"A Midsummer Night's Dream" was written around the same time as "Romeo and Juliet" (c1595). And so this comedy and tragedy stand back to back to each other with their
common theme of love. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is in a nutshell the story of love and marriage of five couples. As for these couples, one of them is from "Pyramus
and Thisby" a play performed by artisans (clowns), but their love never comes to pass and the curtain closes on their love suicide. This play within a play, which runs
throughout "A Midsummer Night's Dream", is a parody on "Romeo and Juliet".
There are two points of interest in this play, the first is that the hearts of our lovers are changed by magic, and secondly, all the mayhem is solved in the end in a very impossible way. And so, we are made to think, where exactly is true love? In a world of a play within a play? Perhaps in a world made by magic?
I wonder if the Forest of Athen's in the play isn't the darkness at the bottom of the human heart. Actually, the forest in Shakespeare's head is the Arden Forest where he often played. As for me, when I asked myself where is my 'forest'? my mind drew a blank. At this time, I happened to be staying in Bali on business, and whilst smelling the aroma of the sea and listening to the music of the Gamelan, it occurred to me that my 'forest' is the 'sea'.
A Bali "Midsummer Night's Dream". Fantastic! However, at times when I doubt myself and ask if we're using Tohoku-ben then why Indonesia? I can hear in the deepest part of my ear the piece of music entitled 'Enyadot' (a folk song). Mount Kinkazan and Ajishima Island (visible from the top of the mountain at the tip of the Ojika peninsula), and the small Matsushima Bay (as if being cradled by a bigger bay around it). Also, the Urato Islands quietly floated up as an image of what I had in mind. In the end, decisions were made. The year 2010, the place the town of Shiomo. The island was to be Nonnoshima. Borrowing Miyazawa Kenji's image Athens became Shiomo, the forest of Athens became Nonnoshima, the artisans became fishmongers, stationary sellers, painters, liquor vendors, tofu sellers. What about the fairies?
This play doesn't have a protagonist like Hamlet. There are the three worlds of the aristocracy, the artisans and the fairies, and within each, each individual has their own important role to fulfil. However, the characters of Shakespeare who gain a popularity not inferior to that of those who play lovers like Romeo and Juliet and Ophelia are Puck and Bottom. In the original work Bottom is changed into a donkey but what exactly will a donkey change into? This is something to look forward to until one has seen the play.
In the very deepest parts of this play a dark confusion blankets all around.
Starting from the palms of the King and Queen of Sprites and continuing with the lovers and the King and Queen of Shiomo, the faint light that shines upon the lovers in the end of this play within a play is the light of true love, which the Kappa gives to the lovers of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from the plate on his head.