The Forest

We leave the comforts of home and get lost in the Forest…

The Realm of the Fairies

Rebelling against the Athenian court, Midsummer’s young lovers run away to the forest. No longer supervised, they will finally have the chance to chase their hearts’ desires. This journey is familiar to anyone who has ever left home in search of independence, but as the young lovers will soon find, people are seldom in control of the world.

 

The forest is a disordered place—a world controlled by a feuding fairy king and queen who represent the top layer of the play. They embody the forces of nature, conspiring against each other and causing chaos as the play unfolds.

 

The relationships of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are in disarray because the forces that control the world are at odds with one another. It is not until order is restored in this top layer that the young lovers can find order in their relationships.

Scary Fairies?

They're not as nice as one would expect.

Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,

Pale in her anger, washes all the air,

That rheumatic diseases do abound:

And thorough this distemperature we see

The seasons alter . . . and the mazed world,

By their increase, now knows not which is which:

And this same progeny of evils comes

From our debate, from our dissension.

–Titania

Think About how our world is in disorder:

Shakespeare in London

Shakespeare's London was just as chaotic as the forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a noisy, crowded melting pot of cultures. The center of English trade, Elizabethan London saw many travelers—and diseases. The bubonic plague swept through town once a decade from 1563 to 1603. But disease wasn’t the only way to bite the bullet in London. It was a violent place to live, and blood sport was a popular form of entertainment.

 

More violence would be seen in the 1590s when flooding led to a series of crop shortages. As famine spread, many people were left to scavenge the dirty streets for food. This led to an increase in violent crime around the country. Titania references the chaos of the 1590s in the second act of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Dirty & Poor!

A Tudor lady bemoans life in London

Violent times

Britain before anger management

Copyright Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement 2015.