Bottom’s Dream

I had a wonderful opportunity to see some live Shakespeare. It was in Edinburgh. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at The Royal Lyceum Theatre. During the Festival I managed to see a fringe production of Dream, in a converted church, I think. It was a post apocalyptic Dream and I really enjoyed it, you can read the post, Helena, which I wrote for it, here on my blog. It had crossed my mind to give this production a miss. I’d watched the DVD recently and as I’ve said, saw it at the Fringe. So I thought I was Dreamed out. Living up here you have to take the chance whenever you get it, no matter what the play is, to see Shakespeare performed live.

I’ve called this post Bottom’s Dream. It starts with Bottom, in a hospital ward slumped back sleeping in a chair next to his wife, who is in bed on a life support system, with a rack of oxygen cylinders. The TV is on in front of him. The phone rings and wakens him, it is Peter Quince, who wants him to do something. At first Bottom is excited, then he remembers his wife and reluctantly turns him down. He falls back asleep. Then the fairies come on stage and wheel Bottom his wife and all the hospital paraphernalia off stage. the scenery changes and the play starts.

This is A Midsummer Night’s Dream set in a blizzard, with snow falling and snow flakes used as fairy dust. It looked a bit like Narnia and the Snow Queen. I think it’s the funniest version I’ve seen, at times it reminded me of a pantomime, lots of visual gags. The whole cast were fantastic, with Jordan Young as Bottom, maybe, stealing the show. The four young lovers were brilliantly played by Anneika Rose as Hermia, Roisin Gallagher as Helena, Miles Yekinni as Demetrius and Kevin Mains as Lysander. Really funny when the two men strip to the waste, start shivering and freezing as they wrestle in the snow. I know snow in Athens at midsummer, but hey, it worked for me. The play of Pyramus and Thisbe, again was very funny. With the royal party and the four lovers watching from the royal boxes ether side of the stage. Ifan Meredith as Oberon/Theseus and Flavia Gusmao as Titania/Hippolyta were fantastic in the double rolls, Flavia very beautiful and sexy. Puck played by Cath Whitefield was amazing and funny. her expressions and actions when having bewitched the wrong person, with Oberon were priceless. The music and sound effects were very moody and used to great effect, especially when casting spells. the timing had to be spot on, as I think the sound of spells being cast were probably part of the sound track. At the end we find out the reason I’ve called this post, Bottoms dream.

The play was directed by Matthew Lenton and I really think he done a wonderful job. His idea for a snow blizzard was brilliant and when the summer appears in the second half, with flowers coming up through the stage floor was lovely. I’m so glad I took my chance and went along. I have realised the more times you see a play the more you get to know Shakespeare. What I mean is, I have a shocking memory which gets better with doing, seeing or listening to something over and over again. Drove my teachers nuts.

Finally a post at last, I’ve still got half a post on the Sonnets to finish and part two of The Tempest to write. Let me tell you I am still on my Shakespeare Journey but someone said to me, the wonderful Karen Stears, in a conversation about learning Latin. She said. “We can enjoy the sea as much by paddling as swimming the channel or being an oceanographer” Brilliant and wise words. thanks Karen @DHSBClassics on twitter.

So long for now



3 thoughts on “Bottom’s Dream

  1. Wow, great post, George. The play sounds amazing. I had a ‘season ticket’ for Lyceum when I lived in Edinburgh and saw some wonderful stuff. I love your enthusiasm for Shakespeare. What an asset you’d be in a high school English department 🙂

  2. Love your Shakespeare journey. I’ve seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream many times, and so far I don’t have a favourite performance – I like them all! The description of the performance you saw sounds intriguing and I would have loved to see it. Shakespeare is always great, but have you tried reading or seeing other early modern plays by different authors, just as a point of comparison and interest? I saw a performance of Dr Faustus by Marlowe last summer at the Globe and was mesmerised. Seeing the seven deadly sins come alive on the stage was the best part. I did fall asleep during Webster’s Dutchess of Malfi, but not due to poor performance. It was a combination of getting older and having a condition which makes me tired and sleepy….oh well, at least I stay awake sometimes and, when I do, I feel a sense of accomplishment 😉 There is a vast wealth of early modern material to experience. Enjoy your journey 🙂 x

  3. Well that sounds like some show George,sometimes it’s good to see something “outside the box” You would be great speaking in schools about Shakespear because you love it and can put it into easily understood words. I loved Shakespear at secondary school but all this having to learn huge parts by heart really put me off. I love what Karen Sears said about enjoying the sea,in fact I love it so much I’m writing it down to remember it because it describes me with writing and photography.

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