A Midsummer Night's Dream
February 18, 2005 - Town Hall Seattle
February 19, 2005 - Rialto Theater Tacoma
Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream Synopsis
Lysander loves Hermia, and Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves
Demetrius; Demetrius used to love Helena but now loves Hermia. Egeus,
Hermia's father, prefers Demetrius as a suitor, and enlists the
aid of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to enforce his wishes upon his
daughter. According to Athenian law, Hermia is given four days to
choose between Demetrius, life in a nunnery, or a death sentence.
Hermia, ever defiant, chooses to escape with Lysander into the surrounding
Complications arise in the forest. Oberon and Titania, King and
Queen of Fairies, are locked in a dispute over a boy whom Titania
has adopted. Oberon instructs his servant Puck to bring him magic
love drops, which Oberon will sprinkle in the Queen's eyes as she
sleeps, whereupon Titania will fall in love with the first creature
she sees upon awakening. Meanwhile, Helena and Demetrius have also
fled into the woods after Lysander and Hermia. Oberon, overhearing
Demetrius's denouncement of Helena, takes pity upon her and tells
Puck to place the magic drops on the eyes of Demetrius as well,
so that Demetrius may fall in love with Helena. Puck, however, makes
the mistake of putting the drops in the eyes of Lysander instead.
Helena stumbles over Lysander in the forest, and the spell is cast;
Lysander now desires Helena and renounces a stunned Hermia.
In the midst of this chaos, a group of craftsmen are rehearsing
for a production of "Pyramus and Thisbe," to be played
for the Duke at his wedding. Puck impishly casts a spell on Bottom
to give him the head of a donkey. Bottom, as luck would have it,
is the first thing Titania sees when she awakens; hence, Bottom
ends up being lavishly kept by the Queen. Oberon enjoys this sport,
but is less amused when it becomes apparent that Puck has botched
up the attempt to unite Demetrius and Helena. Oberon himself anoints
Demetrius with the love potion and ensures that Helena is the first
person he sees; however, Helena understandably feels that she is
now being mocked by both Demetrius and Lysander (who is still magically
enamored of her).
Finally, Oberon decides that all good sports must come to an end.
He puts the four lovers to sleep and gives Lysander the antidote
for the love potion so that he will love Hermia again when they
all wake up. Next, Oberon gives Titania the antidote, and the King
and Queen reconcile. Theseus and Hippolyta then discover Lysander,
Hermia, Helena, and Demetrius asleep in the forest. All return to
Athens to make sense of what they think is a strange dream. Likewise,
Bottom returns to his players, and they perform "Pyramus and
Thisbe" at the wedding feast (which has since become a wedding
of three couples). As everyone retires, fairies perform their blessings
and Puck delivers a tender epilogue soliloquy.