Summary.. A Mid Summer Night’s Dream Act 1 Scene 2
In the build-up to the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta, the air in Athens is festive. Citizens are agog in excitement, just the same way the lovers in the palace are. In another corner of Athens, away from Theseus’s palace, a few commoners have thought of a novel idea to contribute to the festivities by enacting a play befitting to the occasion. They have assembled at the house of Peter Quince to rehearse a play that would be staged as part of the grand celebrations.
Quince, a carpenter, has taken the initiative to make preparations for staging the play. He calls the folks to attention. The weaver Nick Bottom, a chatterbox by nature, interjects unnecessarily. He is a busybody and can’t restrain himself. He has an opinion and a suggestion to offer at every step.
Quince brief the armature actors about the play. The name of the play was to be: The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisb. The story is based on two lovers, who find their romance hindered by the animosity of their parents. The lovers manage to speak to each other at night through a hole in the wall.
In the play, a lion appears from nowhere and springs on Thisbe one night. Her attire gets shredded to pieces. But, she manages to flee. Pyramus discovers the tattered dress, and concludes that his beloved Thisbe has not survived the lion attack. Devastated and unable to bear the shock, he takes his own life. Later, Thisbe finds Pyramus’s blood-stained corpse, and decides to kill herself out of grief.
Quince starts to name the actors and their roles. their parts:
Bottom is to play Pyramus
Francis Flute, Thisbe
Robin Starveling, Thisbe’s mother
Tom Snout, Pyramus’s father
Quince himself, Thisbe’s father and
Snug, the Lion.
As Quince announces the roles the parts, Bottom starts his ill-conceived comments, claiming for himself the roles of Thisbe, and the Lion. He said he had a feminine voice that made him eminently suitable to be Thisbe. Quite laughably, he said roar like a lion and that qualifies him to play the Lion’s role. Quince pleads with him to forgo all these claims and settle for the role of Pyramus. ‘Quince was handsome, so he was cut out for being Pyramus,’ reasoned Quince.
Snug wondered if he had a voice as loud and coarse as that of a lion. He sulked to play the lion. Quince coaxed him to agree, as he didn’t have to utter a word because lion do not speak. Lions growl and roar, and do not speak. This assurance, however, had an unintended consequence. Those present there feared that a lion’s roar on stage could set off a panic among the elite ladies in the front rows. That would be disastrous as such ill-conceived plot could result in the stage artists being sent to the gallows as punishment. Fraying the nerves of the wealthy and the powerful was too risky, thought they.
Bottom has a solution for this. He says he could tone down his roar to make it sound like a melodious song. That would not frighten anyone. Quince persists with his suggestion that Baottom could only play Pyramus, not the Lion. The group of farmers end their consultation there agreeing to meet in the woods the following night. Rehearsal could start then.