A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
Retold for Young Audiences 
by Gillette Elvgren 

About the Play: In this adaptation of Shakespeare's play, four "players" in a traveling clown troupe wake up one morning to discover that they have been abandoned by the other members of the company. That evening they are required to perform A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM before the local Squire and they have to madly re-invent the play so that it can be done with four clowns. The rehearsal which follows reveals not only the heart of Shakespeare's play, but the machinations of play-making itself. This version has audience participation, and was first produced by the Young Company of the Three River's Shakespeare Festival. 

The Cast: 2 men and 2 women and a lot of doubling.
BUFFO ———— A large, rather offish clown.
ARLE ————— A female Arlechino.
LEANDRO —— The lover clown, full of himself.
CELESTINA -— The spoiled young leading lady.

45 minutes playing time.

From the Play:  SCENE THREE

PUCK: (Acrobatics, anything spectacular.) Over hill, over dale, through bush, through briar, over park, over pale, through flood, through fire. I AM that merry wanderer of the night. And Oberon, the fairy king, doth keep his revels here tonight. And I must take heed the fairy Queen, one Titania by name, comes not within his sight.  (ARLE drops out of Fairy character.) You see. Puck has a real problem here, and it's really complicated. I mean, Oberon, that's his boss, well he wants this little slave boy that Titania has and Titania won't give him up. They're fairies you see, so when they argue, the weather goes all wrong, and rivers run upstream rather than down, and everybody sees red, and every once in a while a cow falls over dead.

(VOICES from off.)

VOICES: Arle!


About the playwright: 

Gillette Elvgren has been writing for over thirty years, his plays have been produced by professional theatre companies throughout the United States and Canada. He is co-founder and resident playwright for Saltworks Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, PA. There have been approximately 8,000 performances of Elvgren scripts.

While a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh he was head of the M.F.A. directing program and staff director for the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival. Presently he is a Professor in Theatre Arts at Regent University, Virginia Beach.

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ARLE: (Becoming PUCK again.) Oh yes, back to being Puck, But hark, methinks I hear them coming now. Titania and Oberon, King and Queen of the fairies. 

(He does an elaborate bow. LEANDRO and CELESTINA enter as King and Queen of the fairies. Fairy entrance music. BUFFO follows TITANIA on, holding up her long train. He wears a wig and little fairy wings. PUCK goes over to be close to OBERON.)

OBERON: Well met by moonlight, proud Titania.

TITANIA: What? Jealous Oberon. Fairies, be off. I have forsworn his Company.

OBERON: Tarry rash lady...  (He mimes putting a spell on her with musical cue. The two are locked in a battle of magical spells. Of course, PUCK and BUFFO get the worst of this battle, being thrown around the stage by the magic of their Lords.)  Am I not thy Lord?

TITANIA: Then I must be thy lady.

OBERON: I do but beg a little Indian boy to be my servant.

TITANIA: The child is not mine to give. His mother died, and as she was a close friend it is for her sake that I rear up the boy. I will not part from him.


A Midsummer Night's Dream: A One-Act Comedy for Youth with Small Cast and Simple Set


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