A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act Three, Scene Two of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ begins with Oberon, the king of fairies and Puck the servant talking to each other about the previous incidents which had just occurred - A Midsummer Night's Dream introduction. Puck was ordered to put a certain love juice in Demetrius’ eyes so that he fell in love with Helena which would leave Lysander and Hermia to their undying love for one another. But seeing as Puck is shown to be a character that plays practical jokes on others, he plants the juice into the wrong man’s eyes, Lysander. This causes Demetrius and Lysander to both love Helena and leave Hermia mystified and in a state of total confusion.
The setting I would choose to direct ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ would probably be somewhere quite detached from the outside world, somewhere like the woods. The surroundings would be very misty and I would make the atmosphere eerie by putting in occasional wolf cries or sudden movements in the bushes. This would all add to help build the new scenario in this play to display some subsequent changes in the moods of the actors. By beginning this scene I would show Oberon in the woods, looking forward to the effects of the love juice, I would make a close up view on his glowing face for a few seconds which would show him as being quite excited.
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I would dress Oberon in white robes and he would have glowing skin, which would be a typical description of a fairy. The Elizabethan audience would also relate to this because they wouldn’t understand the other kinds of fairies we see in other plays and films these days, they would most likely have preferred it basic and simplistic. I would show him wondering if ‘Titania be awaked’, who is the queen of fairies. I will then make Puck come into the scene in a bizarre fashion either by tripping over or falling from somewhere just to show what type of character he is and to add a bit of humour.
I would make Puck wear rags and he would look very small making him look like a creature rather than a human just to add to the surrealism. I can tell by Shakespeare’s language that he portrays Puck as having a clown-like personality because of his immature quotes such as ‘I go, I go; look how I go, swifter Than arrow from the Tartar’s bow’ and ‘Then will two at once woo one; That must needs be sport alone; And those things do best please me That befall preposterously’, which shows he likes to be voyeuristic when it comes to disorder.
I would make Hermia wake up first so the audience are aware that she is searching for Lysander, her true love who has unexpectedly disappeared. I would show her becoming very anxious with restless eyes, whilst looking in many directions for him then finding Demetrius by her side with disappointment. I would show her becoming paranoid with an exaggerated expression which would help display this theme, and immediately accuse Demetrius of ‘slaying Lysander in his sleep’, but Demetrius would then reply with great disbelief and shock and reveal he is ‘not guilty of Lysander’s blood’.
I would make an eight second silence between his response to create tension and maybe to give the audience the idea that Demetrius is responsible for his death. Hermia would then exit the scene in great distress and Demetrius would then fall back to sleep which would build up to a silence and then make the audience ponder at what will happen next and to also create some apprehension. Helena would then enter the scene very angrily followed closely by Lysander claiming she is his true love. I would make Lysander grovel to Helena to show that he is desperately in love with her.
Then, to cause more chaos to the scene, Demetrius would awaken and he too would declare his love for Helena by calling her ‘a goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! To what my love’. He would say this with passion and make it sound very believable to give the audience the idea and theme of total confusion. Helena would be infuriated by these comments and would say ‘Join in souls to mock me’. She would say this in an exhausted manner to show that they are messing with her emotions and it is all a meaningless prank on her.
The audience would sympathize with Helena because both Demetrius and Lysander were madly in love with Hermia and overnight a shocking change is made. Helena would then turn to face the audience and would display her anger, frustration and confusion by saying ‘oh spite, oh hell’. To add to this moment of chaos, I would make Hermia enter the scene and she would see Lysander and Demetrius both bowing down to Helena and holding her hand telling their ‘true love’ they have for her.
Hermia would stare at them with a blank expression perhaps to display the amount of shock in her system. Hermia would then run towards the three and try and break the three up out of jealousy and anger. Hermia would then turn towards Lysander in a desperate manner and call him her sweet love but she would receive a violent push which would cause her to fall to the floor, and he would then curse her with the words, ‘Ugly tyrant’ and ‘I hate You’ which would show his new hatred for her.
Hermia would then lash out to the three and they would all topple over one another which would turn out to be a moment of madness with them all rolling on the dirty ground. The fighting would then stop, each one of them would be covered in dirt and would look very scruffy, and Hermia would then burst into tears which would then hopefully confuse the audience and show that these young men and women are meant to be from wealthy families but at the same time they can act bizarre and be very uncivilised.
I would end this scene by showing them argue again which starts to be monotonous and the light would fade to minimum and their voices with it to signify the end of this part of the play. The lights would then brighten a little and the cast of actors would all be lying there in a heap sleeping, Puck and Oberon would then enter to see what effects the potion had on them.
The previous events should also show the theme of order to sudden disorder, this is proven when a couple of drops of love potion changes the whole entire ethos of the group of lovers and makes them fight over each others’ emotions. Lysander was originally in love with Hermia, things changed drastically and created an unfriendly environment and a change in each person’s opinions of each other, like when Helena said ‘Join in souls to mock me’ which also probably meant that she thinks they are untrustworthy and disdainful.
The play should also display that their methods of communicating with each other were very asinine and this should seem very humorous to the audience in the times the actual play was written, but in this era the situation may differ because it may seem too simplistic or tedious for the modern audiences which tend to prefer more unique or innovative outcomes as this type of humour has been seen for many years.. In directing this scene I would focus strongly on the expressions of each actor, by speaking, facial expressions and movements.
For example, when Lysander pushes Hermia to the ground and rejects her compliment, she should look hurt, and Lysander should be looking merciless, this would give great sympathy to Hermia from the audience because all she was doing was declaring her love for him. Also, by showing Demetrius and Lysander grovelling in an exaggerated manner by begging for her love instead of stating. I would make them use beseeching words and they would be pulling at her clothes and kissing her feet to show the amount of obsessive love they possess for her.
I made Lysander use the words ‘Ugly tyrant’ and ‘I hate you’, to replace ‘Loathed medicine’ and ‘Hated potion because I think that using Elizabethan language in this era, especially insults wouldn’t have much effect on the audience that is why I changed the speech to make it sound more offensive. I would keep most parts of the Elizabethan language in it, because without it, it wouldn’t display enough originality of Shakespeare’s work, I would only use my own custom language when I think it would make a bigger impact on the audience.
Directing this play could offer many alternatives, the scenario could work almost anywhere, even being as surrealistic as it is, it could also be made for many different audiences, younger people could be made to enjoy it with simplistic language, it could be made into a comedy if the insults were diminished slightly, a romance on which it is actually based on or even a tragedy with an alternative ending.