The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2151 Monday, 6 December 1999.
Date: Sunday, 5 Dec 1999 04:37:48 -0800
Subject: Midsummer Night's Dream--on video
Finally saw the video with Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Kevin
Kline, et al.
I'm dissolved in a glowy boneless puddle of well-being. The last time I
had this Shakespearean high was at A.J. Antoon's Midsummer done for the
NYSF. What Antoon accomplished with Samba rhythms, this film achieves
with delicious, drenching opera. The fairies rule. Theseus, mortal, is a
mere duke. Oberon is king. And our king loves us. Poor, unloved Helena
is seen and it immediately becomes the king's business to bring her
happiness. And he does it with the intention of having everybody happy.
When the plan goes awry, he insists on it being fixed. At the last, he
orders the blessing of the lovers and their beds. This is a king whose
rule maintains the well-being of all his kingdom. Unlike Hermia's
father, he will not interfere with true love. Rupert Everett's sensual,
controlled passion is a masterpiece .
Theseus, lower on the chain of command, takes longer to overrule the
The church is a distant place of rules and restrictions (Hermia's
choice: marriage, nunnery, or death).
That's fine, because nothing can go wrong for long in Oberon's cherished
and protected kingdom.