A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 30 Minutes

Join Now Button

read more reviews
Average rating:  
 2515 reviews
Kelley
Jun 13, 2024
 by Kelley on Drama Notebook

Drama...

13-30 characters. Flexible casting. 30-40 running time. Short version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Maintains Shakespeare’s text. Great for middle and high school groups.

Students and audiences will love this 30-minute version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s words are maintained, but this script is cut to a manageable length. Perfect for middle and high school students to use in performance or class reading.

Jennifer Reif has been teaching, directing, and performing around the Pacific Northwest for decades. Her shelves are lined with children’s books and her happy place is in the woods. She loves devising creative theatre projects with kids and sharing ideas with teachers. Jennifer holds her BA in Theatre from Morningside College and also studied at Oxford University in England.

Excerpt from the Play:

CHARACTERS

Athenian Nobles
Theseus, Duke of Athens
Hippolyta, his bride, an Amazon Queen
Philostrate, Theseus’ master of the revels
Egeus, Hermia’s father

The Sweethearts
Hermia, a girl in love with Lysander
Lysander, a boy in love with Hermia
Demetrius, a boy also in love with Hermia
Helena, Hermia’s friend, in love with Demetrius

The Mechanicals
Bottom, a weaver (plays Pyramus)
Quince, a carpenter (directs the play)
Flute, a bellows-mender (plays Thisbe)
Snug, a joiner (plays the Lion)
Starveling, a tailor (plays Moonshine)
Snout, a tinker (plays Wall)

The Fairies
Puck – a hobgoblin, servant to Oberon
Fairy – servant to Titania
Oberon, king of the fairies
Titania, queen of the fairies
Peaseblossom, a fairy, servant to Titania
Moth, a fairy, servant to Titania
Cobweb, a fairy, servant to Titania
Mustardseed, a fairy, servant to Titania
Indian Child, (non-speaking), the child of an Indian King (can also be a doll)

ACT I. SCENE I. Athens. The palace of THESEUS.

THESEUS
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes!

HIPPOLYTA
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time.

THESEUS
Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword;
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.

Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS

EGEUS
Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!

THESEUS
Thanks, good Egeus: what’s the news with thee?

EGEUS
Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death.

HERMIA
So will I die, my lord,
Ere I will yield unto his lordship.

THESEUS
Take time to pause; and, by the next new moon–
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father’s will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would.

DEMETRIUS
Relent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yield.

LYSANDER
You have her father’s love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia’s: do you marry him.

EGEUS
Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love,
And what is mine my love shall render him.
And she is mine.

LYSANDER (to THESEUS)
My lord,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.

THESEUS
Fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father’s will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up to death.
Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my love?
Demetrius and Egeus, go along.

EGEUS
With duty and desire we follow you.

Exit all but LYSANDER and HERMIA

LYSANDER
Ay me! The course of true love never did run smooth.

HERMIA
Then let us teach our trial patience.

LYSANDER
A good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;

HERMIA
My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid’s strongest bow,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter HELENA

HERMIA
God speed fair Helena! Wither away?

HELENA
Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.

HERMIA
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

HELENA
O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

HERMIA
His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

HELENA
None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!

HERMIA
Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.

LYSANDER
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when darkness flight conceals,
Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal.

HERMIA
Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us;
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!
Keep word, Lysander.

LYSANDER
I will, my Hermia.

Exit HERMIA

Helena, adieu:
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

Exit

HELENA
How happy some over other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know:
I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight:
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night
Pursue her.
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.

(Exit)

Play, Licensing and Copyright Information
Join our Facebook Sharing Group
Read Our Reviews
Member of…
Member of ASCD
Member of National After School Association

Why Subscribe?

DN Why Subscribe to Drama Notebook Inside Drama Notebook, you will find a huge collection of well-organized lesson plans, scripts for kids, drama activities, 50 drama games on video and more! Join today and dramatically reduce your planning time while delivering fresh, innovative drama lessons to your students! If you are new to teaching drama, this site will be a Godsend! You will immediately feel confident about teaching drama like an expert. The site guides you step-by-step and provides you with materials that you can use right away with your students.

If you have been teaching for years, Drama Notebook will inspire you with a fresh new approach and innovative ideas!

The site is packed with original, innovative lessons and activities that you will not find anywhere else—and new materials are added monthly.

DN Explore Button
DN Join Now Button