This version of A Midsummer Night's Dream is directed, as a school assembly, by William Shakespeare's own son, Hamnet. Written for cast of 16-30, running time approx. 40 minutes, this play follows the original plot, but has some interesting twists along the way - to say nothing of how the 'play within a play' players are treated: a heroic Pyramus played by a 'large butt' Bottom; the lovely Thisby by a bushy bearded Flute; a wall by red-nosed sniffing Snout; Moonshine by 'starving' Starveling and not forgeting Snug's all important part - that of an asthmatic lion! And as if four confused lovers isn't enough to contend with on stage plus some very non-cooperative fairies - our poor director, Hamnet also has his playwright father to deal with!
Also available: an alternative Midsummer Nights Dream - entitled Midsummer Nightmare, with Michael Jackson's Thriller taking us through the 'transitions'!
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Hamnet: Scene II Elsewhere in the wood
(Group of very ‘out of tune/tone-deaf' fairies sing their idea of a lullaby to Titania, lying with her hands over her ears)
Music 3 - All I Ever Do is Dream by the Everly Brothers
Hamnet: Cut! Thank you! Can't you see the poor woman is trying to get to sleep?
(Fairies exit, sulkily; Titania gives a sigh of relief and falls asleep)
(Enter Oberon, sprinkling herb drops on sleeping Titania's eyelids)
Oberon: There we go. Sleep tight, my dear. And wake when some vile thing is near.
(Enter Lysander and Hermia; Lysander struggling with a huge suitcase, Hermia limping along behind)
Hermia: (Irritably) I told you we should have bought a map! Just look at my feet, all covered in blisters!
Lysander: Ah quit complaining! At least you haven't been lugging this great case along behind you. So much for traveling light!
Hermia: (Snatching suitcase) Well, let me relieve you of it!
(Pulls out teddy bear and flings it at Lysander)
There you go! Teddy can be your companion for the night! See you in the morning!
(Hermia stalks off, with suitcase, to opposite side of stage. Proceeds to take out sleeping bag, pillow, and rugs - all of which make for a comfortable night's sleep; leaving Lysander to ‘cuddle up' with just the teddy. Both drift off to sleep)
Hamnet: Hmm. Seems someone has drawn the short straw in that sleeping arrangement. Poor Lysander. Let's hope he doesn't die of hypothermia before the night's end! But wait! Help is at hand!
(Enter Puck, stumbling over Lysander and examining his cold state)
Puck: Could this be the Athenian I am looking for? My, does he look cold! Better make this quick - he really shouldn't be lying around like this for long!
(Squeezes drops onto Lysander's eyelids)
Puck: Let's hope he awakes soon and (looking across at sleeping Hermia) can warm up a bit with love's embrace!
(Enter Demetrius and Helena, running full pelt across the stage and back. Helena stumbles over Lysander, and Demetrius takes advantage of his lead)
Demetrius: Aha! I knew all that track training would be of use one day! So long, fair Helena!
(Sprints off stage, leaving Helena in crumpled heap, on top of Lysander)
Helena: Alas! I'm done!
(Lysander grunts and emerges from under her)
Lysander: Why, Helena! What a lovely surprise!(Rubbing eyes) Am I still dreaming or are you really that beautiful?
Helena: What cruel game is this? Where is your Hermia?
(Loud snorts from Hermia)
Lysander: (Laughing, derisively) Over there! That is no hog you hear, but my delightful ex!
Helena: You are teasing me! You still love Hermia!
Lysander: How can you say such a thing? How I do repent, the tedious minutes I with her have spent!
Helena: Lysander! This is not the time for bad poetry! Stop your teasing now!
Lysander: But why would I not change a raven for a dove? Please, Helena! Come with me now! Let us leave hideous Hermia! Believe me (looking over at the snorting Hermia), you'd be doing me a big favor!
Helena: (Sarcastically) So romantic! Men! Who'd have them?
(Helena storms off)
Lysander: Hmm. I can see I may need another trip to that Charm School! (Turning to Hermia) I've hung around with this one quite long enough. What did I ever see in her? What a sight! I'm off to honor Helena and to be her knight!
(Hermia wakes, screaming, from a nightmare)
Hermia: Lysander! Help me! My worst nightmare ...(Frantically searching through suitcase) Please don't say I've left my make up bag behind?
(Looks around, picks up teddy left by Lysander)
Lysander? Where are you? Hmm. To have left his teddy behind - something real serious must have come up. Maybe he's gone back for my make up bag? Maybe he does have some redeeming qualities, after all. Best go find him - he's bound to pick up the wrong lipstick!