“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
Shakespeare’s band of hempen homespuns have run amok and taken over this midsummer night. In a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy of magic and mayhem, Bottom and the Rude Mechanicals take center stage as they do their best to put on a show full of tragical mirth while mischievous woodland fairies do their best to get in the way. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the merriment that ensues.
A group of workers gather to rehearse a play they hope to perform for their Duke, Theseus, and his new wife, Hippolyta, to celebrate their wedding. The workmen, or “Rude Mechanicals,” are led by a carpenter named Peter Quince. Focusing primarily on the big personality of the leading man, Nick Bottom, Bottom’s Dream follows the actors in their attempts to perfect their version of an ancient love story, Pyramus and Thisbe.
Rehearsals get complicated, however, when the Rude Mechanicals decide to practice their play in the nearby fairy-infested woods. Bottom ends up as the butt of a joke when the mischievous fairy, Puck, turns his head into a donkey head! The other Rude Mechanicals, horrified by Bottom’s new appearance, run away from him, leaving Bottom alone in the woods. In the meantime, the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, have had a huge fight. Oberon is so angry with Titania that he orders Puck to play a trick on her. While she is sleeping, Puck uses a magic potion on Titania’s eyes that will make her fall in love with the first creature she sees. Of course, the first creature that Titania sees upon waking is Bottom—with the head of a donkey. She falls madly in love with him.
Oberon eventually removes the spell from Titania, and when Bottom is turned back into his human self, his memory of Titania and her love feel like a strange and beautiful dream to him. After thinking about this dream, he finds his troupe of Rude Mechanicals, who are excited to see him (since they could not have performed the play without him). When asked what performance he wants to see to celebrate his wedding, Theseus—against the advisement of his Master of Revels—chooses to view Pyramus and Thisbe. Though they are poor actors, Theseus greatly admires their efforts and honorably discharges them after the completion of their somewhat odd performance.