A Midsummer Night's Dream
by William Shakespeare
Stetson University Stover Theatre
April 1996

A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most original plays, combining elements from several different sources, and inventing some of his own. In the play, four lovers escape to the wilderness to flee the harsh law that keeps them apart. They soon find themselves in a realm of enchantment and confusion, as they become subject to the whims of the creatures who rule the Fairy kingdom. With the juice from a magic flower, the four youths' love interests are made to change from one to another, causing them great confusion in this comedy of errors.

There is a mystical side to this play as well. The fairies of Shakespeare's imagination are not all gossamer winged flower-dwellers. Some are goblin, trolls, and elves, and not always kind to the unfortunate mortals who wander into their forest at night. A dream may also become a nightmare, and this aspect of this play was given due treatment in the Stover production.

There were two conceptual settings for the play. The city-state of Athens represented order, law, and tradition, while the forest underneath (or more accurately, behind) represented the chaotic, primal, supernatural fabric of human personalities.

The visual design of this production emphasized the postmodern penchant for collage and disunity. The King of the Fairies was reminiscent of a Druid, the Queen of an Arabian dancer, Puck of a Pan-like creature who emerged from underneath the stage to deliver her(!) epilogue. The other fairies were costumed in a similarly eclectic manner. The scene design was a combination of a fairy playground and Stonehenge. Celtic and British folk music was also employed.

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Copyright 2003 by Ken McCoy.