What’s the Story, Who’s Doing What to Whom?

A sneak peak synopsis of  “A Midsummers Night’s Dream”

The action is based in a wood near Athens 

(aka St.Etheldreda’s Church, Horley).

Cast and their Characters – The Court of Athens: Tim Allitt – Theseus, Sarah Allitt – Hippolyta, David Foreman – Egeus, Chris Howell – Philostrate, Sue Patching – Servant. The Lovers:  Carlie Lee – Hermia, Tanja Miles – Helena, Joseph Turner – Lysander, Hal Wallis – Demetrius.  The Mechanicals: Julian Wright – Nick Bottom, David Foreman – Peter Quince, Jack Curd – Francis Flute, Sue Keenan –Tom Snout, William Hamer – Robin Starveling, Martin Hamer – Snug. Fairyland: Johnny Lynn – Oberon, Charlotte Curd – Puck, Debra Fox – Titania, Fairies and Indian Child, Millie Gamage and Lucy Hamer – Gate Keepers

Act 1 Overture and Prologue – Fairies flit about the woods and Titania takes the Indian orphan child to Fairyland. Members of the court of Athens are introduced.

Scene 1: Theseus is looking forward to his wedding day and wonders how they will pass the time until then. He sends Philostrate off to organise some entertainment. Egeus enters, complaining that his daughter, Hermia, refuses to marry Demetrius and has been seduced by Lysander. He claims his right as a father to either send Hermia to a convent or have her killed, if she does not marry Demetrius. Theseus takes Egeus’ side and agrees with his wishes. Hippolyta is appalled at this show of male chauvinism and storms out followed by Theseus, Egeus, Demetrius and Helena. Hermia and Lysander are left to mourn their fate until Lysander suggests they elope to the woods. This idea cheers them up just as Helena arrives back on the scene. She bemoans the fact that she cannot win the love of Demetrius, because he loves Hermia and asks what she should do about it. Lysander and Hermia confess that they are going to elope and say their goodbyes. Helena decides to tell Demetrius about the elopement to try and win his favour and, she, too, follows them to the woods.

Scene 2: A group of workers, called The Mechanicals, (because they work with machines), meet to plan a play they might perform for Theseus and Hippolyta on their wedding day. Peter Quince, the director, assigns them their roles and hands out scripts. Bottom wants to play all the parts!

Scene 3: The fairies play and dance. Puck arrives to tell them that Oberon is close by and warns them to keep out of his way because he has quarrelled with Titania, (over an Indian child who they both want) and is in a rage! Oberon and Titania arrive and continue their quarrel. Titania flounces off and Oberon vows he will punish her. He sends Puck off to get a magic herb which will make Titania fall in love with the first person or thing she sees. Oberon hides when Demetrius enters, followed by Helena who throws herself on him, much to his annoyance. They run off and Puck arrives with the magic herb. Oberon explains how he will find Titania asleep and use the juice of the herb to bewitch her. He also gives some of it to Puck, telling him to find a young man (Demetrius) and use the magic to make him fall in love with the young lady (Helena) for whom he feels sorry.

Scene 4: The fairies sing Titania to sleep. Oberon squeezes the juice of the magic herb onto her eyes. Lysander and Hermia enter and find they are lost. They decide to spend the night in the wood. Hermia lays down the rules of where they are to sleep, much to Lysander’s disappointment. Puck enters, and seeing Lysander and Hermia asleep, thinks they are Demetrius and Helena and so uses the magic on the wrong man. Helena is still chasing Demetrius, but stopping to get her breath, notices Lysander asleep. She wakes him and he immediately falls in love with her. Helena, is alarmed at the turn of events and thinking he is mocking her runs away. Besotted, he follows her. Hermia wakes up having had a nightmare and, finding Lysander gone, rushes off to try to find him.

Scene 5: The mechanicals rehearse their play, watched by Puck who changes Bottom into a donkey. This frightens all the others and they run away in alarm. Bottom sings to cheer himself up which wakes Titania who, of course, falls madly in love with him. She summons her fairies to attend to him and orders them to lead him to her bower.

Interval, then Act 2

Scene 1Oberon and Puck meet to discuss how the plans are going. Demetrius enters with Hermia who is threatening him, because she thinks he has killed Lysander. Puck realizes that he has used the magic on the wrong man and is reprimanded by Oberon for the mistake. He makes Demetrius fall asleep and commands Puck to find Helena and bring her to the sleeping Demetrius. He then squeezes the magic juice on Demetrius. Puck returns with Helena, followed by a love-sick Lysander. Demetrius wakes and seeing Helena, he also falls madly in love with her. Rather than being delighted, Helena believes that Demetrius and Lysander have joined forces to make fun of her. Hermia arrives delighted to have at last found Lysander, only to be brushed aside in Helena’s favour. Helena believes Hermia has joined in the game of mockery and the girls start to squabble, while Lysander and Demetrius are fighting over Helena. The girls start to fight in earnest and have to be separated by the men, before they continue with their own fight. Oberon blames Puck for all the mess and muddle and Puck complains that it’s not his fault. Oberon tells him to lead the lovers through the wood until they fall asleep exhausted. Puck must then repair the damage he has done, which he duly does.

 Scene 2: The fairies settle Titania and Bottom to sleep. Oberon and Puck watch and Oberon tells Puck that he has made it up with Titania and removes the spell. Puck changes Bottom back to himself. Titania wakes and tells Oberon about the weird dream she has just had. They dance and go happily together to Fairyland. Bottom wakes and goes off to find the other Mechanicals.

Scene 3: It is the morning of the wedding. Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus are taking a walk when they are surprised to find the four lovers asleep. Theseus wakes them and inexplicably all their differences seem to be resolved. Theseus revokes his promise of support to Egeus, and they all go merrily away to prepare for the weddings.

Scene 4: The Mechanicals meet sadly to discuss the missed opportunity to do a play, when Bottom arrives to tell them that the play is to go ahead and they all hurry away to get ready for the performance.

Scene 5: Theseus and Hippolyta are married, together with Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius. They need an entertainment to occupy them before they go to bed, so Philostrate reluctantly calls the Mechanicals to perform their play of “Pyramus and Thisbe”. The actors do their best, but it is a sorry affair, ending with a somewhat inept dance. The wedding party, by now rather drunk, are happy enough and retire to bed at midnight.

Scene 6: Puck evokes the spirits of the night and as dawn breaks, Oberon, Titania and the fairies sing and dance by way of a blessing on the three newly married couples. Puck has the final word, which is to say that the whole thing has been a dream!

Cast:

Court of Athens: Tim Allitt – Theseus, Sarah Allitt – Hippolyta, David Foreman – Egeus, Chris Howell – Philostrate, Sue Patching – Servant,

The Lovers:  Carlie Lee – Hermia, Tanja Miles – Helena, Joseph Turner – Lysander, Hal Wallis – Demetrius

The Mechanicals: Julian Wright – Nick Bottom, David Foreman – Peter Quince, Jack Curd – Francis Flute, Sue Keenan -Tom Snout, William Hamer – Robin Starveling, Martin Hamer – Snug

Fairyland: Johnny Lynn – Oberon, Charlotte Curd – Puck, Debra Fox – Titania, Fairies and Indian Child, Millie Gamage and Lucy HamerGate Keepers

Production Team:

Director – Tessa Howell,  Assistant / Prompt –  Louise Jeffries.  Musical Director/ Pianist  – David Kyle.  Costumes  & Props- Tracey Parsons, Alison Wynn, Alison Carr.  Set /Sound/Lighting – Mike Patching. Make-up  Jane Roberts. Photographer- Gary Fox. Programmes- Barry Moss.  Box office- Jenny and Dave Reynolds

This production is dedicated to Brenda Barnwell who would have loved to have been part of it all.       

See all previous posts about this production, Brenda and others about Horley Footlights

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