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An Examination Of Two Modern Interpretations Of Shakespeare's `a Midsummer Night's Dream.'

1970 words - 8 pages

Modern theatres and audience expectations are very different to the expectations of Shakespeare's time. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was rediscovered on the South Bank in 1989 which, at the time, was an entirely different experience of any theatre we know today. There was no roof, no cushioned seats, and most of the audience would be standing in a circular space on the floor, whilst cheering on the actors, like fans at a football match. Modern theatre audiences watch the play silently in respect to others and sit comfortably, admiring a radiant stage with professional actors dressed up to scratch and realistic props which take the audience into another world. Whereas, at The Globe, theatre ...view middle of the document...

Instead of details, he used straight forward instructions such as, `Enter Puck.' Detailed stage directions were not necessary because Shakespeare would have been there at the time telling the actors what to do, and how to do it.Due to the lack of stage directions telling us exactly how Shakespeare imagined his play, modern playwrights must draw up their own interpretations of the play. They can do this through their own choice of actors, lighting, music, effects and direction. As a result of the lack of detail from the original text and wide choice of variations, interpretations can be very different.Shakespeare's `A Midsummer Night's Dream,' is a comedy which shares many similarities to another famous Shakespeare play, `Romeo and Juliet.' They both begin the same with `two star crossed lovers' who were fated in the stars to be together and whose parents disapproved of them being together. In `A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the moon is frequently mentioned by the characters, `Methinks how slow this old moon wanes; she lingers my desires,' the moon being associated with madness throughout the play. In `Romeo and Juliet,' the stars are regularly referred to in a similar manner.The play `A Midsummer Night's Dream' has been interpreted in many different ways. In two of these interpretations, there are very many similarities projected in very different ways. One interpretation is the BBC version directed by Jonathan Miller. The second is the 1998, Twentieth Century Fox version, directed by Michael Hoffman.In the BBC version, the play starts off with Theseus and Hippolyta, who look quite old for a married couple. Hippolyta's tan and hair style suggests that she does look foreign. Theseus and Hippolyta did not seem to be in love and she looked disgusted. Egeus, Hermia, Demetrius, and Lysander are all discussing Egeus's disapproval of his daughter's lover. Helena, who is supposed to be blond and fair, is actually ginger, ugly and has glasses! There is hardly any movement which suggests nobility. There is also hardly any lighting and the atmosphere is dull and dark. The scene did not contain any special effects. In the scene, they were sitting in English Castle- like setting. Although the play was intended to be situated in Athens, Shakespeare would not have been there so he would not have any idea of what it looked like, so he may have intended the play to be in this setting. The room was a library or a study and looked very formal. Theseus was seated for this scene and he was an educated, rich learned man. The room was very dark, with little natural light coming from the windows. The use of the darkened set added prominence to the actors, because the rest of the set was dull. Despite the fact that the play was situated in Athens, the dull coloured costumes were from the Elizabethan period. They were probably modern dressed for Shakespeare's time.The Twentieth Century Fox Version was situated in Italy at the turn of the 19th century. This version of act 1...

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