Posts Tagged: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

‘In the spiced Indian air’: Trading coin and cloth in the empire of the Great Mughal

The spiced air of India was the stuff of legend in Shakespeare’s England, and is brought to vivid life in this famous passage from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” These were images which Shakespeare knew his audiences would understand, during a period in which England had begun its sea voyages to Asia in earnest, and the fabulous possibilities of directly accessing the merchandise of India were being realized for the first time.


And so they play their parts: Double-casting Shakespeare’s plays

Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.


“Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen”: Hedgehogs in Shakespeare’s plays and the early modern imagination

While the global population of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) is stable, their numbers have been rapidly declining in the UK for decades, especially in rural areas. This has led to a huge upswell of conservation efforts as people try to protect the UK’s only spiny mammal, and one of these efforts is centered in Shakespeare’s… Continue Reading »


Drawing Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Artist Paul Glenshaw takes a close look at Titania and Bottom as he draws the scene from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” depicted on a Folger bas-relief.



Excerpt: Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

“Fools and Mortals,” a new novel from New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, tells the story of the first production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Elizabethan England, from the perspective of William Shakespeare’s younger brother Richard.





America’s Shakespeare: The Bard goes west to Hollywood

Shakespeare has provided rich material for Hollywood’s film industry over the decades, from The Taming of the Shrew (1967) with Elizabeth Taylor to 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) with Julia Stiles. Given this, an exhibition about Shakespeare in America (and especially in California), such as the one on display at the Los Angeles… Continue Reading »