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A Midsummer Night's Dream; An Experiment in Allegorical Staging

A Midsummer Night's Dream; An Experiment in Allegorical Staging

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Published by JOHN HUDSON
This M.A. thesis at the SHAKESPEARE INSTITUTE, University of Birmingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon builds on the work of Professor Patricia Parker to describe an experimental staging of the underlying religious allegory in the play, as performed by the Dark Lady Players in 2007 at the Smithsonian as part of the washington Shakespeare Festival. Email;Darkladyplayers@aol.com

Also on Scribd; Layers of Meaning in Shakespeare,The Real Meaning of Midsummer Night's Dream,The Dark Lady Players, and THE DARK LADY; THE WOMAN WHO WROTE SHAKESPEARE Volume 1, 1587-1593, the biography of Amelia Bassano Lanier.
This M.A. thesis at the SHAKESPEARE INSTITUTE, University of Birmingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon builds on the work of Professor Patricia Parker to describe an experimental staging of the underlying religious allegory in the play, as performed by the Dark Lady Players in 2007 at the Smithsonian as part of the washington Shakespeare Festival. Email;Darkladyplayers@aol.com

Also on Scribd; Layers of Meaning in Shakespeare,The Real Meaning of Midsummer Night's Dream,The Dark Lady Players, and THE DARK LADY; THE WOMAN WHO WROTE SHAKESPEARE Volume 1, 1587-1593, the biography of Amelia Bassano Lanier.

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Published by: JOHN HUDSON on May 12, 2009
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1
 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM:
AN EXPERIMENT IN ALLEGORICAL STAGING
byJ.A. HUDSONSubmitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Shakespeare and Theatreof the University of BirminghamThe Shakespeare InstituteApril, 2008
Contact Info;Darkladyplayers@aol.com (212) 769 9537
 
Copyright
2008John HudsonAll Rights Reserved
 
2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
pageINTRODUCTION
PART 1. AN ALLEGORICAL READING OF
DREAM 
The Overall Allegorical plot
The Lovers and their Crosses
Mechanicals; Peter Quince and the ScrollPuck as the DevilCrowning with Flowers
Titus and TitaniaJealous Oberon and the War
Fetching the allegorical ‘Flower’The Dark Side; Philomel and Spotted SnakesMechanicals Rehearsal and Bottom’s TranslationThe Identity of the BeesPuck’s BarberingBottom’s Letter to the CorinthiansWormwood; Death and Resurrection of TitaniaAthens; Theseus and the Sport Stretched with Cruel Pain
Wall Collapses and the Apocalypse
Passion of Pyramus/JesusApocalypse and EpiloguePART 2. DEMONSTRATING THE ALLEGORY IN PRODUCTIONTextual AdaptationsMeta-theatrical conventionsBuilding a CompanyWorkshop ProcessRehearsalsRoles and CharactersGesture and Music
Putting on the showCONCLUSIONPHOTOGRAPHSNOTESBIBLIOGRAPHY
 
3567910101213151616182021212324252829293036373738394042465053
 
3
INTRODUCTION
Allegory was an established feature of Elizabethan life, and was mentioned by a range of contemporary literary commentators.
1
As Sir John Harington emphasised in theintroduction to his translation of 
Orlando Furioso
(1591), the honeyed sweetness of theverse is not where the underlying meaning of an Elizabethan text is to be found, andthose of stronger stomachs should look beneath the surface to digest the allegory.
 
Traces of allegories being employed on the English Renaissance stage include the playsof John Lyly, personified figures such as Rumour in the plays of Shakespeare, the stagedirections in Wilson’s plays, the administrative papers that describe the symbolism of 
Gorbudoc
, and occasional accounts of audience reactions to plays like
The Cradle of Security
or the political allegory in
The Game at Chess
.
2
The morality plays had alsotaught audiences to appreciate religious allegory, although due to the blasphemy laws,overt religious figures could no longer appear on the Elizabethan stage. They thereforere-appeared in covert fashion, the Vice became re-created as the fool,
3
a typical moralitystruggle between a good and evil angel for the soul of man was re-created as
 Dr Faustus
,
4
 and the traditional dramatic Christological theme of the harrowing of hell wasallegorically re-created as the porter’s scene in
Macbeth
.
5
On a larger scale, the wholeof 
 Hamlet 
has been interpreted as a covert religious allegory.
6
This paper examines one particular play
 A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
and focuses not on the contemporary/ political allegory, which has already been well explored, but upon how covert allegory isused to convey radical religious meanings.
7
 

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