For many years students and teachers of the Bavarian schools have been offered several opportunities of going to a number of excellent theatre performances directed by the American Drama Group in Munich.
Among those performances there are a couple of plays featuring magnificent actresses and actors. In November 2002, we went to the Amerikahaus together with 12 G/FOS Pfennigparade.
On the programme: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare.
Modern theatre productions tend to perform Shakespeare’s comedies as potential tragedies showing the alter ego of characters in rather astonishing forms of psychological processes.
So the sphere of the fairies is presented as a place of shocking nightmares reflecting the real world we live in with all its fears, angers, disappointments, desires.
Theseus, the Duke of Athens, prepares the wedding ceremonies since he wants to marry Hyppolita, the Amazon Queen. Egeus comes to Theseus to complain about his daughter Hermia who is not willing to marry Demetrius, she is in love with Lysander. According to an old Athenian law, Hermia is awaiting either execution or nunnery if she is not ready to obey her father’s order.
Hermia and Lysander flee to the woods outside Athens followed by Helena who is crazy about Demetrius. Both young fellows, however, project their emotions on Hermia, the one not to be loved for the time being is Helena.
In the forests outside Athens the mysterious world of OBERON and his wife TITANIA is awaiting on us. Oberon is jealous of Titania since she has tenderly been taking care of a young guy for a long time having neglected her husband at the same time. He wants to take revenge on his wife by getting her into a state of hypnosis – through Puck’s magic. PUCK is Oberon’s magician: Having slept under a tree, Titania is to fall in love with the first object to see when waking up. This object of desire turns out to be Bottom, a weaver, who (with other craftsmen) is just working on rehearsals about“ The tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe“ – that performance is meant to become a surprise at Theseus‘ and Hyppolita’s wedding ceremonies. Yet, Puck has endued Bottom with a donkey’s head. Seeing the donkey, Titania is totally fascinated by that wonderful creature praising him with passionate words of admiration.
Oberon sarcastically enjoys his wife’s madness, however, he feels sympathy for the young unhappy love around Hermia, Lysander and Helena, Demetrius.
But his magician Puck, who is to manage the correct constellations, confuses the two fellows so that now Hermia is isolated as the one not to be loved as before was Helena.
Hermia feels deeply despised by her former lover, whereas Helena thinks the others want to play a dirty trick on her. Puck finally has to get the right constellations (Lysander/Hermia; Demetrius/Helena), at the end there is the wedding ceremony around Theseus and Hyppolita and all the noble personalities of Athens are freed from their madness they were haunted with in the woods outside the town.
But they are not really aware of what had happened to them, they are just laughing about the helpless way of the actors around Bottom the weaver and the craftsmen performing the „Tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe“. Hypocrisy prevents them from getting aware of their own madness they were exposed to.
That phenomenon is particularly set off in modern psychological concepts of interpretation in which Theseus/Oberon and Hyppolita/Titania are shown as their individual alter egos of characters who are led to a sphere of life which seems extremely amazing.
text & drawing
by jam (Walter Leder)