Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 1, Scenes 1 and 2


ran into a fun little blog post that i thought i'd share. it's on Shakespearean insults, a personal favorite of mine. enjoy!

i was going to read two acts today, but i have literally been cleaning and re-organizing ALL DAY LONG. it was actually quite satisfying because we have friends on their way and they are going to love our little home improvements. is it pathetic to be excited about new wild flowers and solar lights on your porch? maybe. but if it is, i don't care. i'm just excites that my environment is starting to become more and more of what i would like it to be. and the best part of all? my friend who is coming over calls my porch the "fairy garden". with me working on Midsummer's, how perfect is that?

act 1, scene 1
Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, enter Theseus' court. they talk about how Theseus won her on the battlefield, and their wedding that is to come. Egeus enters with his daughter Hermia and her two suitors, Demetrius and Lysander. he complains to the Duke that he wants Hermia to marry Demetrius, but Lysander has "bewitched" her. Egeus would like to exercise his "privilege of Athens": she marries Demetrius or she is sentenced to death. Theseus gently tries to explain to Hermia that either death or a nunnery awaits her if she does not do what her father commands, and tells her to take some time to think it through before she makes her decision. Lysander argues for his right to marry Hermia, being from as good of stock as Demetrius. in fact, he points out, Demetrius is known to be a bit of a philanderer. it is rumored he has slept with Helena, who know dotes on him tirelessly. Theseus has heard of this, and pulls Egeus and Demetrius into another room to talk. left alone, Hermia and Lysander bemoan their fate. (see quote below.) Lysander suggests a plan to Hermia: tomorrow night they meet in the woods to head for his aunt's house, far from Athens. there they can be married and live freely. Hermia agrees happily. Helena, Hermia's dear friend enters, complaining of Demetrius' love for Hermia. Hermia explains to Helena that she won't have to worry for much longer, and the lovers reveal their full plan to Helena in confidence. they leave and Helena wonders why all of Athens thinks she is fair, but Demetrius doesn't. she decides she will tell Demetrius of Hermia's plans in the hopes that she will be able to get closer to him.

act 1, scene 2
Quince the carpenter, Snug the joiner, Bottom the weaver, Flute the bellows mender, Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor meet up to organize the play they are planning for Theseus and Hippolyta. the play is called The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe. Quince is giving out the parts, and Nick Bottom is cast as Pyramus. as Quince is casting the other parts, Bottom tries to get himself cast in those parts too. it doesn't work, but he tries really hard. they are all instructed to learn their lines by the next night. they will meet in the woods to rehearse by moonlight.

yeah... what is wrong with Egeus? why does he like Demetrius so much and refuse Lysander so adamantly? Demetrius screws around with Helena, apparently. and Lysander has a good family and money. so what the heck is the problem? is Egeus just stubborn or what?

you can really tell how much Shakespeare has evolved. i noticed that things are clipping along at a nice pace. so far i can follow along pretty well without being so bogged down in literary references and whatnot that i can't enjoy the scene. pacing is great, characters are clear, dialogue is witty. i'm starting to get it.

i love how Helena, who has been friends with Hermia since childhood, is ready to sell her out so easily for a man. Shakespeare has obviously never heard of girl code.

i always thought Helena was supposed to be unattractive, but here it makes it seem like she is pretty but Demetrius just doesn't care for her. is that a casting thing that's just sort of become tradition?

quote of the day:
'ay me! for aught that i could ever read,
could ever hear by tale or history,
the course of true love never did run smooth;'
   -Lysander; act 1, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 2!

-rebecca may

1 comment:

  1. The first time I recall ever seeing Ranney was when, as a junior in high school, I went with my mother and brother to the Polk Community College production of this play. (Although we attended the same elementary school for two years and he used to work in a family restaurant that we frequented, I have no specific recollection of Ranney from those scenes.) This was the only time my mother ever saw my husband, because she died a couple of weeks before I met him. She, my brother, and I thought he was very funny as Flute/Thisbe.