Menu

Chicago Shakespeare
in the Parks

A Midsummer Night's Dream

July 18–August 17, 2014

FREE FOR ALL
Touring to neighborhood parks across the city
by William Shakespeare
directed and adapted by David H. Bell

The Story

After what you might call a less-than-ideal courtship, Theseus, Duke of Athens, awaits his marriage to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons—the same woman he has just conquered in battle. Theseus soon discovers he isn't the only one with romantic troubles when Egeus approaches him with a problem of his own: his daughter Hermia, who's in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius, her father's choice. The Duke answers Egeus's suit, giving Hermia three choices: she must marry Demetrius, take her vows as a nun, or die. Instead, she decides on a fourth course of action: to flee the city with Lysander. Demetrius will follow in hot pursuit. And where Demetrius goes, so goes Helena, Hermia's lovesick best friend…

Into the woods they go, where the fairy king and queen are having relationship problems of their own. Enraged by Titania’s devotion to a young human boy, Oberon commands Puck to retrieve the magic flower that makes its victim adore the first creature she sees—whatever that may be…

Observing Helena pursue Demetrius through the woods, Oberon takes pity on the young woman, and commands Puck to enchant the young Athenian man with the flower's juice. Unfortunately, from Puck's point of view, one Athenian looks like another, and soon it is Lysander and not Demetrius who falls for Helena. Hermia is not amused.

Also in the woods that night is a troupe of amateur actors, rehearsing a play that they hope to perform on Theseus's wedding day. Among this motley crew, it takes no time for Puck to pinpoint Bottom as a perfect love match for Titania, who will awake to dote upon this mortal—transformed into an ass. Love all around seems destined for disaster. Puck's handiwork, beginning to end—until Oberon steps back in to set things aright…

Back to A Midsummer Night's Dream

Additional Pages