An examination of two modern interpretations of Shakespeare's `A Midsummer Night's Dream.'

Essay by cheathouse1University, Bachelor's November 2005

download word file, 8 pages 5.0

Downloaded 31 times

Modern theatres and audience expectations are very different to the expectations of Shakespeare's time. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was rediscovered on the South Bank in 1989 which, at the time, was an entirely different experience of any theatre we know today. There was no roof, no cushioned seats, and most of the audience would be standing in a circular space on the floor, whilst cheering on the actors, like fans at a football match. Modern theatre audiences watch the play silently in respect to others and sit comfortably, admiring a radiant stage with professional actors dressed up to scratch and realistic props which take the audience into another world. Whereas, at The Globe, theatre expeactations were very different. The audience depended upon good weather and sunlight to enhance the enjoyment of watchting the play. Only the affordable would sit in the tiers surrounding the edge of The Globe, onlooking the stage with very few props basic costumes and no background.

However, the audience were still taken away, but by the visualative words which created a sense of escapism.

In Shakespeare's Globe, the audience expectation was very different from todays. The audience did not expect realism from the props and believed anything. For example when Oberon states, `I am invisible,' which is how Shakespeare painted the scenery with his words without the use of camouflaged costumes or blending backdrops. These days, the audience expect much more than just words.

Other detail such as stage directions also affect the audience expectations of today. A modern playwright brings much more detail compared to Shakespeare's stage directions. This can be seen from the play `Death of a Salesman,' written by Arther Miller. The first page of the play is filled with stage directions. For example, `the flute plays on. He hears it but is not...