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Production description

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Le songe d’une nuit d’été), directed by Peter Brook, Royal Shakespeare Company.

Also known as Peter Brook’s Dream

Premiered in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1970 and then moved to the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End in 1971. World tour in 1972-3.

Brook rejected the 19th-century realist tradition and used the play as a metaphor. The now renowned set, designed by Sally Jacobs, is a white box with two doors. When on tour, stagehands and lighting technicians are visible during performance.

Watch the clip showing Oberon and Puck.

Act 2 Scene 1

OBERON (to Puck): I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.

 

Peter Brook on A Midsummer Night’s Dream: a cook and a concept – Brook’s 1970 RSC production of Shakespeare’s play featured circus trapezes, stilts and plate-spinning – and changed theatre history for good. In an extract from his new book, Peter Brook explains how this most seductive of Dreams came alive.

 

Comments (2):

  1. Chase F. says:

    Please tell me how/where I can find a copy of this production in full. I’ve searched everywhere and can only find clips.

    Thanks!

    • Belinda Yung says:

      To the best of our knowledge, a video of the full production is not available online or on DVD. Peter Brook’s two other Shakespeare productions Hamlet and King Lear are available on DVD for rent or purchase.

      As of May 18, 2015, Hamlet is available for rent from Netflix, and King Lear is available for purchase from Jubilee DVDs.

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    A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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    stage
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    Brook, Peter | Productions
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    Oberon from Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1970)

    Note: Act 2 Scene 1

    OBERON (to Puck): I pray thee, give it me.
    I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
    Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
    Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
    There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
    Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
    And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
    Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
    And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
    And make her full of hateful fantasies.

    TV Documentary: A Midsummer Night's Dream, dir. Peter Brook (1970)

    Note: Television documentary - highlights