It’s been exhilarating to have Black Girl Nerds host Shakespeare chats every month for the past seven months.
We have talked about many of the favorites from “Taming of the Shrew”, “Hamlet, “Macbeth”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Othello”, “King Lear”, “Measure for Measure” and, up next, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in June.
The opportunity to discuss Shakespeare with my fellow Bard nerds has become one of my favorite times of the month. And I thank everyone who has participated so far and encourage you to share with your contacts and the folks in your social networks and tell them to join in the fun.
Next up, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in June. This is definitely one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies – everyone loves Puck and his shenanigans. I also find that this play is one that translates well for people who don’t necessarily consider themselves Bard nerds. The whimsical story is one that holds the attention of the reader whether you are eight or 80 years old as you laugh out loud at the crazy romantic dynamics between Helena, Demetrius, Hermia and Lysander. We’ll discuss it all next month.
I must say, we’ve been pretty heavy with our previous discussions from deep diving into family issues and race relations to morality and the complexities of love. It’s going to be a nice change of pace to talk magic and fairytales and be a little whimsical and childlike this time around.
One of the beauties of Shakespeare’s plays is there is something for everyone.
He has a beautiful body of work that includes comedy, tragedy, romance and other topics that delve deep into the soul of humanity. He has also stories like ‘Midsummer’ that allow you to break from the heavy stuff that consumes our everyday lives and enjoy a little bit of mental freedom. Although, I must say, there are some deeper themes such as gender roles in the play. We’ll touch on that a bit in our June discussion, but more than anything, we’ll have fun.
Here’s a brief summary for those who need a bit of a refresher:
Lysander and Hermia are very much in love and want to be together. Helena loves Demetrius but he doesn’t love her back. Meanwhile in the forest Oberon, the King of the Fairies, and Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, are at odds. Oberon insists on placing a spell on her that makes her fall in love with the first creature she sees. This is where Puck comes in, he has been instructed to produce the spell. Oberon also asks Puck to place a spell on Demetrius, who has not been very kind to Helena, to make him fall in love with her. He ends up getting his instructions from Oberon confused and casts a spell on Lysander who then falls in love with Helena. There is also a group of actors in the story and Puck places a spell on one of them, Bottom, turning him into a donkey. When Titania sees him, she falls madly in love with him as she is under the love spell.
There’s a lot going on in the action-packed comedy so we’ll have a lot to discuss.
My theatre company, Shakespeare in Detroit, performed the show last summer and it was our most well-attended show to date. I am excited to relive the play with you all next month.
If you are interested in keeping our chats going, please, tweet me @DetroitSamWhite and @BlackGirlNerds . There are still several plays to discover and chat about and I’d love to keep the Bard nerdom going, if you guys do.
Our “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” chat takes place Sunday, June 14 at 11 a.m. EST. We’ll use the hashtag #AMND.
Shakespeare in Detroit’s, founding artistic director, Sam White, used her decade of experience as a journalist to create a campaign for Shakespeare’s works in Detroit, which resulted in an audience of 500 for the company’s 2013 debut –the most successfully outdoor, Shakespeare in the park experience in the city. She has produced six of the famous author’s plays in less than 18 months and engaged with more than 3000 residents and others.