What is the emotion in the following scenes? Do any of the characters have accents (i.e. British, Irish...)? One sentence summary of the characters listed? These are the audition scenes for the school play and I'm just trying to figure out how to perform them best. Thanks :)
Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus
Act 1, scene 1 lines 1 – 54 (pg. 7 – 11 Folger)
Begin: “Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour”
End: “Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.”
Act 1, scene 1 lines 130-182 (pg. 15 – 19 Folger)
Begin: “How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?”
End: “Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.”
Act 2, scene 1 lines 195-251 (pg. 47-51 Folger)
Begin: “I love thee not; therefore pursue me not.”
End: “To die upon the hand the hand I love so well.”
Bottom, Quince, Flute, Snout, Snug, Starveling
Act 1, scene 2 lines 1 -55 (pg 25 – 27 Folger)
Begin: “Is all our company here?”
End: “Well, proceed.”
Act 3, scene 1 lines 1-75 (pg. 69-73 Folger)
Begin: “Are we all met?”
End: “…according to his cue.”
Robin Goodfellow (“Puck”), Fairy
Act 2 scene 1 lines 1 – 61 (pg. (35 – 39 Folger)
Begin: “How now, spirit? Whither wander you?”
End: “And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!”
Act 2, scene 2, lines 62-152(pg. 39 – 45 Folger)
Begin: “Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.”
End: “Till I torment thee for this injury.”
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Act I, scene 1 has a lot of emotions! The play begins with a scene expressing longing and anticipation, and moves to a scene expressing intense conflict of desires. Everybody at the opening of this play wants something desperately and has not yet gotten it. The specifics of this desire depend on which character you are speaking of.
The next part of 1.1 is a scene beginning with despair and ending with exuberant hope. Lysander rescues their depression with a Plan for Escape.
II, 1 is about Frustration. Both characters want what they cannot have.
I,2 shows the character's anxious to get the parts they feel best suit them
III, 1 is a rehearsal in which all want to shine.
II,1 Introduction to the Fairy World, this is play and an important set up for the dynamics we are to encounter in the fairy kingdom at present.
II,2 is pure rivalry and attempts for domination between two characters who belong together but are currently on the outs.
Your question about character’s accents brings up a really interesting point! The characters in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream shouldn’t have fixed accents--unlike Shakespeare’s history plays (for example, his series of plays about King Henry IV) A Midsummer Night’s Dream doesn’t take place in the real world, but instead in a fantasy version of Athens, Greece, and later in the play, a magical forest. However, since Shakespeare contrasts classes of people, the high class (the royalty, who speak in a sophisticated, often extravagant dialect ) and the low class ( Puck and “the rude mechanicals” who often mix up their words and make grammatical errors), it might be interesting to play with accents for each character, depending on their station in the play.
Additionally, though we associate Shakespeare plays with very proper British English, like the kind spoken on the BBC, the original actors would’ve spoken in an accent closer to Appalachian English, due to linguistic change. As a fun exercise, try saying some lines in a Southern American dialect and see how they sound!
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