Saturday, April 16, 2005

William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

During Ignition last weekend, one of the workshop facilitators (who used to be my lecturer when I was at Tabor) gave me two tickets to see the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" which was a production that he was involved with. So I went along with a friend who is a Shakespeare's fan last night. This was the first time I'd ever seen Shakespeare's play live, and it was certainly an interesting experience. The "play-within-a-play", the fairies' magic, the characters Bottom, Puck, Oberon, Duke of Athens, Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and especially the classical poetic way of performance were all quite refreshing (yet I must admit at times confusing).

Before the play, my friend suggested for me to focus on the theme of how emotions (including the beautiful poetic language) color perception. Shakespeare is writing about how fantasy and imagination influence how we see the world, and how we see and behave toward each other. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream", imagination makes impossible things into reality.

Apparently the key passage in the play is "the lunatic, the lover, and the poet" (or as the promotional material put it "love, power, bottoms". It's been said that "Shakespeare's works are larger than anyone individual's ideas or knowledge. You'll need to bring your own experience -- especially of being in love -- to help you decide what it all means for you." Well I kind of experienced that last night. I am sure though that what the play means for me is very different from what it means for anyone else.

So what are your experiences of reading / watching Shakespeare's work?

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