Costume Design presentation for a midsummer night's dream

Authors Avatar

Costume Design presentation for a midsummer night’s dream

One of the noteworthy aspects of A Midsummer Night's Dream is the use of fairies. In Elizabethan times and even the Middle Ages, we know that fairies were in fact depicted as ugly, human-sized creatures who were feared. Housewives would leave treats out at night to entice fairies to help with the chores; a negligent housewife might awaken to find her kitchen wrecked or her body black and blue from pinching( a favourite of the fairies). Fairies would lead travellers into bogs and ditches on country roads and punish immoral behaviour by killing off livestock. Worst of all, fairies would replace healthy newborn babies with deformed or diseased "changelings." Shakespeare, however, was the first person to portray fairies as graceful and caring (though admittedly mischievous).

Eighteenth-century audiences saw a number of musical adaptations of the play that used little of Shakespeare's original text. An 1843 production in Germany introduced the famous score of Felix Mendelssohn, used in countless subsequent productions. Mendelssohn's score included his "Wedding March."

Shakespeare's text took centre stage again in the 20th century, with several landmark productions. A popular 1935 film version directed by Max Reinhardt with  a spectacular dance of fairies through the woods; the film was billed as a romantic escape from the Great Depression. Peter Brook directed a revolutionary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1970. Set in a roofless white box, his production featured actors on trapeze, catwalks and stilts and dressed in modern tie-dyed tunics. Though panned by some critics, the production is acclaimed as the first production to remove the play from the literal world of Athens and the woods, a practice that has become commonplace in contemporary theatre. Besides the Mendelssohn score there have been films; operas by Purcell (The Fairy Queen), Orff and Britten; and a 1939 jazz version (Swingin' The Dream) with the "mechanicals" replaced by the Benny Goodman Sextet and with Louis Armstrong as Bottom.

Join now!

Few Shakespearean productions have run the gamut of critical deconstruction as A Midsummer Night's Dream has. Over the years it has been interpreted as a light-hearted, fluffy frolic, a sombre meditation on sexual politics and an examination of latent violence, even bestiality. At its heart, however, it is a mature, complex play about the nature of love, marriage and, most of all, the imagination. As an artist, Shakespeare was obviously interested in the power of the imagination; as an artist in a romantic age, he virtually worshipped it.
The journey into the forest in this play is a journey into ...

This is a preview of the whole essay