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We've seen the last of Good King Richard Ring out the past his name lives on Roll out the bones and raise up your pitcher Raise up your glass to Good King John - Steely Dan Details will follow on just whether and how high we should raise our glass to King John, but in the meantime ... Make sure to catch the wonderful 2015 Stratford Festival production of "King John" available on YouTube from June 18 through July 9. (More details at https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/athome) +++++ This is an online readthrough; Zoom details will be sent out in the day or so before this July 5 event.
Leonato, a kindly, respectable nobleman, lives in the idyllic Italian town of Messina. Leonato shares his house with his lovely young daughter, Hero, his playful, clever niece, Beatrice, and his elderly brother, Antonio (who is Beatrice's father). As the play begins, Leonato prepares to welcome some friends home from a war. The friends include Don Pedro, a prince who is a close friend of Leonato, and two fellow soldiers: Claudio, a well-respected young nobleman, and Benedick, a clever man who constantly makes witty jokes, often at the expense of his friends. Don John, Don Pedro’s illegitimate brother, is part of the crowd as well. Don John is sullen and bitter, and makes trouble for the others. When the soldiers arrive at Leonato’s home, Claudio quickly falls in love with Hero. Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice resume the war of witty insults that they have carried on with each other in the past. Claudio and Hero pledge their love to one another and decide to be married. To pass the time in the week before the wedding, the lovers and their friends decide to play a game. They want to get Beatrice and Benedick, who are clearly meant for each other, to stop arguing and fall in love. Their tricks prove successful, and Beatrice and Benedick soon fall secretly in love with each other. But Don John has decided to disrupt everyone’s happiness. He has his companion Borachio make love to Margaret, Hero’s serving woman, at Hero’s window in the darkness of the night, and he brings Don Pedro and Claudio to watch. Believing that he has seen Hero being unfaithful to him, the enraged Claudio humiliates Hero by suddenly accusing her of lechery on the day of their wedding and abandoning her at the altar. Hero’s stricken family members decide to pretend that she died suddenly of shock and grief and to hide her away while they wait for the truth about her innocence to come to light. In the aftermath of the rejection, Benedick and Beatrice finally confess their love to one another. Fortunately, the night watchmen overhear Borachio bragging about his crime. Dogberry and Verges, the heads of the local police, ultimately arrest both Borachio and Conrad, another of Don John’s followers. Everyone learns that Hero is really innocent, and Claudio, who believes she is dead, grieves for her. Leonato tells Claudio that, as punishment, he wants Claudio to tell everybody in the city how innocent Hero was. He also wants Claudio to marry Leonato’s “niece”—a girl who, he says, looks much like the dead Hero. Claudio goes to church with the others, preparing to marry the mysterious, masked woman he thinks is Hero’s cousin. When Hero reveals herself as the masked woman, Claudio is overwhelmed with joy. Benedick then asks Beatrice if she will marry him, and after some arguing they agree. The joyful lovers all have a merry dance before they celebrate their double wedding.
I (Thea) am happy to take over hosting this event. Midsummer Night's Dream is an eclectic mix of teenage soap opera, supernatural bickering and amateur theatrics. At the beginning, I will assign parts. Major characters will be split among people. If you want a particular part, you can request it in the comments below or message me via meetup. The actual reading will begin around 1:20. Text Version: I will be reading from the MIT version of the play, available at http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/full.html. This play does not have many differences between versions, so you can use another text if preferred. Plot Summary: Hermia and Helena are best friends. Awkwardly, Hermia is courted by Lysander and Helena's ex-boyfriend Demetrius. Hermia's dad wants her to marry Demetrius, and can legally compel her to do so. Hermia wants to marry Lysander, so she escapes to the woods with him. Helena is still not over Demetrius and she confesses the escape plan to win him over. Demetrius and then Helena run off to the woods. A helpful fairy, Puck, uses a love juice potion that makes both boys suddenly switch to chasing Helena. Hermia is upset and hurt. Helena thinks it's a cruel prank. Some local townsfolk craft a play for Duke Theseus and Hippolyta's upcoming wedding. It being community theater, one actor, Bottom, tries to take over all of the parts. Meanwhile, Oberon the Fairy King and Titania the Fairy Queen are fighting. Annoyed, Oberon has Puck drug Titania with the love potion to fall in love with the next thing she sees. Puck then turns Bottom's head into a donkey. Titania wakes up, sees him and instantly falls in love. Lysander and Demetrius decide to duel over Helena (who still thinks they're joking). Puck realizes his mistake and uses tricks to keep the boy chasing after him and away from each other. He undoes the love potions on the boys so Lysander loves Hermia again and Demetrius loves his ex Helena. Oberon decides to undo the love potion on Titania and Bottoms' head is turned back to human. ' The next day, the townsfolk put on their play for Duke Theseus's wedding. The play is a success despite Bottom's mansplaining and the other actor's amateur mistakes. The play ends with Puck expounding that the whole thing may just have been a Midsummer night's dream. Film Versions: The 1999 version set in Tuscany with Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer is my favorite. Honestly this play is so fun that it is hard to see a bad version.