Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bottom's Dream

I was watching what I persist in thinking of as Kevin Kline's A Midsummer Night's Dream last night, though of course more properly the movie belongs to director Michael Hoffman, and when I came to the Pyramis and Thisbe play-within-a-play could not help but think of Hamlet. There are an infinite number of Hamlets and while many of them are bad, none of them are boring.  Hamlet is always worth watching.

In which context, I couldn't help thinking that Pyramis and Thisbe is Shakespeare's demonstration that while theater  can be very, very (and sometimes very, very, very) bad, it is inherently gripping.  When Thisbe, falsetto voice and inability to act convincingl, and all, comes upon the dead body of her lover, the audience falls silent. It's bad. The script is ludicrous.  The actors suck. And yet.

And yet.

Theater is good.  Even bad theater is better than no theater at all.

This is Bottom's dream: That inadequate as he is, he might (possibly with the help of un- sub- or supernatural forces) be a part of something true, something enduring.

Which is my dream as well.



HANNAH'S DAD said...

In Melbourne they've just finished a run of a play which consists of the Rude Mechanicals trying out all the other ideas they had for plays before they settled on Pyramus and Thisbe.

I didn't make it to the show so I can't comment on how well it worked. I can imagine sublime and horrible were both strong possibilities.

Michael Swanwick said...

I envy those who saw it. Maybe it'll come here in five or six years, which seems to be the lag time for Australian art.