A Midsummer Night's Dream
Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Before Shakespeare and his contemporaries portrayed fairies as harmless sparkly flying creatures, fairies were associated with the devil. (It's a good thing Shakespeare came along and wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream – otherwise, we might not have characters like Tinker Bell.) (Source: Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.)
In his now famous diary, 17th-century Parliament Member, Samuel Pepys, wrote the following: "we saw "Midsummer's Night's Dream," which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life" (source).
Based on Shakespeare's play, the 2002 film A Midsummer Night's Rave features a bunch of teenagers who go to a rave and sample an ecstasy-like potion, compliments of a drug dealer named "Puck." This concept echoes what happens in Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, where Mercutio swallows some drugs before delivering the famous "Queen Mab" speech.
You know that famous song they play at weddings, after the marriage ceremony? The "Wedding March." That was written by Felix Mendelssohn in around 1842. Mendelssohn actually wrote it as incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was a revision of the overture he originally wrote for the play in 1826, when he was 17 years old (source).
On August 10-12 of every year, Killorglin, Ireland, population 1359, hosts the annual Puck Fair. Festivities include longer pub hours, a customary trip to the mountains to catch a wild goat, and a dubbing of the goat as "King Puck." The fair's origins are not entirely certain, but some speculate the affair is tied to a much older pagan ritual, the Celtic festival of Lughnasadh, which celebrated the coming of the spring and the pending harvest (source).
In the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society, one of the film's central characters lands the role of Puck in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The play within the film adds layers of meaning to many of the themes from both works, including obedience to parents, poetry, the pastoral, and more.