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«DRAMA AND ANALYSIS ACT 1, SCENE 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens with the Duke, Theseus, and his wife-to-be, Hippolyta, talking happily about ...»

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PRE-PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY ONE:

FULL OF VEXATION

CURRICULUM LINKS

English: ACELT1620, ACELT1622, ACELT1625, ACELY1725, ACLEY1721, ACELT1627, ACELT1632, ACELY1732,

ACELY1810, ACELA1552, ACELA1553, ACELA1770, ACELT1771, ACELT1635, ACELT1636, ACELT1773, ACELY1739,

ACELY1742, ACELY1743, ACELY1744, ACELY1745, ACELY1746, ACELA1565, ACELT1640, ACELT1812, ACELT1643,

ACELT1644, ACELY1749, ACELY1752 Drama: ACADRM040, ACADRR045, ACADRR052.

DRAMA AND ANALYSIS

ACT 1, SCENE 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens with the Duke, Theseus, and his wife-to-be, Hippolyta, talking happily about their upcoming wedding. Egeus, Hermia’s father, enters at line 20, complaining about his daughter and making demands of the Duke.

1. Read lines Act 1, Scene 1, lines 20-127. Describe what happens in this scene and which characters are involved.

2. The scene instantly turns from happiness to a more serious tone. Why do you think Shakespeare has done this?

3. Read on to line 179. Who are the two characters and what do they decide to do?

4. How does this decision impact the rest of the play?

Creative writing and performance Act 1, Scene 1 is set in motion after two characters are not allowed to do something they feel is right, because the rules of the world they live in declare it wrong.

5. Create a story outline for a fictional movie, play or novel. Make sure you do the following:

• Decide on a time period or setting for your story that is in a world with definite restrictions and rules

• Create two characters who are in a close relationship (could be partners, friends, brother and sister, etc.)

• Decide what these two characters want most in the world that goes against the rules of the world

• Decide whether the two characters fight the rule or agree to it

• What happens after this point?

• What could be a possible climax and ending for the story?

6. Choose one of the following moments in the story and write it in your chosen form:

• The moment the characters are told they would be going against the rules of their world if they do what they want to do

• The moment they either decide to fight against or agree to the rule

• A private moment between the two characters where they discuss why they want to break the rules of their society.

Page 1 of 8

LEARNING RESOURCES A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

© Bell Shakespeare 2016, unless otherwise indicated. Provided all acknowledgements are retained, this material may be used, reproduced and communicated free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes within Australian and overseas schools

PRE-PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY TWO:

METAPHORICAL LANGUAGE

CURRICULUM LINKS

English: ACELA1537, ACELT1621, ACELT1623, ACELT1627, ACELT1767, ACELY1730, ACELY1733, ACELA1552, ACELA1553, ACELT1771, ACELT1635, ACELT1636, ACELY1739, ACELY1740, ACELY1742, ACELY1743, ACELY1744, ACELT1640, ACELY1749, ACELY1752

READING AND WRITING

In the scenes presented in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s choice of words and phrases highlights the love and the magic that obsesses the characters.

Helena loves Demetrius but in this scene (overleaf) he does not reciprocate her feelings. This is a scene full of comparisons. (Act 2, Scene 1)

After reading the scene, ask students the following questions:

1. 1) Where and why does Helena compare herself to a dog? What does she mean by this?

2. Find examples of where she takes Demetrius’ words and reverses them to exaggerate her love.

3. Explain the conceit (extended metaphor) Helena establishes in her speech beginning “You draw me, you heard-hearted adamant”.

4. Who were Apollo and Daphne, and what does this reference mean?

5. What does Helena mean when she says “I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell, / To die upon the hand I love so well.”

6. Find the meaning of the following:

• Impeach

• Adamant

• Wood within this wood

• Fawn

• Cowardice

• Valour

–  –  –

I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.

Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?

The one I’ll slay, the other slayeth me.

Thou told’st me they were stolen unto this wood;

And here am I, and wood within this wood Because I cannot meet my Hermia.

Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.

HELENA You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;

But yet you draw not iron, for my heart Is true as steel: leave you your power to draw, And I shall have no power to follow you.

DEMETRIUS Do I entice you? do I speak you fair?

Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth Tell you, I do not, nor I cannot love you?

HELENA And even for that do I love you the more.

I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,

The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:





Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you.

What worser place can I beg in your love, And yet a place of high respect with me, Than to be used as you use your dog?

DEMETRIUS Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;

For I am sick when I do look on thee.

HELENA And I am sick when I look not on you.

DEMETRIUS You do impeach your modesty too much, To leave the city and commit yourself Into the hands of one that loves you not;

To trust the opportunity of night

–  –  –

HELENA Your virtue is my privilege: for that It is not night when I do see your face, Therefore I think I am not in the night;

Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,

For you in my respect are all the world:

Then how can it be said I am alone, When all the world is here to look on me?

DEMETRIUS I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.

HELENA The wildest hath not such a heart as you.

Run when you will, the story shall be changed:

Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;

The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind Makes speed to catch the tiger; bootless speed, When cowardice pursues and valour flies.

DEMETRIUS

I will not stay thy questions; let me go:

Or, if thou follow me, do not believe But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.

HELENA Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field, You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!

Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex:

We cannot fight for love, as men may do;

We should be wood and were not made to woo.

Exit DEMETRIUS I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love so well.

Exit Page 4 of 8

LEARNING RESOURCES A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

© Bell Shakespeare 2016, unless otherwise indicated. Provided all acknowledgements are retained, this material may be used, reproduced and communicated free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes within Australian and overseas schools

PRE-PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY THREE:

MAKING MAGIC

CURRICULUM LINKS

English: ACELA1537, ACELT1621, ACELT1623, ACELT1627, ACELT1767, ACELY1730, ACELY1733, ACELA1552, ACELA1553, ACELT1771, ACELT1635, ACELT1636, ACELY1739, ACELY1740, ACELY1742, ACELY1743, ACELY1744, ACELT1640, ACELY1749, ACELY1752

COMPREHENSION AND VISUAL MEDIA

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oberon sends Puck to collect contents for a potion to make characters fall in love.

Consider the words of Oberon (2.1.155–75):

OBERON That very time I saw, but thou couldst not, Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took At a fair vestal throned by the west, And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;

But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon, And the imperial vot’ress passed on, In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:

It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound, And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.

Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:

The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid Will make or man or woman madly dote Upon the next live creature that it sees.

Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

Answer the following:

1. Oberon refers to Cupid. Who is Cupid and why would Oberon refer to him?

2. Oberon uses the word ‘fiery.’ Why? What does fire suggest?

3. What is a leviathan? Why does Oberon use this sentence? What does he mean to say to Puck?

4. Ask students to artistically illustrate this scene as a comic strip.

Page 5 of 8

LEARNING RESOURCES A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

© Bell Shakespeare 2016, unless otherwise indicated. Provided all acknowledgements are retained, this material may be used, reproduced and communicated free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes within Australian and overseas schools

PRE-PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY FOUR:

INSIDE THE DESIGNER’S MIND

CURRICULUM LINKS

English: ACELA1529, ACELA1531, ACELT1619, ACELT1620, ACELT1621, ACELT1622, ACELY1719, ACELY1720, ACELA1547, ACELT 1626, ACELT1627, ACELT1630, ACELY1730, ACLEY1808, ACELA1560, ACELT1771, ACELT1634, ACELT1635, ACELT1637, ACELY1742, ACELY1745, ACELA1565, ACELA1567, ACELA1572 ACELT1639, ACELT1640, ACELT164, ACELT1812, ACELY1749, ACELY1752

CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING

Take a look at the set images for the production by Designer Teresa Negroponte, and answer the following questions.

SET DESIGN Look at Design Diagrams.

1. What is your first impression of the set?

2. What elements or features of the set design stand out?

3. What mood do you think the designer is trying to create with this set?

4. How do you think a director might tell the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on this set? Choose one section of the story and write your thoughts on how you might stage it using the design.

5. Describe the textures and features of the design in model box form.

6. Think about the world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. How do you think the set design might be symbolic of the play?

7. What other design elements will be added to the production in addition to the set design? How do you think these elements may be used with this set?

DESIGN THE COSTUMES

Now play the role of costume designer, once you have analysed the set design.

8. List all the elements of a costume that designers must take into account.

9. List all the key characters in the play, then:

• Describe the character making reference to social status, personality traits, personal relationships, their role in the story, and any other important aspects.

• Design the costume for each character. How do you think the character’s costume will communicate these aspects of their personality?

• What skills do actors use to transform into a character? Describe as many as you can think of.

• How would you expect the actors performing as the characters in the designs to embody their characters, using these skills?

Page 6 of 8

LEARNING RESOURCES A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

© Bell Shakespeare 2016, unless otherwise indicated. Provided all acknowledgements are retained, this material may be used, reproduced and communicated free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes within Australian and overseas schools

PRE-PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY FIVE:

THE PLOT SUMMARY

CURRICULUM LINKS

English: ACELA1782, ACELT1619, ACELT1622, ACELY1719, ACELY1723, ACELT1627, ACELT1807, ACELY1730, ACELY1742, ACELA1572, ACELY1749, ACELY1752, ACELY1754 Drama: ACADRM040, ACADRM041, ACADRM044, ACADRR045, ACADRM048, ACADRM051, ACADRR052,

WRITING AND PRACTICAL DRAMA

A good way to help students keep the whole story in mind is to use simple physical drama activities to recount the plot of the play.

After taking students through the synopsis for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, divide them into groups of 4–6 students.

Each group needs to:

1. Divide the play into key moments and list these.

2. Represent each of these moments as a tableau using each person in their group.

3. Present the series of tableaus to the rest of the class.

4. The students watching each presentation should note the differing view of key moments and how different groups present each moment.

EXTENSION

1. Ask students to consider the status of each character in each scene or follow the status of one character through a series of scenes.

2. Ask students to repeat their tableaux but to assign the levels of status to the number of people in the group (i.e. six people will have six status levels from 1 the highest to 6 the lowest or vice versa).

3. After assigning status to characters within a scene, students return to the text and identify a line of speech from the scene for each character. Students consider how to present this line to maintain the assigned status and to create meaning within the tableau.

Page 7 of 8

LEARNING RESOURCES A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM



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