A Tale of Woe...and Who is "Woo'd": A Midsummer Night's Dream

Abstract:

I chose to do prompt 2 and watched the IPFW’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. This is very broad, but I think by watching the first Act I got to see the characters all-around as livelier. In the book (despite the descriptions by Shakespeare I don’t get to the those that are dramatic, except through actions...not expressions). I cannot just pick one character to discuss, because they’re all fun and interesting to see and analyze.  

 

Like, in the very beginning, I see that fight that led to Theseus “winning the love of Hippolyta”. I didn’t pay much attention to it before in the book, but here you see movement. You see them both genuinely putting up a fight. Then you see Theseus win, and suddenly Hippolyta is his, no questions asked. 

I also see the arrogant and dominant Egeus tatter in, trying to get Hermia to marry Demetrius.  I see masculinity that Theseus clearly wants to impress to Hermia, about her father’s opinion is her opinion and she should essentially do as she is told. I see how strong Hermia was, standing up for him, even though it was not “her place”. Even her restraining herself after a moment in hopes of her being understood better and listened to showed strength (of which I didn’t consider a characteristic of hers until now). There’s Hippolyta standing in the background, disappointed with Theseus but thinking she cannot say anything...yet she comforts Hermia in her moment of distress when he turns to Lysander instead.  

I see Lysander actually wanting to love Hermia authentically, and arguing their case. Demetrius just wants her beauty and thinks he can have her just because Egeus tells him so. Lysander was willing to stand up for himself and own things up (like not having much money) to be with her regardless. And Egeus truly believes he owns Hermia, even having a contract to show before Theseus. Him thinking she’s betrayed him...just by falling in love is an unfathomable idea, because he didn’t orchestrate it. I see Theseus's unfairness when at the end he’s still saying if she doesn’t wed Demetrius, she will be single, a nun, or dead. He goes on to Hippolyta to come to him...but she turns away, showing her disgust, and letting her opinion known. Theseus is truly surprised and baffled by such a deed.  

Following, I see Hermia’s fear and trying to distance herself from Lysander briefly after this situation. She’s panicking... at least until he proposes while Egeus and Demetrius are still taking up stuff with Theseus. Now she’s smiling with glee. We see Hermia accidentally tell Helena about the marriage when trying to reassure her she doesn’t want Demetrius. Lysander is upset by this, but still tells her...but I think asks her not to tell (yet she does). You see Hermia have a genuine goodbye to Helena...who turns around (and even though now she has Demetrius to herself and didn’t have to) she tells Demtrius about the plan. Truly dislike her. She’s dumb. I see how polite Lysander is, but also how somewhat anxious he can be. He's a nice guy, even getting embarrassed when Helena sees them kiss. Even wishes her well with Demetrius. 

 

The following scene shows the mechanicals (who honestly prior I did not pay much attention to, and don't fully understand). But now I see how dopey the mechanicals can be, like the seven dwarfs. I see the acting teacher...and Bottom who doesn’t shut up. The acting teacher even starts to get a little annoyed. Bottom is passionate though and goofy. Before, I just thought of his as dumb. But he seems like okay (not a horrid) actor, like when he’s discussing the play and acting out his role. They all clap at the end. He still doesn’t shut up. It continues on to show more of the mechanicals. Francis Goodfellow (“Flute”) is jittery and joyful. Flute’s not happy about playing a girl. Bottom wants his part...and every part I’m sure. Bottom thinks he can play any and every part and it’s a bit rude and over the top, but he means well. The acting teacher is not having it. Mechanicals proceed to argue and at Bottom (lol). Bottom leaves and they follow him. Tell him he must play Pyramus...then says he’ll take it then. Clearly, he is one for the flair of the dramatic.  

All around, these are characters alive and well, like you and I. They’re not just words on a page. This production allowed me to see that.