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Thank you for joining us for Bristol Old Vic and Handspring Puppet Company’s Midsummer Night’s Dream! Please take a moment to reflect on your experience in the comments below.


Did you see Bristol Old Vic and Handspring Puppet Company’s collaboration on War Horse? What differences in the puppetry stood out to you?

If you’ve seen Midsummer Night’s Dream before, did the production highlight aspects of the play you hadn’t noticed?

Why do you think Midsummer Night’s Dream is Shakespeare’s most produced play?

Thank you for joining us! We hope to see you soon at the theatre!


  1. The physical production was a wonder, with the most wondrous element perhaps being the hand that Oberon wielded. Who knew an extremity could be so eloquent!? So with all that, I was totally defeated by most of the actors and and their vocal style, which was generic High-School-Gotta-Declaim-Shakespeare. It bore absolutely no relation to what was on the stage, and it was left to the puppets, sticks, and magic flowers to convey at least a portion of what’s at the heart of this play. Comparisons, which I couldn’t avoid, with Peter Brooks’ version, or an even earlier one I saw at Harvard with Tommy Lee Jones and Stockard Channing, didn’t do this one any favors.

  2. professor ian wellerMarch 8, 2014 at 11:21 am

    This was a wonderful experience .The largely young cast brought a vibrant energy to the play and the set ,puppetry and use of the planks, as a constantly moving partition and partial back drop was brilliant .I was surrounded on the first night by groups of young students and the whole production, more than many that I have seen, helped them grasp the comedy and beauty of the play.
    There was a standing ovation with a few traditionalists ,I guess, stuck to their seats. Thank you for making my last night of a stay in Boston so enjoyable

  3. Having my imagination transported to new dimensions while viewing Warhorse in London last year, I was compelled to attend Handspring Puppet Company’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. This production exceeded my expectations with lighthearted, as well as shocking, mechanically humane characters teasing my eyes and my brain. A must see!

  4. Linda GreensteinMarch 9, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    It was wonderful, humorous and inventive. The actring was outstanding especially Miltos Yerolemou who showed off his acting abilities and his bottom. My young companions laughed many times and were in awe of some of the puppets.

  5. marshall wolfMarch 10, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Acoustics were terrible. everyone in my section of the orchestra was compolaining they could not understand half of the cast.
    they need to be MIKED!!!

  6. The remarkable youth and energy of the cast really complemented the creativity of the production. They truly made this “dream” a fun experience without undue solemnity. A terrific “show.”

  7. gail spilsburyMarch 10, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I love this play and bought a ticket to immerse myself in the land of magic and enchantment. The production’s creativity mesmerized me and I remained in the magical realm long after the play ended. The actors used extra layers of talent handling the puppets. The real bottom was a distraction from the unreal universe. When Shakespeare is this fresh and good, I know the playwright himself would be delighted as a member of the audience.

  8. I just loved this production — much more than any I’ve seen over the years — and it must be due to the youthful energy on stage, but also how comfortable each character was with his/her role (even waving wooden boards around in the air). I was completely drawn into this wonderful celebration.

  9. Wendy WheelerMarch 13, 2014 at 11:07 am

    It was absolutely brilliant. The humor was both wildly slapstick, yet quite witty in the delivery and expressions of the actors. The use of the puppets and props were mesmerizing. We see all the Shakespeare in the Boston area, visiting or resident, and this was definitely one of the best. Although I could have done with a bit less “bottom”. 🙂

  10. Barb SchneiderMarch 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I beg to differ with Mr. Mallis. I have seen this play many, many times including both the renowned Yale actors’ version of the 1980’s and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre version in London. I also saw War Horse on stage so I already embraced the creativity and unique flavor puppets bring to a production. I think Shakespeare would have loved this version! I could hear him laughing loudly when Bottom appeared. This version was completely entertaining, creative, well-acted (especially the first scene of the group planning the play within the play and the scene when the two females argue the merits of height or lack there of), and worthy of the theatre and the play itself. The size of the theatre was perfect for this performance and the groups’ mingling in the audience brought everyone onto the stage. I will definitely watch for more offerings by this group, and more offerings done in this theatre. Bravo! If I was still teaching English, this would have been a must-see for my students!

  11. The expression conveyed by these minimalist seemingly scrabbled together puppets was surprising. A head and a hand, manipulated by a visible actor was suddenly a whole being. Because hearing is not my sharpest skill and because of the accents, it was well into the second act before I could figure out what the actors were saying. But because I had seen the play numerous times I always knew what was going on and delighted with this take on the woods, the lovers, the “acting company”. My two favorite visual puns were, no surprise, when Bottom took the role of the ass and when the hero of the acting company’s play was described as a tall man and the other actors quietly sunk to their knees since he was the shortest of them all. I still laugh when I remember it. I would describe the evening as one of unbridled genius. It all went on too long, but that’s Shakespeare’s fault, not the fault of this young, spirited, hilarious group.

  12. Agree entirely with Mr Mallis about the wonderful puppets/props/machinery, though some of it was a bit too abstract for me. The Bottom’s Up machine was especially memorable. Rude Mechanicals, indeed. Also agree alas, that delivery of the lines by some actors at all times and all actors at some times was either hard to hear or somewhat wooden. Thankfully, I know the play pretty well. Finally, if EVER there were an appropriate production to end with “If we mortals have offended…” this was it. Excision left a terrible hole for me at the end.
    Have seen this play many times – from high school productions to both Stratfords and the two previous productions with which Mr. Orchard has been connected. I think it’s the most produced Shakespeare play because it is briliiantly written and almost everyone can relate to both the inexplicable nature of romantic love and the undeniable power it seems to hold over most of us. Certainly the Mechanicals’ play is a towering highlight of comic literature; and it is just the icing on an already delicious cake.

  13. Pauls ThompsonMarch 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I liked the production, particularly the youthful energy and playing the lovers very young. I also liked the puppetry and the music. We were in Row O, though, and it was hard to hear. Theseus and Bottom could really project their voices but others aren’t projecting enough. And Shakespeare is hard to appreciate when you’re not getting a sterling delivery that allows you to savor the words.

  14. I came with somewhat dubious expectations, but from the first word uttered on stage, was in thrall. A magical production, with an inspired Puck, a spirited cast, and a marvelous staging. How wonderful it would be to see more good Shakespeare on the stage– thank you for a bold vision!

  15. Mark GarrattMarch 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I was transfixed throughout. The confidence and suavity of the crew was tremendous. From the start, where the “rough mechanicals” are mingling in the audience, stirring things up, the atmosphere was electric – and full of promise. The puppetry was brilliant – the cast makes no effort to hide the use and handling of the puppets and props – and this is the right way to go because the mind needs no persuading to suspend disbelief. The scales are managed so well, from flashy tiny puck to godlike Oberon. The gods are thoroughly believable as gods, the Athenian court, the mechanicals likewise. Bottom deserves his own late night show. Really impressed by the quality of plays that Emerson attracts from all over the world. Well done.

  16. Cheryl BrowneMarch 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    The production was wonderous and perfect. Came away transformed. I love the fact that so many of ArtsEmerson shows incorporate puppetry of some sort.

  17. We enjoyed the production as much as one could with the acute problem with the actors’ voices. We were about 8 rows back, on the left, and for too much of the play we could not hear the actors. At one point in the beginning, we actually contemplated walking out. We stayed because the originality of the production held us. If the music and sounds could be quite easily heard, we do not understand why there were no microphones for the actors. Far too often, the actors turned away from the audience when speaking and at a few points when there were multiple actors speaking at once, their own accents interfered with the actual words.
    The idea was original, but whoever decided not to use microphones, in our opinion, made a mistake. We told friends that the concept was interesting, but do not spend the money, especially if you are at all unfamiliar with the play.

  18. John EvansMarch 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Lot of fun. The final sequence was really magical, and I think going that route was a good call over ending with Puck’s traditional epilogue; it just wouldn’t have worked there. I’d always kind of thought Oberon to be somewhat uninteresting in other productions, but here the props really made him a most imposing presence. Bottom’s depiction was … uhm … inspired … Terrific!


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