When I was in high school, our theater department did a production on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was a freshman and played the part of Helena. The Director, Tim, did what most directors of Shakespeare do and set the play in modern times. Rather than Athens Greece, the play took play in Athens, GA. Our Theseus looked like Col. Sanders, instead of the King’s Court we had a country club, the fairies were the spice girls (um… this was 1999, so bear that in mind) and the entire score was Swedish and Czech Techno Music. This song in particular was the entrance of the fairies:
Where Tim found this music I will never know, but I fucking loved it.
Since that point, I have always had a soft spot for Midsummer above almost all of Shakespeare (save for Hamlet, which rocks on so many levels). I’ve seen several movie versions of Midsummer, however there has been idea lurking in the back of my mind for the past 13 years on how I would translate the play into a movie.
The biggest change I would make is getting rid of the iambic pentameter entirely (except for one character, but I’ll get to that in a minute). All characters would talk in normal, modern speech but the scenes will play out exactly as they are written
I always loved the update idea but I would take it a step farther. Instead of a country club, we set it in corperate America, similar to the Ethan Hawke version of Hamlet. Theseus, CEO and Preisdent of Athens Corp., would be in the middle of a merger with Hippolyta’s company, Amazon.com, (I know it’s an actual website, but I can’t resist) as well as trying to seduce her.
The “lovers” subplot would be pretty much the same. Egeus would head a division of Theseus’ corporation and Demetrius would be his second in command. Demetrius would be eager to marry the boss’ daughter, Hermia, however she is sleeping with a poor artist, Lysander. Meanwhile, Demetrius is still screwing around with his secretary/assistant Helena. This dynamic would explain explain Helena’s doting/obsessive personality rather than turn her into a stalker and would make it seem like Demetrius feels he’s too good for her.
The Players would be a band, “Mechanical Animal” , rather than an acting troupe. They are trying to book a gig as the band for the gala following the corporate merger. During the course of their practice, Bottom gets increasingly drunk and begins acting like an Asshole. His friends put him in the back of their van to sleep it off.
Now the Fairies…
The Fairies are ravers/club kids. I want the audience to be unsure of whether they are magical beings or not the whole time (spoiler: they are totally magical!). Aside from clothing and dress, the biggest change to the fairies would be transforming Titania into a Drag Queen. The “Indian boy” who caused the initial rift between the couple would be a 19-year-old Indian guy. But my favorite part is Puck.
Puck would be a DJ. In fact, Puck would be Skrillex.
However you feel about Dubstep or Techno music, isn’t this just Perfect? Doesn’t this guy just scream “Puck”? Hell, he has an EP titled “Scary Monsters and Friendly Sprites.” This guy is Puck. If I couldn’t get Skrillex, I’d at least make the actor I get look exactly like this.
Puck is the only character who would speak in Iambic Pentameter. So all conversations with him would have to hit his rhythms
Random Other Details
-Magic Flower= Magic Fairy Drugs.
-End of the show would be the one wedding (Theseus and Hippolyta) instead of 3.
– I would use the same Czech techno (Czechno?) music as I inserted above
-All Fairies would be a mix of male and female