Sunday, February 6, 2011

Real World vs. Green World

Movies like Inception, illnesses like schizophrenia, theories like postmodernism, and plays like A Midsummer Night's Dream cause you to ask the question, "What the heck is real?" I've thought about this question a lot this week as I read through this Shakespearean comedy. Something I found interesting as I was reading some background on the play is that in some productions the same actors who play Theseus and Hippolyta also play Oberon and Titiana. This blurs the distinctions between the "real world" and the "green world" as well as the concept of reality.

Along with this, I also thought about the movie Dead Poet's Society in which A Midsummer Night's Dream is performed. So, we go from a play within a play to the level of a play within a play within a movie. This surreal set up runs along side one of the messages of the movie. Neil, the boy who goes against his father's wishes and performs in the play, is ripped away from his dreams of becoming an actor and hits a brick wall of "reality". Instead of conforming to his father's demands he kills himself. This abrupt gun shot swiftly chases away any dream-like aspirations Neil or his friends once had. Neil was attempting to act in a play which takes place in the summer, yet it was winter outside and lightly snowing and by morning the snow had covered everything. So, what could be the message of such an event? Is it dangerous to mix the real and green worlds? Maybe the idea of chaos breaking loose once people venture into the wilderness is something to beware of.