A popular tradition for summer solstice!
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
- Theseus, Act 5, scene 1
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
- Puck, Act 3, scene 2
LOCATION & LOGISTICS: If the weather seems iffy, we'll announce a location change by the day before and hopefully find a meetup location. If the weather is good, however, see above for map of spot in Volunteer Park - we'll try for the picnic tables across the road from the wading pool / restrooms at the NE end of the park (east of the conservatory, which is a Victorian glass greenhouse). There are tables under a big silvery conifer, or other tables just east of there (closer to 15th Ave E). You can call[masked] if you can't find us. Feel free to bring lawn chairs or blankets if you like (if they are easily portable - the park and wading pool are popular, so you might not find parking right close). Volunteer Park is right on the #10 busline from downtown.
This isn't a long play, and has lots of fun parts to go around - kings and queens both fairy and mortal, mismatched lovers, "rude mechanicals", and the one who put the Puck in puckish. Allow time for distributing parts, reading aloud, taking a break, and (optional) discussion afterwards. Bring a copy of the text if you have one, but if you don't, don't worry - we can share. It's not necessary to read the play before hand, but it's helpful to be familiar with the plot. You can see below for a synopsis and quotations.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
- Lysander, Act 1, scene 1.
Theseus, King of Athens, is preparing for a festive wedding with the Amazon Queen Hippolyta, but not all his subjects are so fortunate in affairs of the heart. There is an unhappy love quadrangle among four young Athenians: Hermia and Lysander want to wed, but Hermia's father is determined to have her marry Demetrius, who has thrown over his former sweetheart Helena to pursue her. Helena continues to pine for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander decide to elope and run off to the fairy-haunted woods, pursued by Demetrius and Helena. They are all in the forest when night falls.
Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
- Oberon, Act 2, scene 1
Oberon, the king of the fairies, is there feuding with his wife Titania over a changeling child, and he sends the spirit Puck to stir up mischief.
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
- Puck, Act 2, scene 1
Liberal misapplication of a love-charm combined with mistaken identity tangles things further, especially when an amateur acting troupe of tradesmen turn up for a moonlit rehearsal.
What hempen home-spuns have we swagg'ring here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
- Puck, Act 3, scene 1
Bottom the weaver enjoys a brief time as the fairy queen's consort, notwithstanding that Puck has made an ass of him.
Oberon and Puck hasten to resolve it all before daybreak,
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger.
Puck, Act 3, scene 2
Things finally sort themselves out, and the only lovers left unhappy are the characters Pyramus and Thisbe, in the hilarious would-be tragedy performed by Bottom and company for the royal wedding.
But stay, O spite!
But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here!
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be?
O dainty duck! O dear!
- Bottom as Pyramus, Act 5, scene 1
Oberon sends out blessings as the play ends.
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.
-Oberon, Act 5, scene 1
Puck (also known as Robin Goodfellow) bids the audience goodnight.
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream...
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.