Play Of the Month: A Midsummer Night’s dream

Artwork for Midsummer Night’s Dream by Elizabeth Schuch

Movie pitch: A magical comedy about love with fairies, song, dance, foolish actors, and quarreling lovers!

Rated PG for some innuendo and mild language

My two cents I’ve seen this play onstage 13 times. I’ve directed it, acted in it, and taught it and in my opinion, IT IS NEARLY PERFECT! The scenes are fast-paced and charming, the characters are likable, the poetry is gorgeous, and the comedy is hilarious! People often claim that Romeo and Juliet is the best play to start out with when first reading Shakespeare, but I believe Dream is the best.

Famous Lines

  • “Lord what fools these mortals be.”
  • “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
  • “Ill-met by moonlight.”
  • “If we shadows have offended…”

For more quotes and analysis of the characters, click here:
General Data

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Year Written: approx. 1593

Source: Traditional Greco Roman myths such as Theseus and Hypolita, and Celtic myths such as Queen Mab and ancient fay folk myths.

Genre: Elizabethan Comedy: Prose/ Verse

Play Data

Structure: Five Acts, 9 scenes, 2,165 lines (uncut)

Setting: Ancient Greece

Characters: 21 characters- 11 definite male characters, 3 female characters, plus fairies
Character Notes


More Artwork: Victorian Illustrated “A Midsummer Night’s Dream:”


  1. The Manga Shakespeare- “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A beautiful, visually exciting interpretation of the text as a Japanese-inspired Manga comic.
Trailer for the 2018 Midsummer Nights’ Dream. Re-imagined in Hollywood, the ‘city of dreams.”
BBC: Shakespeare Retold- “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”


  1. Duke Theseus orders young Hermia to either marry Demetrius in 4 days or die.
  2. Hermia and Lysander leave Athens and go into the woods., pursued by Demetrius and Helena
  3. That night, the king of the fairies Oberon tells his servant Puck to make Demetrius fall in love with Helena, but he charms Lysander by mistake.
  4. In the same forest, Bottom and his actors rehearse a play
  5. Fights, name-calling, and asinine behavior ensue.

Video Summaries: Thug Notes Summary-

For Educators:

This play works for everyone! I’ve seen it performed by 8-year-olds with no acting experience!

Written around the same time as Romeo and Juliet

It remains enormously popular and enormously influential.

I think its success lies in its sharply drawn characters and its imaginative worlds, which have inspired centuries of artists in every conceivable medium.

Concerns for Directors

  • Where to set it?
  • What are the fairies? How do they feel about humans?
  • How realistically do you want to play it?

Resources/ Lesson plans for teachers

Full play (annotated):

Royal Shakespeare Company (Summary, lesson plans, photos):

American Shakespeare Center (Summary, discussion questions, photos):

Folger Shakespeare Library: