A Midsummer Night’s Dream

After visiting William Shakespeare’s home earlier this summer I decided that it was time for me to read more of his works.  I know, how did I get through school without reading his plays?  Surprising, I only had to read one of them, Romeo and Juliet, which I enjoyed. I didn’t enjoy reading my part in front of the class, but acting has never been my thing.

Part of Carl’s Once Upon a Time Challenge is a June reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. You probably know that it’s August now. So I wasn’t successful in squeezing this one in during the “proper” month. However, I’m not big on deadlines. I used to have a job that had several deadlines each day. And I met them. I don’t let deadlines dictate my private life though. Stress is just not worth it. Anyhoos, I finally read the play and I’m so glad that I did. Thanks for the inspiration Carl!

The tale has several plots that are woven together. Four Athenian lovers have nothing but problems since two men are in love with the same woman and the other woman is in love with one of the guys who is not interested in her.  Love, it’s never easy.  Then for a little comedy, there are six amateur actors who are rehearsing a play.  I got the feeling that they weren’t the smartest of people.  To add even more layers to the story, Shakespeare includes fairies who like to interfere and have fun with the humans.  The King and Queen of the fairies have a competition, which impacts almost everyone in the play.  All of the plots are connected by the upcoming marriage of Theseus, Duke of Athens and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.

I enjoyed reading the play and I can see why it’s one of his most popular.  But now I would like to see it.  Plays are fun to read, however, I think it’s best to hear and see the actors.  Does anyone have any suggestions for movies that captures the true essence of the play?

Up next is Macbeth.

Below you will find some of the photos I took during my visit to Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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46 Responses to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  1. Good for you for reading this, TBM. There are still so many cultural references to Shakespeare and this play, in particular. Have you seen the movie version, with Rupert Everet and Michelle Pfiffer playing the fairy king and queen? Worth watching if you’re looking to see the story played out!

  2. I like both the 1999 American version and the British version from the 60’s with Helen Mirren Judi Dench and Diana Rigg.
    Not a big fan of the Hollywood 1935 version with Mickey Rooney and Olivia de Havilland ( among many others)

  3. The Hook says:

    Enjoy your foray into The Bard’s work, my friend!

  4. aFrankAngle says:

    As a literary guy, I imagine the visit to anything Shakespeare must be a thrill.

  5. letizia says:

    What lovely photos – I haven’t had a chance to visit Stratford-upon-Avon yet so was happy to see them 🙂 I can’t think of any movies that I felt really did Shakespeare justice but I’ll be checking the comments here for suggestions as would love to hear any good recommendations as well! Enjoy Macbeth!

  6. polly says:

    Good for you, I could never read shakepeare.

  7. paulaacton says:

    I would say if you get chance go see it as a play, especially if you can get an open air performance, I saw Midsummers at Kirkstall Abbey a few years ago with Wayne Sleep as Puck the setting was with the sun setting during the course of the performance

  8. pagesofjulia says:

    Can’t help with a movie version, but I highly recommend seeing it in the theatre! I’ve probably seen this play produced over a dozen times, each time different and highly enjoyable. It’s amazing how well the Bard translates to the modern stage (without changing language or anything); I’ve never failed to love it live. And the good news is this is one of the more popular for productions even now, so you should be able to track one down. Glad you enjoyed the reading. I think it’s lovely.

    • TBM says:

      I do enjoy the theater. My mom introduced me at a young age and I was hooked right away. I’ll take your advice and look for some productions.

  9. Geoff W says:

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my favorite of his. I’ve only read 4-5 of them, but it’s always stayed above the rest for me.

  10. Carl V. says:

    This is my favorite version, as it is the movie version of the Royal Shakespeare Company performing it as I saw this same cast do it years ago on Broadway. It IS the play, so it is very faithful:

    http://www.amazon.com/Midsummer-Nights-Dream-Lindsay-Duncan/dp/B000068QPX/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1344963063&sr=1-4&keywords=midsummer+night%27s+dream

    I’m glad you enjoyed reading it! It is so much fun. Another really fun read is Much Ado About Nothing followed up with the Kenneth Branaugh film version. Excellent!

    • TBM says:

      I’ve seen the Much Ado movie and loved it. I should read the play and watch the movie again. Gosh, that came out years ago didn’t it? Thanks for the link Carl. I’ll look into it!

  11. fgassette says:

    I am glad you were committed to reading Midsummer Nights Dream despite the time restraints. Your wonderful photos added additional information to your wonderful review of the play. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  12. When I was in England a few years ago, we took a side trip to Stratford. It was such a treat to see the Bard’s boyhood home. The gardens were beautiful.
    I’ve never read Midsummer Night’s Dream, but now I’m thinking I should add it to the list.

  13. Fergiemoto says:

    I remember your posting about visiting Shakespeare’s home. Great shots! Good for you for completing the book. I read Macbeth a looooooong time ago.

  14. Valentina says:

    I have read all the Shakespeare’s plays and also in my car I carry the plays on a CD collection I bought from The Teaching Company. I spent a very pleasurable time with Shakespeare.

  15. Gilly Gee says:

    Twelfth Night Twelfth Night Twelfth Night!

    • TBM says:

      I’m sensing you want me to read this one. I looked it up and it takes place around Christmas time. I’ll do my best to get to it in December. thanks for the tip!

  16. IsobelandCat says:

    I don’t know of a film, but I think it is on at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this year.

  17. Caroline says:

    I have seen the one or the other movie based on this play but not read it. I’ve read Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Macbeth. I liked them all, they all have fantastic elements.

  18. niasunset says:

    This is great post and so beautiful photographs… I love this place and house… Shakespeare the greatest one, for all times… Thank you, dear TBM, love, nia

  19. Karen H. says:

    This is my favorite Shakespeare play. The only movie I have seen is the Rupert Everett version, but I really enjoyed it. Stanley Tucci plays Puck and he is hilarious! I’d love to see it live someday. I saw it on a field trip once when I was in school, but it was pretty dumbed down. 🙂

  20. pattisj says:

    I wasn’t much into reading Shakespeare in school, when it “had” to be done. Julius Caesar was the one we read in class. I did like the movie version of Romeo and Juliet from 1968, when I myself was a teen.

  21. Myra GB says:

    Hi TBM, we’re thinking of doing a Classics Theme next year. 🙂 We’d most likely throw Shakespeare into the glorious mix. 🙂

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