royal Shakespeare Company
    The Royal Shakespeare Company is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs 700 staff and produces around 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon and plays regularly in London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on tour across...

     production. Its art design is eccentric, featuring a forest of floating light bulbs and a giant umbrella for Titania's bower.
  • A 1999 film version
    A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999 film)
    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1999 American film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Michael Hoffman. The ensemble cast features Kevin Kline as Bottom, Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Everett as Titania and Oberon, and Calista Flockhart, Anna Friel,...

     was written and directed by Michael Hoffman. The cast included Kevin Kline
    Kevin Kline
    Kevin Delaney Kline is an American theatre, voice, film actor and comedian. He has won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards, and has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and an Emmy Award.- Early life :...

     as Bottom
    Nick Bottom
    Nick Bottom is a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream who provides comic relief throughout the play, and is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of an ass by the elusive Puck within the play.- Overview :...

    , Rupert Everett
    Rupert Everett
    Rupert James Hector Everett is an English actor. He first came to public attention in 1981, when he was cast in Julian Mitchell's play and subsequent film Another Country as an openly gay student at an English public school, set in the 1930s...

     as Oberon, Michelle Pfeiffer
    Michelle Pfeiffer
    Michelle Marie Pfeiffer is an American actress. She made her film debut in 1980 in The Hollywood Knights, but first garnered mainstream attention with her performance in Brian De Palma's Scarface . Pfeiffer has won numerous awards for her work...

     as Titania, Stanley Tucci
    Stanley Tucci
    Stanley Tucci is an American actor, writer, film producer and film director. He has been nominated for several notable film awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in The Lovely Bones...

     as Puck
    Puck (Shakespeare)
    Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream that was based on the ancient figure in English mythology, also called Puck. Puck is a clever and mischievous elf and personifies the trickster or the wise knave...

    , Sophie Marceau
    Sophie Marceau
    Sophie Marceau is a French actress director, screenwriter, and author. She has appeared in 38 films. As a teenager, Marceau achieved popularity with her debut films La boum and La boum 2 , receiving a César Award for Most Promising Actress...

     as Hippolyta
    Hippolyta
    In Greek mythology, Hippolyta or Hippolyte is the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons....

    , Christian Bale
    Christian Bale
    Christian Charles Philip Bale is an English actor. Best known for his roles in American films, Bale has starred in both big budget Hollywood films and the smaller projects from independent producers and art houses....

     as Demetrius
    Demetrius
    Demetrius, also spelled as Demetrios, Dimitrios, Demitri, and Dimitri , is a male given name.Demetrius and its variations may refer to the following:...

    , Dominic West
    Dominic West
    Dominic Gerard Fe West is an English actor best known for his role as Detective Jimmy McNulty in the HBO drama series The Wire.-Film and TV:...

     as Lysander
    Lysander
    Lysander was a Spartan general who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC...

     and Calista Flockhart
    Calista Flockhart
    Calista Kay Flockhart is an American actress who is primarily recognized for her work in television. She is best known for playing the title character in the Fox comedy-drama series Ally McBeal for which she won a Golden Globe Award...

     as Helena
    Helena (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
    Helena is one of the iconic four young lovers in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and is a very desperate woman. She is generally interpreted as being tall, slim and blonde - her best friend Hermia calls her a "painted maypole" during an argument. Although she does not see herself...

    . This adaptation relocates the play's action from Athens
    Athens
    Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

     to a fictional Monte Athena, located in the Tuscany
    Tuscany
    Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

    , although all textual mentions of Athens were retained.
  • A 1999 version was written and directed by James Kerwin
    James Kerwin
    James Kerwin is an American film and theatre director.Kerwin, who attended Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Missouri, has been noted for his Shakespearean adaptations of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cardenio and Venus and Adonis...

    . The cast included Travis Schuldt
    Travis Schuldt
    Travis Schuldt is an American actor. He originated the role of Ethan Winthrop on the NBC soap opera Passions from 1999 to 2002, and played a recurring role of Keith Dudemeister in the sitcom Scrubs from 2006-2008.-Career:...

     as Demetrius
    Demetrius
    Demetrius, also spelled as Demetrios, Dimitrios, Demitri, and Dimitri , is a male given name.Demetrius and its variations may refer to the following:...

    . It set the story against a surreal backdrop of techno clubs and ancient symbols.
  • A Midsummer Night's Rave
    A Midsummer Night's Rave
    A Midsummer Night's Rave is a film adapted from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream released in 2002. It is set at a rave instead of in a forest, like the original.- Cast :*Corey Pearson - Damon *Lauren German - Elena...

    (2002) directed by Gil Cates Jr. changes the setting to a modern rave. Puck is a drug dealer, the magic flower called love-in-idleness is replaced with magic ecstasy, and the King and Queen of Fairies are the host of the rave and the DJ. Other differences include changing the character names such as 'Lysander' becoming 'Xander'.

TV productions

  • The 1981 BBC Television Shakespeare
    BBC Television Shakespeare
    The BBC Television Shakespeare was a set of television adaptations of the plays of William Shakespeare, produced by the BBC between 1978 and 1985.-Origins:...

     production was produced by Jonathan Miller
    Jonathan Miller
    Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller CBE is a British theatre and opera director, author, physician, television presenter, humorist and sculptor. Trained as a physician in the late 1950s, he first came to prominence in the 1960s with his role in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe with fellow writers and...

    . It starred Helen Mirren
    Helen Mirren
    Dame Helen Mirren, DBE is an English actor. She has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.-Early life and family:...

     as Titania, Peter McEnery
    Peter McEnery
    Peter McEnery is an English stage and film actor. His daughter Kate, by his first marriage to British actress Julie Peasgood, is an actress....

     as Oberon, Robert Lindsay
    Robert Lindsay (actor)
    Robert Lindsay is an English actor who is best known for his television work, especially his roles of Wolfie Smith in Citizen Smith, Michael Murray in G.B.H., Captain Sir Edward Pellew in Hornblower and Ben Harper in My Family which has been on television screens since 2000.-Early life:Lindsay was...

     as Lysander, Geoffrey Palmer
    Geoffrey Palmer (actor)
    Geoffrey Dyson Palmer, OBE is an English actor, best known for his roles in sitcoms such as Butterflies and As Time Goes By.-Career:...

     as Quince and Brian Glover
    Brian Glover
    Brian Glover was an English character actor, writer and wrestler. Glover was a professional wrestler, teacher, and finally a film, television and stage actor. He once said, "You play to your strengths in this game. My strength is as a bald-headed, rough-looking Yorkshireman".-Early life:Glover was...

     as Bottom.
  • In 2005 ShakespeaRe-Told
    ShakespeaRe-Told
    ShakespeaRe-Told is the umbrella title for a series of four television adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays broadcast on BBC One during November 2005. In a similar manner to the 2003 production of The Canterbury Tales, each play is adapted by a different writer, and relocated to the present day...

    , the BBC TV series, aired an updated of the play. It was written by Peter Bowker
    Peter Bowker
    Peter Bowker is a British playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for the television serials Blackpool , a musical drama about a shady casino owner; Occupation , which follows three military servicemen adjusting to civilian life after a tour of duty in Iraq; and Desperate Romantics , a...

    . The cast includes Johnny Vegas
    Johnny Vegas
    Johnny Vegas is an English actor and comedian. He is known for his angry rants, portly figure, high husky voice and support of St Helens rugby league club. More recently he has moved into dramatic acting.-Early life:He was born in St Helens, Lancashire, the youngest of four children of Laurence...

     as Bottom, Dean Lennox Kelly
    Dean Lennox Kelly
    Dean Lennox Kelly is an English actor, He is the brother of actor Craig Kelly.Dean is best known for his role as Kev Ball in Channel 4’s Shameless.-Career:...

     as Puck, Bill Paterson as Theo (a conflation of Theseus and Egeus), and Imelda Staunton
    Imelda Staunton
    Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton, OBE is an English actress. She is perhaps best known for her performances in the British comedy television series Up the Garden Path, the Harry Potter film series and Vera Drake...

     as his wife Polly (Hippolyta). Lennie James
    Lennie James
    Lennie James is an English actor and playwright.-Career:James attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1988...

     plays Oberon and Sharon Small
    Sharon Small
    Sharon Small is a Scottish actress acclaimed for her dramatic work in film, radio, theatre and television. Her best-known TV role is that of Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers in the BBC television adaptation of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries by Elizabeth George.-Education and personal life:Small...

     is Titania. Zoe Tapper
    Zoe Tapper
    Zoe Tapper is an English actress who first came to prominence playing Nell Gwynne in Richard Eyre's award-winning film Stage Beauty in 2004. She is known for portraying Anya Raczynski in Survivors and Mina Harker in Demons.-Background:...

     and Michelle Bonnard
    Michelle Bonnard
    Michelle Bonnard born in Bournville, Birmingham is an English actress. She attended the Central Junior Television Workshop before studying at LAMDA.- Career :...

     play Hermia and Helena.

Film and television references



Rehearsals for a performance of the play by American servicemen stationed in Kent during WW2 appear in the 1946 Powell and Pressburger film A Matter of Life and Death.

Porky's II: The Next Day
Porky's II: The Next Day
Porky's II: The Next Day is the 1983 sequel to the 1982 film Porky's. The film is written and directed by Bob Clark.-Plot:After dealing to Porky the "fatal" blow that was coming to him, the gang from Angel Beach is ready for a new challenge: The High School Drama Club is producing a Shakespeare...

: The entire high school class presents a Shakespeare festival, which the local redneck religious leaders hypocritically shut down on the grounds of indecency (they are later revealed to have been involved in scandalous behaviour themselves). One of the plays presented in the festival is A Midsummer Night's Dream, which the local preacher frowns on for having such lines as Theseus's " 'Tis almost fairy time".

Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in Vermont in 1959, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry.The script was written...

: The tragic protagonist of the movie Dead Poets Society, Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard
Robert Sean Leonard
Robert Sean Leonard is an American actor, who has regularly starred in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Since 2004 he has played the role of Dr. James Wilson on the TV series House...

), was cast as Puck in a local production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Only a few frames of his performance are seen, including the ending monologue which could be interpreted as a literary device used by the writer (Tom Schulman) to emphasise his unsuccessful plea to his father.

Disney's animated series Gargoyles
Gargoyles (TV series)
Gargoyles is an American animated series created by Greg Weisman. It was produced by Greg Weisman and Frank Paur and aired from October 24, 1994 to February 15, 1997. Gargoyles is known for its dark tone, complex story arcs and melodrama...

featured many characters from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, including Oberon, Titania, and, most prominently, Puck. In this series, Puck actually takes the form of Owen, loyal assistant to the main villain Xanatos. Later, Puck becomes the tutor for Xanatos' quarter-fae son, Alex. He is wily, sprightly, and willing to have fun at the expense of others.

Get Over It
Get Over It (film)
Get Over It is a 2001 American romantic comedy film about a teenage boy whose girlfriend ends their relationship. The film was directed by Tommy O'Haver for Miramax Films. The film stars Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Melissa Sagemiller, Sisqó, Colin Hanks, Shane West, and Martin Short. R. Lee Fleming,...

: The 2001 film stars Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Caroline Dunst is an American actress, singer and model. She made her film debut in Oedipus Wrecks, a short film directed by Woody Allen for the anthology New York Stories...

 (Kelly Woods/Helena), Ben Foster (Berke Landers/Lysander), Melissa Sagemiller (Allison McAllister/Hermia) and Shane West (Bentley 'Striker' Scrumfeld/Demetrius) in a "teen adaptation" of Shakespeare's play. The characters are set in high school, and in addition to some similarities in plot, there is a sub-plot involving the main characters acting in a musical production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Were the World Mine
Were the World Mine
Were the World Mine is a 2008 romantic musical fantasy film directed by Tom Gustafson and written by Gustafson and Cory James Krueckeberg.Were the World Mine is a story of gay empowerment, inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream...

,
a 2008 musical independent film, involves a gay student cast in the role of Puck in his high school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The plot revolves around the boy actually making the love-in-idleness potion and turning his crush, classmates and other residents of his town temporarily gay.

Astronomy


British Astronomer William Herschel
William Herschel
Sir Frederick William Herschel, KH, FRS, German: Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel was a German-born British astronomer, technical expert, and composer. Born in Hanover, Wilhelm first followed his father into the Military Band of Hanover, but emigrated to Britain at age 19...

 named the two moons of Uranus
Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus , the father of Cronus and grandfather of Zeus...

 he discovered in 1787 after characters in the play, Oberon
Oberon (moon)
Oberon , also designated ', is the outermost major moon of the planet Uranus. It is the second largest and second most massive of the Uranian moons, and the ninth most massive moon in the Solar System. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, Oberon is named after the mythical king of the fairies...

 and Titania
Titania (moon)
Titania is the largest of the moons of Uranus and the eighth largest moon in the Solar System at a diameter of 1578 km. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, Titania is named after the queen of the fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream...

.

External links