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Synopsis

Synopsis of S4K's A Midsummer Night's Dream, including (Song Titles).

The city of Athens is abuzz with anticipation at the forthcoming marriage of Duke Theseus of Athens and Hippolyta Queen of the Amazons (A Royal Wedding).

But the preparations are disturbed as Theseus is asked to make a judgement on a different kind of wedding dispute. Egeus has arranged a marriage between his daughter Hermia and Demetrius, but Hermia is unwilling to accept the Athenian traditions of male hierarchy, and refuses to marry Demetrius. She loves Lysander. To make matters worse her best friend, Helena, still loves her ex-boyfriend, Demetrius. Theseus gives Hermia four days to agree to her father’s plans, or face execution under the ancient Law of Athens.

Hermia and Lysander decide to elope. Helena sings about her unrequited love (Demetrius and Me) and tells Demetrius of her friends’ plan to meet in the woods at night to make their escape. A horrified Demetrius gives chase, hotly pursued by Helena.

Meanwhile, six working men are preparing their own unique wedding present for the Royal Couple. They will produce a play – “Pyramus and Thisbe” - which they will perform at the Wedding Feast (Pyramus and Thisbe). They agree to meet in the woods outside the city at midnight for a secret rehearsal.

The woods are also home to Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairy Kingdom. They have been arguing over the custody of a young Indian Prince. Titania tells how she promised the boy’s dying mother that she would always protect him. (In India) Oberon, furious with Titania, vows revenge. Once she has been sung to sleep by her fairies (Titania’s Lullaby), he anoints her eyes with a magic potion. When she wakes she will fall in love with the first living creature she sees. Oberon hopes it’s something vile!

He sees Demetrius racing through the forest followed by a tearful Helena, and instructs Puck to place some of the same magic potion into the Athenian man’s eyes. Puck does exactly as his master orders. The trouble is - the sleeping Athenian man Puck finds, happens to be Lysander – not Demetrius.

Helena, tiring of chasing Demetrius, finds Lysander on the ground. Fearing that he has been killed by Demetrius, she shakes him. Lysander awakes and falls in love with the next living creature that he sees… Helena! A confused Helena races away again, pursued by her new love … Lysander. Hermia, awakening from a nightmare and finding herself alone in the dark wood, sets off in search of Lysander.

It is dark in the woods. Spooky and dark. Scary, spooky and dark. Very. No-one thought about this when they agreed to rehearse in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night. Finally they all manage to meet up, having scared each other half to death in the process, and begin their practice. Puck, always the practical joker, seeing the histrionics of these amateur theatricals, decides to play a prank on the hammiest actor of them all – Nick Bottom. He transforms Bottom’s head into an ass. Naturally the others, scared out of their wits, flee the forest screaming.

While Puck doubles up in mirth, Bottom tries to show the others that he is neither fooled by their joke, nor indeed afraid of being in the woods … in the dark … alone! He sings a song (Bottom the Brave) which wakes the sleeping Titania who instantly falls in love with him.

Puck is beside himself with glee, and tells Oberon the story so far (Puck’s Song). Oberon, realising that Puck has put the love juice on the wrong Athenian’s eyes, anoints Demetrius. Instead of the two men pursuing Hermia as they were earlier, now they are both after Helena. The four friends argue (Argument In The Woods).

Oberon, who now has the Indian Prince, decides to resolve the confusions. He instructs Puck to enchant the four friends, and make them fall asleep on the ground. By simply removing the spell from Lysander, Puck ensures that Lysander will love Hermia, and Demetrius will love Helena. Oberon removes the spell from Titania, and transforms Bottom back to “normal”. To all of them events of this Midsummer Night will seem like a Dream.

Theseus and Hippolyta are out early to enjoy a spot of hunting on their Wedding Morning. Theseus, delighted that the Wedding dispute has been satisfactorily resolved, suggests the two couples join him in a Triple Wedding Ceremony (A Triple Wedding).

To their delight, Bottom returns to his friends with the news that their play has been chosen. The men, particularly Bottom, give the performance of their lives, in a most ridiculous production of Pyramus and Thisbe (Pyramus And Thisbe). Finally as the clock chimes midnight Oberon and Titania arrive to add their own wedding blessings. And as in all the best stories they all live HAPPILY EVER AFTER (The Dream).


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