Posts Tagged: A Midsummer Night’s Dream



John, Paul, Pyramus, and Thisbe: The Beatles performing Shakespeare

Did you know that the Beatles once performed the “Pyramus and Thisbe” scene from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”? Although they mainly stick to Shakespeare’s script, the moments when they play with the text stand out.



Look at Our Bottoms

The Folger has some really fantastic Bottoms. Seriously! Just look at these Bottoms!


A 16th-century love charm of frog bones

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, much of the comedic conflict derives from the application of the nectar of a magic flower. Under its influence, the queen of the fairies (Titania) becomes enamored of a donkey, and, through a bit of a mix-up, a spurned woman (Helena) suddenly finds herself desired by the man who… Continue Reading »


Introducing Shakespeare and Greek Myths: Theseus and Hippolyta

Welcome to our new Shakespeare and Greek Myths series. We’re starting off with Theseus and Hippolyta–figures who are not only referred to in the plays, but are also fully formed characters in two of them: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Two Noble Kinsmen. But who are they and what are their backstories?


“Good Peter Quince:” Shakespeare’s most autobiographical character

 A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays, and for good reason. Frequently a young person’s introduction to the playwright’s work, it’s an entertaining comedy filled with magical fairies, earnest lovers, and funny mechanicals (as well as — in the best productions — intensely earnest mechanicals and lovers who are also… Continue Reading »


‘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.