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A Midsummer Night's Dream


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#16 SandyMcKean

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 12:12 PM

puppytreats,

Somehow we are talking apples and oranges here. Your original question seemed to focus just on the relationship btwn Oberon and Titania. My response only concerns that. There are no "unintended consequences and mistakes" in that relationship. Oberon knows just what he is doing, and Puck makes no errors in carrying out Oberon's wishes when it comes to Titania.

OTOH, your comments regarding "unintended consequences and mistakes" absolutely apply to the 2 mortal couples in the ballet (and in the play). Puck definitely screws that up (hence all the "mistaken identity" type comedy in the ballet), and Puck's errors regarding the mortal couples definitely infuriates Oberon.

Also, I certainly agree that revenge plays no part in the "unintended consequences and mistakes" that occur in the Helena, Hermia, Lysander, Demetris relationships, but I never said that it did, and in fact, you never asked about that. My comments were directed only to what you had asked about; namely, is revenge a part of Oberon playing his trick on Titania. I believe it does.

The potion was to make T love O and therefore give the boy to him, which she ultimately did, I thought, out of her love and maybe even obedience, not out of being chastened or forcibly coerced or regret after realizing she had been a victim of revenge.


Maybe this part is different btwn the Balanchine and the Ashton versions; but within the Balanchine version, I see this part of the plot completely differently than you. T and O have always been "in love", or at least "in respect", but they are playful gods/fairies/sprites and are forever playing tricks on one another (well beyond the time frame of the ballet plot). In the ballet they have one of their many spats, this time over the page, so Oberon seeks to "get even" (revenge) with Titania. His spell is to make Titania fall for Bottom as a sort of practical joke. In the end, after having his little joke, Oberon uses another flower (at least I think it is a 2nd flower, and I think Oberon does it, but he might have Puck do it.....I don't quite remember) to un-do the spell. Titania forgives Oberon for getting the best of her this time (surely there have been, and forever will be, times when Titania gets the best of Oberon as they play their spritely games), and gives him the page as a sort of peace offering and acknowledgment that he got the best of her.

------ as a aside ------

Allow me a bit of personal speculation here about the larger themes in MSND: love occurs for the god/spirits and for the mortals very, very differently. In the world of mortals, with their finite life span, love is central to their lives, their emotions run high, and love-lost is a painful experience. In a word, it dominates their lives (hence errors in love have grave consequences). But for the immortals, love is just a game like everything else. I think there is a subtle slap in the face that Shakespeare gives to the "gods" here. I believe part of Shakespeare's message is that living forever ain't perfect. Being a "god" who lives forever is essentially to be bored and to be denied the meaning humans find via love (sort of a Mr Spock curse). So the "gods" play jokes on each other out of boredom, and unfortunately on us humans too.....we are essentially at the mercy of bored "gods" (who, thankfully, are kind at heart in the final analysis). Our consolation for being mortal is that we get to feel strongly and experience true love (that which Mr Spock so desperately craved too).

#17 sandik

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:04 AM

Being a "god" who lives forever is essentially to be bored and to be denied the meaning humans find via love (sort of a Mr Spock curse). So the "gods" play jokes on each other out of boredom, and unfortunately on us humans too.....we are essentially at the mercy of bored "gods" (who, thankfully, are kind at heart in the final analysis). Our consolation for being mortal is that we get to feel strongly and experience true love (that which Mr Spock so desperately craved too).


You know, there aren't too many places where I'm going to see an analysis of Midsummer Night's Dream supported by a reference to Star Trek. Big fun!

#18 SandyMcKean

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 08:53 PM

This is an irrational post........

It's just that I can't stop thinking about what a spectacular performance Barry Kerollis did of Puck last night (Friday). Bravo Barry. We are losing a major piece of our future with you leaving. Best of luck!

#19 sandik

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 09:28 PM

This is an irrational post........

It's just that I can't stop thinking about what a spectacular performance Barry Kerollis did of Puck last night (Friday). Bravo Barry. We are losing a major piece of our future with you leaving. Best of luck!


Another friend of mine was in the audience last night as well, and had lots of good things to say about Kerollis.


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