In this research piece of research I plan to delve into the life of Shakespeare and the play we are performing, a midsummers night dream.
William Shakespeare was born in Warwickshire, Stratford -upon-Avon on the 26th of April 1564. He was John and Mary Shakespeare’s oldest Child. Their first two children, both girls, did not live beyond infancy, however John and Mary did have three other children all whom were boys. Gilbert, Richard and Edmund, and two younger younger sisters; Anne and Joan. Anne sadly died when she reached the age of seven. Their father John was a thriving business man in the line of soft white leather that was used for gloves and other items of similar making. He then married Mary, after which he began to rise in the local offices and became an alderman ( A co-opted member of an English county or borough council, next in status to the Mayor.) then an bailiff. Although when William was five years old he made the choice to step away form this position. As William was apart of a leading Stratford family he attended Stratford’s Grammar School. In 1582 William married a woman called Anne Hathaway, William was 18 at this point and Anne was 26, they were wedded on November the 28th and had a child called Susanna six months after the ceremony. Two years later the couple also had twins called Judith and Hamnet, unfortunately Hamnet died when he was eleven during one of the frequent outbreaks of the bubonic plague.
A midsummer night’s dream.
“Theseus, duke of Athens, is preparing for his marriage to Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, with a four-day festival of pomp and entertainment. He commissions his Master of the Revels, Philostrate, to find suitable amusements for the occasion. Egeus, an Athenian nobleman, marches into Theseus’s court with his daughter, Hermia, and two young men, Demetrius and Lysander. Egeus wishes Hermia to marry Demetrius (who loves Hermia), but Hermia is in love with Lysander and refuses to comply. Egeus asks for the full penalty of law to fall on Hermia’s head if she flouts her father’s will. Theseus gives Hermia until his wedding to consider her options, warning her that disobeying her father’s wishes could result in her being sent to a convent or even executed. Nonetheless, Hermia and Lysander plan to escape Athens the following night and marry in the house of Lysander’s aunt, some seven leagues distant from the city. They make their intentions known to Hermia’s friend Helena, who was once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him even though he jilted her after meeting Hermia. Hoping to regain his love, Helena tells Demetrius of the elopement that Hermia and Lysander have planned. At the appointed time, Demetrius stalks into the woods after his intended bride and her lover; Helena follows behind him.” http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/msnd/summary.html
- Lysander: Lysander is a young handsome man who falls in love with Hermia but they cannot openly wed as her father Egeus wishes her to wed Demetrious, Lysander and Hermias relationship stimulates the theme of the difficulty of love.
- Demetrious: Demetrious initially in love with Hermia but ultimately falls in love with Helena. It is his pursuit of Hermia that throws love out of balance within the group.
- Hermia: Egeus daughter who is in love with Lysader and is childhood friend with Helena but as a result of the fairies’ mischief with Oberon’s love potion, both Lysander and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena.
- Helena: in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena were once betrothed, but when Demetrius met Helena’s friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and abandoned Helena.
- Puck: can also known as Robin Goodfellow, ( we are splitting this role in our performance of the show so we will have Robin and Puck). Puck is Oberon’s jester, a mischievous fairy who takes joy in playing marvellous pranks on mortals such as the lovers. His enchanting, mischievous spirit disrupts the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that launch the other main plot for example he mistakes the young men and instead of applying the love potion to Demetrius he applies it to Lysander. consequently causing chaos within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass.
- Oberon: The king of the fairies, Oberon is initially his wits end with his wife, Titania. This is because she refuses to abdicate control of the young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight.
- Titania: She is the beautiful queen of the fairies, Titania combats the constant attempts of her husband, Oberon, to make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given. This makes Oberon very angry and tells puck to use the love potion on her. Titania’s brief, potion-induced love for Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass.
- Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed: The fairies ordered by Titania to attend to Bottom after she falls in love with him.
- Nick Bottom: The cocky weaver chosen to play Pyramus in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Bottom is full of advice and self-confidence but frequently makes silly mistakes and misuses language. Later on in the play his head gets changed into an ass
- Peter Quince: A carpenter and the A carpenter and the official leader of the craftsmen’s attempt to put on a play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Although Quince is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom who enjoys the lime light.
- Francis Flute: The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Forced to play a young girl in love, the bearded craftsman determines to speak his lines in a high, squeaky voice. This role has lots of room for comical value and I think would be a good idea to put him in a bad form of drag when he is playing the woman. Much like in a pantomime but on a very low budget.
- Robert starveling: The tailor chosen to play Thisbe’s mother in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Moonshine. Again another panto drag for the mother would be a very funny comedy duet.
- Tom Snout: The tinker chosen to play Pyramus’s father in the craftsmen’s play for the celebration. He ends up playing the part of Wall, dividing the two lovers.
- Snug: The joiner chosen to play the lion in the play for the celebration. Snug has a rather large worry that the roar will be too loud and frighten the ladies in the audience so it ends up begin small like a cat sound.
- Philostrate: Theseus’s Master of the Revels, responsible for organizing the entertainment for the duke’s marriage celebration.