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A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream is full of music. The text refers throughout to songs and dances, by all the groups of players - the human court, the fairy court and the mechanicals - and even where the script does not explicitly call for music, there are indications that in the original production much of the play would have been sung. Many key speeches are not in prose or the iambic pentameter Shakespeare often used for verse, but rather in a simpler, rhyming verse form that brings to mind the madrigals and broadside ballads central to Elizabethan life.

There are songs in many Shakespeare plays, but Midsummer Night's Dream is exceptional in its seamless, pervasive integration of music and drama. It may be the forerunner of an art form that only reached its peak in the 20th century. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, as in the Broadway musical, when feelings are too high for speech, they sing - and when feelings are too high for song, they dance.

The world of the musical is a world apart, a world that "seems a dream" and that abides only by the "night-rule of a haunted grove". So the music for our production is in many styles, from many periods; whatever "hot ice and wondrous strange snow" seemed most fitting to the action - and most likely to please our audience. For "how else to beguile the lazy time, if not with some delight?"

The soundtracks from this playlist can be downloaded in MP3 format from http://soundcloud.com/keith_harrison-broninski.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is full of music. The text refers throughout to songs and dances, by all the groups of players - the human court, the fairy court and the mechanicals - and even where the script does not explicitly call for music, th...
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