By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
*Mild Spoilers Ahead!*
William Shakespeare has such a unique sense of style to his plays that some people would consider his work to be its own genre. The timelessness of Shakespeare’s plays have been performed, adapted for cinema and TV, and even modernized in order to appeal to contemporary audiences. One of the most (in)famous movies ever made is the 1998 “Best Picture” winner Shakespeare in Love (even though many people feel that the nominated films were robbed of Oscars during that same year). Even Shakespeare’s earliest plays continue to endure even though he matured as a writer throughout his career. That is one of the reasons why A Midsummer Night’s Dream remains a classic even tough it was one of the first plays that Shakespeare wrote.
Like many of his plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream beautifully explores the themes of love, marriage, and illusion versus reality. The dream-like quality of this play complements the romantic aspects within the plot to create one of the greatest romantic comedies ever written (as well as adapted for theater, film, and television). The 1999 all-star version might not have done justice to the original play, but this BBC version preserves the majesty of this celebrated classic. One of the most famous lines from the play is, “The course of true love never did run smooth” because that quotation both summarizes the play as well as epitomizes the power of love while also suggesting its surrealism.
Sometimes people do go head over heels when they are in love. Some would also say that being in love is like being under a spell. Maybe these famous clichés can credit William Shakespeare for their existence because those sayings are so seminal. The Bard is also the one responsible for Romeo and Juliet, which could be viewed as the opposite of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in terms of how Shakespeare portrays the complications associated with love itself.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1981) Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every scene in Athens
Take a Drink: for every scene in the woods
Drink a Shot: for every magical moment
And Cheers: to one of the greatest romantic comedies ever told (Fun fact: One of the taglines for Shakespeare in Love is, “A comedy about the greatest love story almost never told”)