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A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare

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The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Dramatized Plays

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A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
A Fully-Dramatized Recording
From: The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Dramatized Plays
All 38 of Shakespeare's plays available in one extraordinary, definitive collection , complete and unabridged, fully dramatized on CDs with an original score and sound design for each play.
The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., (2003)
An Unabridged Dramatization on Two CDs
ISBN: 1-932219-24-2
Genre: Drama - Comedy



Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - May 11, 2003

William Shakespeare is perhaps best known for writing plays that can be classified as romances, tragedies, or histories. However, he was also an able composer of comedic plays. His play, A Midsummer Night's Dream is primarily a comedy of errors, however it is also an imaginative fantasy story.

This story evolves from an argument that Oberon (David Harewood), the King of the Fairies, has with his wife Titania (Adjoa Andoh) over the 'ownership' of a changeling. Oberon wants the boy to become a knight in his service, but Titania refuses to give him to Oberon. To get his way, and to get revenge for her obstinance, Oberon orders his servant Puck (Richard McCabe) to get him a magical plant that, when placed on the eyes of a sleeper, will cause him to fall in love with the first person he sees after awakening.

At the same time that the King and Queen of the fairies are arguing, two groups enter the forest just outside of Athens, a group of actors and a group of runaway lovers. Not content just to use the plant on Titania, Oberon also orders Puck to use the plant on particular members of the two groups of humans in the forest. Puck is a hard working and diligent, but he's not always accurate. Puck can also be a bit mischievous, a fact that is amply illustrated when he changes the head of one of the hapless humans into that of an ass! When it comes to using the potion, Puck ends up using it on the wrong people, and then has to spend the rest of the play trying to set things right.

This is a humorous play that tends to be more tranquil than uproarious. Plus there are several underlaying love stories that heighten the nature of this somewhat mystical story. There are many elements in this story that will resonate with students indoctrinated with TV fare. For example, there is an oft used ploy of creating a fanciful plot that is out of character with a given series, and then at the end having it revealed that the entire episode was merely a manifestation of one of the character's dreams. As they will soon discover, Shakespeare thought of it first!

This unabridged dramatization of A Midsummer Night's Dream has been issued on two CDs, and it is part of The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare collection issued by the Audio Partners Publishing Corporation. The play comes complete with liner notes that provide a scene by scene synopsis of the play, a cast list, and tracking list that will enable you to easily find each act and scene in the play. This is a full stage dramatization of the play, and it is rounded out by a musical score composed by Dominique Le Gendre and accompanying sound effects.


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