6 Facts about Mendelssohn and His Wedding March

by Kalina Ko, Literary Intern

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired many different artists. Felix Mendelssohn, a German composer, was one of those artists. One Mendelssohn’s most famous pieces of music is his Wedding March, which was inspired by a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that he saw. Below are some facts about Mendelssohn and his Wedding March.

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You can listen to one performance of his wedding march here:

 

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Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be! — A Dramaturgical Talk

by Kalina Ko, Literary Intern

On June 29, I gave a dramaturgical talk before our invited dress rehearsal. The talk focused on salient aspects of our production that had come up during rehearsal and that I felt were interesting and relevant to our modern day life. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with the cast more and experience the show a few more times. I’ve been able to reflect further on the themes featured in the play. The following is an updated and modified version of the dramaturgical talk I gave on June 29. Continue reading

Shakespeare on the Big Screen

by Kalina Ko, Literary Intern

This summer, a new film adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Casey Wilder Mott will be available to watch in cinemas. Mott has adapted the play to take place in modern day Hollywood rather than ancient Athens. The re-imagination of the play capitalizes on the reputation of Hollywood as a place where magic and reality meet. Continue reading

The Green Show: A Free Shakespeare in the Park Tradition

By Kalina Ko, Literary Intern

A tradition of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is the Green Show. 30 minutes before every Free Shakespeare in the Park production, the intern company performs an original 15-minute educational play which outlines the history of the show and provides a quick synopsis of the story.

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Dewdrop (Gina White), Thorn (Abigail Milnor-Sweetser), and Mulberry (Colleen Scallen) discuss the history and plot of the play. Photo by Jay Yamada. Set by Neal Ormond. Costumes by Hyun Sook Kim. Masks by Kendra Johnson.

Interestingly, the Green Show echoes the prologues that were seen in some of Shakespeare’s plays. One of his most famous prologues appears in Romeo and Juliet. A prologue actually appears in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well. When the mechanicals perform Pyramus and Thisbe at the Duke Theseus’ wedding, Peter Quince steps forward to give a prologue. His prologue has 2 functions. First, he makes an appeal for the audience’s sympathy; he asks the audience to forgive them if they are offensive. Second, Quince provides a summary of the plot.

The presence of a prologue was fairly common in Elizabethan theatre. They usually served, as in the case of Quince’s prologue, to ask pardon from the audience members, provide themes for the play, and give historical context. Prologues were typically performed by a single actor dressed in black, providing a stark contrast to the other, more elaborately dressed, actors. Continue reading

“Two seeming bodies, but one heart”: The Relationship between Helena and Hermia

By Kalina Ko, Literary Intern

Recently, the Folger Shakespeare Library published a blog post titled “Six things to look for when you watch ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.” For the blog post, I submitted a paragraph of my own thoughts on one aspect of the play that I think is important to look out for. Below is an expanded and more in-depth version of that paragraph. The full blog post is linked at the bottom.

I have always been fascinated by the connection between Helena and Hermia. In a play about love and relationships, I think that the friendship and sisterhood between Hermia and Helena is often overlooked. Textually, their relationship quickly evolves from that of two close childhood friends to bitter enemies. How the actors and the director chose to portray this relationship and rationalize why it so quickly falls apart can be incredibly exciting and interesting. Continue reading