A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)

Theseus, Duke of Athens, is preparing for his marriage to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. He commissions his Master of the Revels, Philostrate, to find suitable amusements for the occasion. Egeus, an Athenian nobleman, marches into Theseus’s court with his daughter Hermia, and two young men. Egeus wishes Hermia to marry Demetrius (who loves Hermia), but Hermia is in love with Lysander and refuses to comply. Theseus gives Hermia until his wedding to consider her options, warning her that disobeying her father’s wishes could result in her being sent to a convent or even executed. Nonetheless, Hermia and Lysander plan to escape Athens the following night and marry in the house of Lysander’s aunt. They make their intentions known to Hermia’s friend Helena, who was once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him even though he jilted her. Hoping to regain his love, Helena tells Demetrius of the elopement that Hermia and Lysander have planned. At the appointed time, Demetrius stalks into the woods after his intended bride and her lover; Helena follows.

In these same woods are two very different groups of characters. The first is a band of fairies, including Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, his queen. The second is a band of Athenian craftsmen rehearsing a play that they hope to perform for the duke and his bride. Oberon and Titania are at odds over a young Indian prince given to Titania by the prince’s mother. Seeking revenge, Oberon sends his merry servant, Puck, to acquire a magical flower, the juice of which can be spread over a sleeping person’s eyelids to make that person fall in love with the first thing he or she sees upon waking. Having seen Demetrius act cruelly toward Helena, he orders Puck to spread some of the juice on the eyelids of the young Athenian man. Puck encounters Lysander and Hermia; thinking that Lysander is the Athenian of whom Oberon spoke, Puck afflicts him with the love potion. Lysander happens to see Helena upon awaking and falls deeply in love with her, abandoning Hermia.

When Titania wakes, the first creature she sees is Bottom, the most ridiculous of the Athenian craftsmen, whose head Puck has mockingly transformed into that of an ass. Titania passes a ludicrous interlude doting on the ass-headed weaver. Eventually, Oberon obtains the Indian boy, Puck spreads the love potion on Lysander’s eyelids, and by morning all is well. Theseus and Hippolyta discover the sleeping lovers in the forest and take them back to Athens to be married—Demetrius now loves Helena, and Lysander now loves Hermia. After the group wedding, the lovers watch Bottom and his fellow craftsmen perform their play, a fumbling, hilarious version of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. When the play is completed, the lovers go to bed; the fairies briefly emerge to bless the sleeping couples with a protective charm and then disappear. Only Puck remains, to ask the audience for its forgiveness and approval and to urge it to remember the play as though it had all been a dream.

(Synopsis adapted from SparkNotes.com)


May 28-29, 1997
Hortus Botanicus

: Rias van den Doel
Assistant director: Kiki Klinkhamer
Stage Manager: Evelien Hack

Costumes: Leonieke Aalders
Props: Evelien Hack, Marion Elenbaas, Immanuela van der Jagt, Janine Kooij, Cathelijne van Oijen
Ass’s head: Michiel Kruithof, Immanuela van der Jagt
Make-up: Jesaita Swartjes, Els Lambooij
Choreography: Femke Engelse
Sound: Michiel Kruithof
Voice coaching: Martina Noteboom
Poster design: Immanuela van der Jagt

Oberon: Herman Duchenne
Cathelijne van Oijen
Petula van Bers
Saket Kulkarni
Marion Elenbaas
Frits Heldeweg
Immanuela van der Jagt
Martin Pompe
Kiki Klinkhamer
Mariska Duindam
Anik ten Have
Leonieke Aalders
Evelien Hack
Mariska Coljé
Janine Kooij
Hester Marijnissen
Mariëlle Kemna
Fenneke van der Deijl
Fleur van Est
Melissa Augustinus
Elisabeth Duursma
Oberon’s attendant:
Anna Kouznetsova
Hippolyta’s attendant:
Femke Engelse

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