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A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Performances:
Theseus, the Greek hero and Duke of Athens, is to marry Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, in four days time. Whilst they are musing about their impending wedding, Egeus, an elderly citizen of Athens, enters the court with his daughter, Hermia, and two of her suitors. He is angry because Hermia is refusing to marry his choice of husband. Demetrius, as she wants to marry Lysander, whom she loves. A sentence is passed by Theseus on Hermia; by the time of his wedding, she must obey her father, become a nun or be put to death (great choices!). Lysander and Hermia agree to run away from Athens and agree to meet in the woods. They tell this plan to Helena, Hermia's best friend. Unfortunately, Helena is in love with Demetrius, who was previously to marry her, and decides to tell him the plan so that he might love her again (she's not very bright!).

Meanwhile, a group of working men (the Mechanicals) are preparing a play for Theseus's wedding. The play is a romantic tragedy in the vein of Romeo and Juliet. The groups is directed by Quince but dominated by Bottom, a loud-mouthed, pompous ass. They agree to meet for their first rehearsal in the woods where they won't be disturbed.

Meanwhile, in the woods, the king and queen of fairies, Oberon and Titania, have arrived with their entourages. They have not spoken for several months as Titania is refusing to give a small Indian boy in her charge to Oberon. Oberon's right-handfairy is Puck - the spirit of mischief. Oberon directs Puck to get a small flower that has magical powers - the juice from this flower when squeezed on sleeping eyelids makes the victim fall in love with the first thing they see when they awake. He intends to squeeze this flow on Titania for not obeying him.

Each of the couples arrive in the woods separately - Demetrius followed by a lovesick Helena, and the runaways Lysander and Hermia. Oberon overhears Demetrius being cruel to Helena and directs Puck to squeeze the flower's juice on the eyes of the young Athenian. Of course as this is Shakespeare, Puck gets the wrong man and puts the spell on Lysander who promptly wakes up and falls for Helena. When Oberon finds out, he tells Puck to find Demetrius and put the spell on him - which he does. Demetrius then also falls for Helena. Helena believes both men and Hermia have plotted this whole thing to mock her and a big scene of confusion, fights and Shakespearean hilarity follows!

Meanwhile, Puck has watched the Mechanicals rehearse and for fun has turned Bottom into a donkey. He ensures that Bottom is the first thing the waking Titania sees and she promptly falls in love with him; directing her fairies to treat him like a god.

Oberon makes Puck put all things right again, after he has persuaded Titania to give up the Indian boy, and the characters are left sleeping and dreaming on stage. Theseus and the court appear; the sleeping characters awake and all is sorted out - Demetrius is in love with Helena and Lysander back in love with Hermia. The three weddings then take place.

After the ceremonies, the Mechanicals perform their play. It is a ridiculous performance that inadvertently parodies all the conventions of romantic tragedies and plays in general. At the end of the play, Oberon and Titania bless the three marriages and Puck provides an epilogue for the audience encouraging them to believe that the whole play has just been a dream.

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