Shakespeare's love potion-fueled comedy bursts to uproarious life in
CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's must-see, all-new production.
A company of the finest (and funniest!) actors from Chicago and beyond come together in the Bard's tale of feuding fairies, misguided passions and the vagaries of our dreams in the uniquely personal setting of CST's Courtyard Theater. Rediscover the magic that's enchanted audiences for over 400 years.
Approximate Running Times: 2 hours and 20 minutes (including intermission)
Additional support provided by the Gayle and Glenn R. Tilles Music Fund.
Team Shakespeare arts-in-education activities for A Midsummer Night's Dream made possible by Sheila Penrose and Ernie Mahaffey.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is presented in the Jentes Family Auditorium.
As Theseus, Duke of Athens, awaits his marriage to Hippolyta, the conquered Queen of the Amazons, a nobleman named Egeus comes to the Duke for help. Egeus's daughter Hermia, in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius, her father's choice. The Duke gives Hermia three choices: she must marry Demetrius, live as a nun or die. She decides instead to flee the city with Lysander. Demetrius follows in pursuit. And so does Helena, Hermia's best friend, who adores Demetrius...
In the forest where the lovers find themselves, the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania are fighting. Enraged by his wife's devotion to a young, mortal boy, Oberon decides to teach her a lesson. He sends his fairy Puck to find the magic flower that will make its victim, Titania, adore the first creature she sees—who or whatever it may be... Observing Helena lovesick over the completely disinterested Demetrius, Oberon orders Puck to enchant the young man with the love juice, too. Unfortunately, though, to Puck one Athenian looks just like another, and soon it is Lysander who, under the flower's spell, falls for Helena.
Also in the woods that night is a troupe of amateur actors, local workmen rehearsing a play in hopes of performing before the Duke on his wedding day. Among this motley crew it takes no time for Puck to pinpoint Bottom the Weaver as a perfect love match for the proud Titania.
The lovers' night in the forest seems destined to go from bad to worse. The two young men become archrivals for Helena's affection, abandoning poor Hermia completely. Titania awakens to dote upon a mortal transformed into an ass. Puck's handiwork, from beginning to end—until Oberon steps in to sort things out...
A Scholar's Perspective by Marjorie Garber
Marjorie Garber considers the language used in the play to describe dreams.
A Scholar's Perspective by David Bevington
David Bevington examines the nature of reality and imagination, dreams and belief in the theater.
A Real Love Potion
In a recent issue of Nature, neuroscientists offer a chemical theory of love that could make Puck’s flower a reality.
Shakespeare borrowed from many sources—Greek mythology, medieval literature, French romantic poetry, Elizabethan plays, writings on witchcraft, and daily life—to create his masterpiece.
Live rabbits, giant dragons, wedding marches and white walls have all appeared in stagings of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Scholars, Authors and Artists on A Midsummer Night's Dream
Reflections on the nature and power of love, dreams, language and the supernatural, from Restoration diarist Samuel Pepys, through critics and artists of today.
Teacher Workshop Lecture
Listen to a lecture by a Shakespeare scholar presented as part of our A Midsummer Night’s Dream Teacher Workshop.
A portal to the world of Shakespeare, these selected internet sites lead further into the exploration of Shakespeare in performance, his life and times, the original texts, and much more.
The Beatles perform “Pyramus and Thisbe”
On a 1964 television special, the Beatles performed Shakespeare’s play-within-a-play.