TNT THEATRE BRITAIN presents William Shakespeare's

A Midsummer Nights Dream

Touring Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Ningbo, Hangzhou,

Huzhou and Qingdao

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

Shakespeare’s most popular comedy deserves its reputation, for here the “lunatic, the lover and the poet” combine with the magical world to create a perfect mix of comedy and romance. The play was written in 1596 as a celebration of a marriage and remains a timeless exploration of love in all its wonder and foolishness. It is also a fertility rite and a blessing on the children that love will spawn. Its conflict is rooted in the battle of the sexes. Our production begins by dramatising the conquest of the Amazon Queen by Theseus and links the final comedy of Pyramus and Thisby to the drama. The fairy wood is dangerous and exciting in the same way that Theseus’s Athens is dangerous and sterile. Shakespeare happily mixes traditional English spirits with classical heroes and fantastic creatures. What unites these traditions is paganism and that energy lies at the root of our production. Bottom is perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest clown. In our production he will be played not just as a man consumed by vanity, but as a man trying to understand love without understanding himself.

The production combines music, dance and song with powerful conflict that demonstrates not just the joy but also the pain and madness of love. The play is full of energy and that energy will be released through more than words. Too often the play becomes an excuse for easy laughter and is neither believable nor are its themes and characters united. We will attempt to unify the themes and characters and link the serious with the comic to create an original but faithful version of Shakespeare’s finest comedy.