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Best of the Web

Movie or TV Productions

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)

The Warner Brother USA production directed by Max Reinhart and starring James Cagney as Bottom, Olivia de Haviland as Hermia, Mickey Rooney as Robin, and Dick Powell as Lysander

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968)

This film adaptation includes a variety of British stars, including Judi Dench as Titania and Helen Mirren as Hermia.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1982)

Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival production, directed by James Lapine and starring William Hurt as Oberon.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

This  film was written and directed by Michael Hoffman.  The cast included Kevin Kline as Bottom, Rupert Everett as Oberon, Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, Sophie Marceau as Hippolyta, Christian Bale as Demetrius, Dominic West as Lysander, and Calista Flockhart as Helena.  This adaptation relocates the play's action to Tuscany in the late 19th century.

A Midsummer Night's Rave (2002)

This film adaptation, directed by Gil Cates Jr., changed the setting to a modern rave. Puck is a drug peddler, the magic flower called "love-in-idleness" is replaced with magic ecstasy, and the King and Queen of Fairies are the host of the rave and the DJ. 

Video

Hermia Refusing to Marry Demetrius

Helen Mirren plays Hermia in the 1968 production. This is the scene where Hermia hears from Theseus that she must marry Demetrius or suffer death, or celibacy.

Videos

Shakespeare, The Animated Tales: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Check it out online (in parts), compliments of YouTube.

Trailer

The trailer for the 1999 film. Check out Christian Bale as Demetrius in his pre-Batman days.

Audios

Listen to the Play

Listen to knighted English actor, Sir John Gielgud, reads from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Images

A Midsummer Night's Dream in Watercolors

William Blake's fairly surreal work, "Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing," circa 1786.  (It's the third image down.)

Titania and Bottom

Henry Fuseli, the master of the nightmare painting, depicts a fanciful and at once eerie Titania and Bottom, circa 1790.

Historical Documents

Full Online Text

A clean, accurate copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

An Analysis of the Play

Here's a little bit from 1906 on reception of the play, detailing whether it actually had any merit or was just a frothy bit of nonsense.

Pyramus and Thisbe

Book 4 of Ovid's Metamorphoses (Ovid started the project around 2 A.D.) contains the Story of Pyramus and Thisbe, which is the source of the Mechanicals' play.

Apuleius's The Golden Ass

This is the literary source for Bottom's transformation.  Keep it real by reading a 1566 English translation here.  (This is an edition Shakespeare's original audience would have had access to.)

Websites

A Midsummer Night's Dream Performance Details

This is an interesting link from Emory University, exploring how many times the play was put on, and where, in large-scale production.  It gives us a good sense of when the play was popular, and then gives very specific details on the particulars of the performances in that that period.

Images, Paintings, and More

This is an absolutely fascinating site that collects a cross-section of paintings referencing or relying on A Midsummer Night's Dream. The site links you to images of the paintings, but its real strength is the neat information about each painting.  There's content, contextual information, and a lot of opportunity to think about some artistic metaphors in the play – really compelling stuff.

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