A Midsummer To Do

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 1649 reviews
Peggy Canale
Sep 27, 2022
 by Peggy Canale on Drama Notebook

I...

19+characters. Approximately 45 minutes running time. A fresh and fun take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Weaves Shakespeare’s language with modern scenes. (10 credits)

This adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes place in a school drama club and features many of the original scenes from Shakespeare’s comedy. With less than a week left until opening night, the drama teacher has left the student director, Quince, in charge of rehearsal that day, with a list of scenes to review. Quince finds it challenging to run rehearsals when the two leads playing Titania and Oberon are not speaking, and the actor playing Bottom wants to play all the roles. Thankfully, Quince is supported by Moth, a self-assigned dramaturg who has an impressive understanding of theatre in the Elizabethan time period.

Excerpt from the Play:

At Rise: Students are gathering in the theatre to rehearse Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their drama teacher is absent and has left the student director, Quince, to run the rehearsal. Some of the actors have technical jobs and can be tending to those as they enter. For instance, they might be sorting things on a costume rack or organizing the prop table.

QUINCE
Hey everyone! Listen up!

OBERON
(In a side conversation with Titania as they enter) I don’t know why you’re so mad at me.

TITANIA
Maybe you should take some time and think about it. (Her group of friends giggle.)

QUINCE
(Trying all the attention grabbers.) Listen up, everybody! Hello!

HERMIA
(In a side conversation while entering with Helena.) I told him I don’t like him, but he keeps texting me.

HELENA
Must be rough. I wish I had your problem.

QUINCE
Is all our company here?

PEASEBLOSSOM
‘You know who’ isn’t here.

COBWEB
Robin.

MUSTARDSEED
He’s so funny.

MOTH
Such a trickster.

(Puck comes flying in late as usual.)

PUCK
I’m here! I’m here! Look, how I’m here!

QUINCE
PEOPLE! I have an announcement to make, people!!!

TITANIA
There’s no need to shout. (Looking around) Where’s Ms. M?

QUINCE
That’s what I’ve been trying to say. Ms. M can’t make rehearsal because__________ (the cast can come up with a funny reason).

*Reactions depending on the reason.

BOTTOM
You know, I’d be happy to step in. I have some experience acting for the stage.

QUINCE
Thanks, but since I’m the student director, she asked me to do it. It’s kind of my job.

BOTTOM
Got it. Cool! Just let me know if you need me. This isn’t my first time being in a play you know.

QUINCE
Good to know. Thanks.

BOTTOM
I’m sure you all must remember when I was Max in Where the Wild Things Are. (big dramatic voice) “And he roared his terrible roar, and gnashed his terrible teeth!”

QUINCE
YES! (Others are impressed, adlib, applaud) Yes. We remember. So, Ms. M left us with a worklist of scenes that need to be reviewed. Let me take attendance. Everyone, please gather in your character groups. (Directing them into 3 groups) Athenian nobles and teenagers over here. Fairy world, stand here. And Mechanicals, the workers, stand there.

DEMETRIUS
So, if I’m not needed, can I leave early?

QUINCE
No! Everyone has to be here. You can learn from watching others rehearse.

BOTTOM
Feel free to watch me. This isn’t my first play. And by the way, I’m almost off book.

COBWEB
Oh my gosh! Are we supposed to have our lines memorized?

ALL
Adlib freaking out about memorization and not feeling ready.

SNUG
Can I just hold my script with me, just in case?

QUINCE
No.

EGEUS
Just call “line” if you need it and I’ll be on book. I volunteered to be the prompter.

MUSTARDSEED
You’re so responsible. No wonder you’re playing the dad.

QUINCE (to the whole group)
First on the work list is to review Act One, Scene One.

BOTTOM
Places everyone!

QUINCE
(Reacts to Bottom’s command) Yes, places, please. Spread yourselves!

BOTTOM
Thank you, places!

(Actors all spread out and sit on the floor to watch the rehearsal.)

QUINCE
Scene one starts in the palace of Theseus (points to the actor playing Theseus) In Athens, the Duke was impatiently counting the days until he and his bride-to-be Hippolyta would be married.

(Theseus paces while Hippolyta is being measured for her wedding dress.)

COBWEB
(Handing to Theseus and Hippolyta each a rehearsal costume piece) Don’t forget your rehearsal costumes.

STARVELING
Lights up! (Everyone looks questioningly at Starveling, and then-) I’m the lighting designer.

(Everyone reacts with understanding.)

THESEUS
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace.

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

QUINCE
Enter Hermia, (Beckons to Hermia to enter), a young woman who loves a dreamy poet named Lysander. Now, Egeus, we need to know that you’re very frustrated because your daughter wants to marry Lysander, but you want her to marry another man, Demetrius.

(Theseus sits in his chair and Hippolyta watches by his side. Egeus drags his daughter into the room, followed by Demetrius and Lysander who wait off to the side until they are announced.)

THESEUS
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,
(Demetrius steps forward and bows/ Egeus points at him.)
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander.
(Lysander steps forward and bows)
And my gracious Duke, (pointing at Lysander)
This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.

THESEUS
What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid.
To you your father should be as a god.

HERMIA
I wished my father looked but with my eyes.

THESEUS
Rather with your eyes with his judgement look.

HERMIA
(Hermia begs on her knees.)
But I beseech your Grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

THESEUS
Either to die the death or to abjure
Forever the society of men.

(Gasps and reactions from actors watching the scene.)

HERMIA
Hold on! I’ve just gotta say, if that was the punishment for disobeying your parents today, I’d be so dead.

LYSANDER
Me too.

HERMIA
And why does the dad get to decide who his daughter marries. I mean,
what about Hermia…or her mom?

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