To mark the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare, Fantasy Faire is staging a special production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of the bard’s best-loved plays.
Featuring the Fairelands Players, the play we be performed on the Litfest region, Otherworld, with live simu-broadcasts on Fantasy Faire Radio, and Radio Riel, and which will be livestreamed by Aview TV.
You can read about the cast and programme in full here.
Well-loved the play may well be, but not everyone is familiar with Shakespeare, so, what’s it all about?
In short: it’s a tale of love, magic, misunderstandings, complete with a hint of bestiality (all in the best possible taste 🙂 ), and a cast of thousands. OK, so maybe not thousands, but rather a lot, and keeping track of them can be a bit of a job,. So in summary, there’s:
The four Athenian lovers: Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander are in love, but Hermia’s father want her to marry Demetrius. Helena is Hermia’s best friend, and loves Demetrius, who only has eyes for Hermia. Got that?
The Fairies: Queen Titania, King Oberon, and his sidekick, Puck (there are others, but I’m taking the KISS approach here 🙂 ). Oberon and Titania are having a custody dispute over a human child. She wants to raise the boy, he wants the boy as a servant.
The Mechanicals (a group of local yokels): Peter Quince, Francis Flute, Robin Starveling, tom Snout, Snug, and the obnoxious Nick bottom. These lads are preparing to stage a play to mark the wedding of Theseus, the Duke of Athens to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
The court: the aforementioned Theseus, Hippolyta, assorted courtiers and Egeus, Hermia’s dad, who has determined she will marry Demetrius or face death, and has sought Theseus to see if he had persuade Hermia to do her father’s bidding.
And so to the plot.
Refusing to heed her father’s orders, Hermia runs away with Lysander and they hide in the nearby woods. Demetrius sets off in pursuit, Helena in tow.
Meanwhile… in the woods, the yokels start their rehearsals while Oberon a fit of pettiness, tells Puck to slip Titania a magic potion as she sleeps. This will make her fall in love with the first thing she sees on waking up, thus forgetting the human boy, whom Oberon can claim for his own. This Puck does.
Job done, Puck reports back to Oberon and is instructed to use the potion on Demetrius as well, so he’ll fall in love with Helena. Sadly, Puck has no idea what Demetrius looks like, and ends up giving the potion to Lysander, who falls in love with Helena. Trying to correct things, Oberon gives the potion to Demetrius, arranging for him to see Helena, and so fall for her as well.
So, suddenly Hermia is bereft of lovers and blames Helena, and Helena has two suitors when she desires only one, and determines both are mocking her. Meanwhile, both men, besotted with Helena, determine to settle things by the sword.
Oberon, somewhat annoyed by Puck’s mistake with Demetrius, orders him to keep the two men apart all through the night by leading them each a merry dance through the woods, impersonating Lysander to Demetrius and Demetrius to Lysander.
Despite having his hands full, when he chances on the company of players and witnesses Bottom being an ass, Puck cannot resist giving him a donkey’s head, leaving him shunned by his mates, so he wanders around the woods and happens upon the enchanted Titania, who chooses that moment to wake up, thus falling in love with him.
Having nabbed the boy, Oberon opts to put things to rights. Bottom’s natural head is restored, the spell is lifted from Titania, the Athenian couples are correctly united (Lysander and Hermia, Helena and Demetrius), and there’s a jolly triple wedding with Theseus and Hippolyta. Which all just leaves Puck delivers one of Shakespeare’s famous monologues:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
So… with that said… all that’s left is to enjoy the play.
Seats at Otherworld are liable to fill quickly, so don’t forget you can watch via the liverstream or – if you computer will allow – As you will be able to hear the audio on the Fantasy Faire Radio stream, you can actually watch the performance by camming in from Twilight Illusion (please do not use Echtra for this, as there will a role-play in progress).