“[O]ne touch is added which makes the play colossal. Theseus and his train retire with a crashing finale, full of humour and wisdom and things set right, and silence falls on the house. Then there comes a faint sound of little feet, and for a moment, as it were, the elves look into the house, asking which is the reality. “Suppose we are the realities and they the shadows.” If that ending were acted properly any modern man would feel shaken to his marrow if he had to walk home from the theatre through a country lane.” —GK Chesterton on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare is a surprisingly difficult play to talk about. What do you say about a weird supernatural relationship comedy set in a Greece that feels more like the English countryside? Are there deeper themes to dredge up or is it just supposed be fun? What were you thinking, William Shakespeare? Are our heroes up to the task of talking about it? Will Nathan work in extended references to Gilligan’s Island? The answers await you, Dear Listener!