Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE 2016 24 DIRECTOR’S NOTES / terri mcmahon DRAMATURG’S NOTES / Michael Warren If A Midsummer Night’s Dream were an ice cream cone, it would teeter with four big scoops. Mint chocolate chip for argumentative fairies, mischievous and philosophical. Vanilla bean for the sophisticated court of Athens, minimalist and classic. Rocky road for struggling adolescent lovers breaking from parental ties. Cookie dough for Athenian workers resourcefully determined to star in their first play. The cone might melt on itself, and now we have a bowl of soupy cream even more audacious with four flavors blending, yet still holding distinct tastes of chocolate bits, marshmallow, and dough. I imagine Shakespeare’s brilliantly constructed Dream has intentions of being experienced in this manner: delicious interwoven strands that make up the tapestry of a rich and complex comedy. I am a fan girl of any kind of production of this play. Every high school rendition, reduced grade school offering, version with bestial overtones, or Edwardian gauzy-lace fairy fantasy delights me because I think how can one play produce so many justified interpretations? Art invites you to share it from wherever you are. If you are an empiricist paddling around your measurable universe, then practical Duke Theseus’s description of the imagination of “The lunatic, the lover and the poet” is right up your alley. If you are wading in the madness and stress of adolescence as my sleepy, dreamy 16-year-old is, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is for you. If you have fantasized winning a Tony Award for your shower crooning, this play is definitely for you. And if you are willing to offer your naïve imagination to the train wreck of love at first sight induced by intense fairy-flower-juice, sit back and enjoy because this play is all for you. Could there be a play richer in comparative metaphor or more exciting to witness which flavors are chosen? I really don’t think so! Shakespeare probably wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1595, during that period when, as a sharer in the recently-formed Lord Chamberlain’s Men, he established himself as the major playwright of the London playhouses with plays like Love’s Labor’s Lost and Romeo and Juliet. He remained unchallenged in that position for at least two more years. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a highly original work; in form and in plot it has no obvious sources. Its action presents three distinct, even incongruous, social worlds. First, there is the world of the nobility of Athens, with Theseus and Hippolyta derived from the Greek historian Plutarch, while its romantic drama of frustrated youthful desire and parental resistance relates closely to Elizabethan life. Secondly, there is the world of the “mechanicals,” craftsmen recognizable in any sixteenth-century English town or city. Lastly, the elaborately conceived fairy world of the forest at night brings together classical (Titania) and medieval (Oberon) fantastic beings with Puck, a hobgoblin out of English folk tradition. This daring mixture of locales is matched by the extravagance and range of Shakespeare’s language in creating these worlds. The play is notable for its dazzling display of a variety of verse forms that create dramatic clashes, aria-like speeches of great beauty, lyrical dialogue, and songs, especially in the fairy world. And notable also for their contrast: the distinctive prose of the craftsmen, with Bottom’s misuse of words, and especially the conspicuously (and hilariously) inept verse of their play of Pyramus and Thisbe. That play, presented by actors who do not understand the role of the imagination in the theatre, draws attention to Shakespeare’s brilliant achievement in this play: not just a funny comedy about young lovers and fairies, but a manifestation of and an apology for the power of poetry and the creative imagination.