A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 30 Minutes

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 2518 reviews
Casey Herseim
Jun 21, 2024
 by Casey Herseim on Drama Notebook


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:


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.

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!

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

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.


Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!

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

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.

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

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.

Relent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yield.

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

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

My lord,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.

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.

With duty and desire we follow you.

Exit all but LYSANDER and HERMIA

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

Then let us teach our trial patience.

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;

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

Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.


God speed fair Helena! Wither away?

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.

I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

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

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

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

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

I will, my Hermia.


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


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.


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