How have the interactions between the lovers and Puck been staged?
This scene can be quite a complicated scene to follow, and to stage, because there is so much happening. Lysander and Demtrius have been made to fall in love with Helena and are constantly trying to get the better of each other and gain her attention, while Hermia is accusing Helena of stealing Lysander from her. The lines in the text make it clear that the characters are fighting, and that this is a very physical scene. Puck then arrives and uses magic to confuse the lovers even more and finally puts them all to sleep.
Take a look at the Things to Consider and investigate the different ways we’ve portrayed this scene and the lovers' fight in past productions in this picture gallery.
As you look through the images and photographs from past productions of the lovers' fight, think about:
- What choices the director and fight director have made to create the sense of conflict on stage. How have they tried to show the relationships between characters, physically? Is there any comedy to be found in this confusion and these sudden changes in attitude and where do you think this comes across most clearly?
- How costume and appearance has changed. How has the production worked to show that that the characters have been running, sleeping and fighting in the woods? What choices show you that this is not their usual environment or that they are uncomfortable there?
- How involved Puck is. Is Puck part of the action or does he stand separately? How concerned does Puck appear to be and what does this reveal? Is there any sense that Puck is making the fighting worse, or enjoying it?
Where would you choose to set a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and what choices would you make in this scene between the lovers to clearly show their changing feelings and frustration?