A Midsummer Night's Dream

SHAKESPEARE AND SPIRIT

Shakespeare is the man whose works are most known in the world and whose life’s least known. In the wake of the Renaissance and the opening of the New World, this wordsmith/musician offered plays to the public in England’s first theatre.

On a conceptual level, this language-maker created over 1800 new words (from madcap, rant, zany, and bump to lonely, champion, pre-meditated, and metamorphose), naming for us, helping us to become conscious of new ideas, feelings, impulses. Ranging from the bawdiest Anglo-Saxon to the most refined French, and the most abstract Latinate words, Shakespeare’s language is the liveliest in the world. Almost inexhaustible, it continuously springs forth, spirit-enthused.

People then throughout all levels of London and now throughout the world experience in all of Shakespeare’s characters (from Juliet, Ophelia, and Rosalind to Gertrude and Lady Macbeth, from Falstaff and Feste the clown to Hamlet, Iago, Othello, Lear and Prospero) universal human archetypes reflecting aspects within each of us individually. 

Do we ever know Shakespeare’s point of view? No, he inhabits each character, allowing the character itself to find voice. His plots reflect the interactions of free will and fate, of the forces of destiny, of karma. With what Keats later named “negative capability,” Shakespeare, nothing himself, gave us new language of character, gave us a universal language for soul experience.

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing by William Blake, c. 1786

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing by William Blakec. 1786

Shakespeare continues to help humanity to incarnate more fully into our human experience. His plays are set in numerous places in the world, among all kinds of people. His plays include names of 150 plants, of numerous birds and animals. The Globe Theater itself was shaped in an O, with lower class on the ground in front of the stage, with middle class in the seats around the ring, with nobility in box seats, balcony, and even on stage. With trap door to the underworld, with the actual heavens above the sun, moon and stars painted on the roof above the projecting stage, which represented “middle” earth, the stage of the actions of our lives, the Globe Theater did indeed embody a microcosm of our universe. 

With unprecedented objectivity William Shakespeare embodied the activity of the timeless, the spirit, in the timely, the soul, guiding humanity forward into new consciousness.   Shakespeare, master of both Comedy and Tragedy, evolved the Medieval Mystery Plays into new forms, leading humanity forward into modern Mysteries.

– John Wulsin     

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1597. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals) who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

DETAILS

Location: TBA

Date & Time: TBA

Ticket Price: TBA

WHY FEATURE SHAKESPEARE AT A RUDOLPH STEINER FESTIVAL?

The artistic board of Lemniscate Arts took its time in deciding which Shakespeare play we would present.  The decision was between The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Our question was which play presented the spiritual dimensions of life on stage and also could best be expressed through the arts developed from the work of Rudolf Steiner.

In the end we thought and felt that the Dream gave us the most opportunity to reveal how these arts work on stage and offered the optimum audience potentials as it is more accessible for younger people than The Tempest.  We hope you find the joy and mystery in our production.

 

Reviews

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— J.A.

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— L.K.

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