I read this marvellous play at the same time as Ben Jonson's Volpone and in so doing was reminded why the Bard is universally popular and admired, and why BJ is probably more the province of professional theatregoers and scholars these days. The latter is no slouch but the assured control and deftness of touch WS exhibits in AMND is breathtaking, whereas old cockney Ben sometimes lays on the dramatic effects with a trowel - apt maybe as he was a bricklayer at one time. Both plays deal with deceit and its consequences, though Volpone is more rooted in the day-to-day nastiness of life as it truly is, whereas Dream is as the word suggests. Helen Hackett provides a thoughtful and insightful introduction and one boon of these Penguin editions is that the glosses are at the back and don't distract from the text. So, good night unto you all.
I think that everyone more or less knows the basic plot of this story, after all it has never gone out of fashion as some plays do. I know that may sound silly but plays do go in and out of fashion as it were, including Shakespeare's dramas. For a while you seem to see prodcutions all round the world of one of his plays, and the next thing you know everyone seems to have gone onto another production. A Midsummer Night's Dream has never seemed to have suffered with that, probably because it is such a funny play.
One of his most popular plays it has also seemed to have had a lot of study gone into it by students, professors, critics etc. since then, so you can easily find ideas to help in studying this on the internet. With its multiple plot lines there is enough to keep even the most jaded of people interested in this. Of course with Puck carrying out the orders of Oberon and getting the wrong people to fall in love with each other this will always have people laughing, and with Titania the Queen of the Fairies falling for the buffoon Bottom I defy anyone not to laugh at this.
With clear text and notes and introduction this edition is more for those studying the play or acting in it, and will have enough in it to keep you interested. Of course if I could play a Shakepsearean character it would have to be Bottom, it is a role where you can really ham it up, indeed my hammed up Richard III always goes down well with family members, so goodness knows what I could do with Bottom.
This is not the best edition of the play but a handy, inexpensive one and useful if you are in or directing it. The best edition is the Arden but its more expensive and best suited to academics and scholars.
the book was reat but i got the book because we were going to put on a play of it but at last moment people who were given a part then decided to drop out which brought the play to a stand still. It was supposed to show at the unity theatre in june this year which i was really looking forward to but lets hope we get a move on with a different play or something ok just thought i.d add that