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A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Introduction

A Midsummer Night's Dream. Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is a play of romantic comedy. It is one of Shakespeare's more famous comedies and has been performed by many different actors. The production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' that I watched was performed in London's Regents Park by the Open Air Theatre Company. The play was successful because of the dramatical techniques and acting shown by the performers. This essay explores the techniques and acting, and compares them to a cinema production of the same play. The play takes place in the Greek City of Athens, about the same time as Shakespeare. There are three main groups of people in the play, the fairies, the lovers and the mechanicals. Each has a specific role in the plot of the play, and their separate worlds get intertwined during the middle section of the play. All the groups meet in the woods just outside of Athens, and it is here that the main section of the play happens. The fairies accidentally put a love potion into Lysander's eyes, making him fall in love with Helena. They then put the love potion into Demetrius's eyes in an attempt to rectify the situation. While this is happening the mechanicals have come to the woods to rehearse their play. Puck, one of the fairies turns Bottom into an ass, and makes Titania, the Queen of the fairies fall in love with him by using the love juice. Each of the worlds are then separated and they return to their normal way of life and to the Wedding of the Duke of Athens to Hippolyta. ...read more.

Middle

In the film, however, Bottom is portrayed as what one might call a 'struggling artist' with fine clothes, much out of place for his menial job. The clothes, although being better in comparison to the other mechanicals, are still cheaper than those of the lovers are. More importantly, Bottom is admired less by the mechanicals in this production, and there is more a sense of them putting up with Bottom's antics. This scene is where the audience's sense of sympathy arises. Also in this scene we are introduced to the other mechanicals, Peter Quince- a carpenter, Snug-the joiner, Flute- the bellows mender, Snout-the tinker and Starveling the tailor. Each has certain comic elements, Quince's being his short-temper with Bottom, which is emphasised more in the Open-Air production and less in the film. Snug in both performances is portrayed as being rather thick, which is suggested by Shakespeare with the line 'Have you the lion's part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.' In the film this is emphasised more by having Snug speak also with a dialect. Flute features very little in the play until the play within the play. In both productions, Flute delivers his monologue as Thisby with such emotion that the audience and even the other mechanicals are dumbstruck. This is played upon more in the Open-Air performance, with the rest of the mechanicals looking round the stage at Flute in amazement. Snout performs his part in the play within the play to much amusement. In the Open-Air production, his emphasis on the word wall, makes him all the more funny. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this scene Titania is making sexual remarks to Bottom, and is coming on to him quite strongly. In the Open-Air production, Bottom is oblivious to this and is not aware of Titania's desires. In the film however, there is an obvious suggestion that they actually do have sex, this is connected once more to the sympathy we feel towards Bottom, that makes him seem more human. Whereas in the Open-Air production Bottom is almost larger than life, so his ignorance to Titania's come-ons provides comedy. With the lovers one scene which is played differently in each production is II, ii, 35-65. In this scene Lysander is trying to get Hermia to sleep with him, and Hermia is refusing. The Open-Air production emphasises the comic side once again, where as the film focuses on the sexual side. There is a certain amount of farce within the lovers, where we have a comic reversal of Lysander and Hermia's situation, in which Helena is trying to get Demetrius to sleep with her. This is typical of Shakespeare's humour and adds to the comic elements of the play. In conclusion both productions are successful for different reasons. The film focuses greatly on the sexual side of the play, emphasising the more romantic and lustful gestures that could be made. The Open-Air production, however, focuses more on the comic elements of the play, drawing-out the humorous side to the love scenes. Personally I preferred the Open-Air production because I felt it had a good balance between the romantic and the comic sides of the play. All in all the different dramatical techniques and acting used in each performance allows two versions of the same play to be vastly different. ?? ?? ?? ?? Laura Kousoulou 4W ...read more.

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