The Lovers: Hermia: She is in love with Lysander, and he is in love back. The problem is that her father, Egeus, orders her to marry another man: Demetrius, who she doesn’t like at all. She is extremely strong-willed and independent. She agrees to disobey her father and run away with Lysander. She is short and feisty. Lysander: He is in love with Hermia, and she is in love back. Because Hermia’s father orders her to marry another man, Lysander convinces Hermia to disobey her father and run away with him. Lysander is very persuasive and charming.
The Lovers: Helena: She is futilely in love with Demetrius. Nobody loves Helena. She feels sorry for herself, and is sort of pathetic and desperate, especially at the beginning. Since Demetrius is now in love with Hermia, Helena is very jealous of Hermia. Helena is tall and strong. Demetrius:He used to be in love with Helena, but now that he’s met Hermia, he’s in love with Hermia. Unfortunately, she doesn’t love him back. To make matters worse, Helena, Demetrius’s former girlfriend, is still in love with him, and very annoyingly desperate about it. On the other hand, Demetrius is just as desperate to have Hermia.
The Fairies: Puck: Mischief! He loves making trouble and playing jokes on people, and is a good prankster. He sprinkles “love juice” in the eyes of many characters during the play, which is responsible for many of the misunderstandings that happen. He is energetic, mischievous, and sprightly. Titania: Queen of the Fairies. Married to Oberon. She is in a fight with her husband over an orphaned boy she is taking care of. She has vowed to avoid him (and his bed) until he makes up with her. She is proud and royal.
The Fairies: Oberon: King of the Fairies. Married to Titania. He is in a fight with his wife, Titania, over an orphaned boy she is taking care of. He is jealous of all the attention, and is trying to get her to give him the boy. He tries to take revenge on her by using “love juice” to make her fall in love with some icky creature. He is proud, royal, and a little bit intimidating. Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, Mustardseed(Titania’s servants).These are the fairies who follow Titania (Queen of the fairies) around, singing songs and dancing. They help Titania wait on Bottom after she falls in love with him. They are always happy and carefree.
The Court: Theseus: the Duke of Athens (the highest rank in this play). He is a hero from Greek mythology. At the beginning of the play he has just returned from war against the Amazons (a race of powerful, warrior women). He has conquered them, and as his prize, he has forced the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta, to return with him to marry him. Theseus is confident, royal, and powerful. He is a good guy and a fair ruler, but definitely a “man’s man.” Hippolyta:She is the Queen of the Amazons, a race of powerful warrior women. She has been defeated in battle by Theseus, and now she has to marry him. Hippolyta is very powerful and royal. She stands up to Theseus sometimes, but she doesn’t seem unwilling to be his bride.
The Court: Egeus: He wants his daughter, Hermia, to marry Demetrius, but she wants to marry Lysander. He begins the play by complaining to Theseus that his daughter won’t marry the man he chose for her (back then, the father got to decide who the daughter married, and she had to do it). He asks Theseus to impose the death penalty on her if she refuses to marry Demetrius. He really wants to control his daughter, but his love for her seems sincere. He is probably the oldest character in the play.
The Players: Nick Bottom:a weaver, who is chosen to play the part of Pyramus (the young man in love with Thisbe) in the play-within-the-play. He is extremely full of himself, and thinks he is the greatest actor ever, even though he’s comically bad. He keeps trying to take over the play and do all the parts himself. Peter Quince: Carpenter. In charge of the play within the play. He tries to be the leader, but is often shoved aside and overshadowed by Nick Bottom. He is a straightforward man who is just trying to get the job done. He gets frustrated by Bottom’s tendency to be overdramatic. Francis Flute: The bellows-mender, who is chosen to play the part of Thisbe (the girl) in the play-within-the-play. He is upset about having to play the part of a girl, and thinks it won’t be believable because he is growing a beard. He decides to speak all his lines in a high, squeaky voice so people will be able to tell he’s a girl.
The Players: Tom Snout: The tinker, who is chosen to play the part of the Wall, which divides the two lovers in the play. He makes himself a costume out of plaster so that he will look like a wall. He is very enthusiastic about his part. Snug:Chosen to play the Lion in the play-within-the-play. He says he is “slow of study,” and isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but does a good job with his part. He is afraid his performance as the lion will frighten the ladies in the audience, so he vows to roar very gently. Robin Starveling: a tailor. Plays the moon. He is EXTREMELY shy and is terrified to be onstage.
Your Mission… • In small groups, you will receive two scripts. These scripts MUST stay in the room. They are my only copies! • Each group will have 1 Director and 1 Narrator. • As a group, read the script to gain an understanding of what is happening in the story. Remember, Elizabethan audiences (like you) already knew the ending of the play.
Your Mission… • Narrators, I have highlighted your script. You will read (loudly and clearly) for the audience. Try to use some inflection, please! • Your job is to tell the story. Your actors will not be saying anything, they will just be acting out what you say. For example, if you say “Titania refuses, and leaves,” Titania will shake her head “no” a lot, and then stomp offstage. You job is to be very clear. Your parts are all highlighted in your script, and you need to read them LOUDLY and SLOWLY so we can understand what you are saying. If you notice an actor hasn’t done what you narrated, please read that same line again until they get it! (“Hermia lays down to sleep…ahem…I said, Hermia lays down to sleep!”). • Some of your highlighted sections (those with a * overlap narrators.
Your Mission… • Directors, you will direct! Help your actors (the others in the group) to create gestures to accompany the reading. • Your job is to direct the movement of your actors. They will not be speaking, only moving, so your job is very important. Have your actors DO all the things the narrator SAYS. For example, if the narrator says “Hermia lays down to go to sleep” then you should have Hermia actually lay on the ground and pretend to sleep. If the narrator says “Titania refuses, and leaves” you should have Titania shake her head “no” a lot, and then stomp offstage. You are responsible for this movement. Get your actors to get into it! • Actors, you are silent actors. You will not be speaking at all only miming the actions which will accompany the words of the narrator.
On Wednesday… • We will be giving a final performance of our version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream before we see it Thursday! • Psst: Our audience is just us, so we can have some fun with this. Don’t worry!