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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1201  Thursday, 24 May 2001

[1]     From:   Bill Walsh <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 23 May 2001 11:35:06 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

[2]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 23 May 2001 11:59:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

[3]     From:   Robert Peters <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 23 May 2001 18:53:59 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Walsh <
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Date:           Wednesday, 23 May 2001 11:35:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
Comment:        SHK 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

This discussion made me think of a passage from Jan Kott's The Bottom
Translation:

"Death" and "dead" are uttered twenty-eight times; "dying" and "die"
occur fourteen times.  The field of "death" appears in nearly fifty
verses of A Midsummer Night's Dream and is distributed almost evenly
among the events in the forest and the play at Theseus' wedding...In A
Midsummer Night's Dream, which has often been called a happy comedy of
love, "kiss" and "kissing" occur only six times, always within the
context of burlesque; "joy" occurs eight times, "happy" six, and
"happiness" none.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Wednesday, 23 May 2001 11:59:07 -0400
Subject: 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

>>Watching a production of MND at my local theatre I once again realized
> what a cruel and depressing piece this "comedy" is. The same guy who
>>presented us in Romeo and Juliet two lovers who are absolutely sure of
>>their love for each other he shows us in MND that every object of love
>>is exchangable.

Actually, only the men (D and L) change the object of their affections.
The women (H and H) remain constant to the men throughout the play.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Peters <
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Date:           Wednesday, 23 May 2001 18:53:59 +0200
Subject: 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1189 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

Don Bloom wrote:

>I would guess you saw a bad production -- in the sense that the director
>never understood the play to begin with and is under the influence of
>one of those people who always want to make everything in Shakespeare
>ugly, dark, sinister and depressing.

No, it was a very good and very good-humoured production with a lot to
laugh. But in the end the lovers couldn't live together anymore - which
makes perfect sense for me.

>There are, of course, dark elements to the play, the more so, I suppose,
>because of the perfervid imagination of WS. But once again the director
>(like the critic) has to make choices: what is most important, what
>less, what least. A reading / production of MND as you describe it is to
>me "bad" or "wrong" because I think the choice has been made to
>emphasize elements of lesser importance at the expense of those of much
>greater importance.  Presenting "Dream" as tragedy is exactly equivalent
>to presenting "Lear" as farce. It can be done, but why bother?

Well, maybe because it can produce interesting insights. I found it much
more worth my time to be left with profound thoughts about the nature of
love instead of "just" having a good laugh.

Robert Peters

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