THE STORY OF A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Theseus, duke of Athens, has conquered Hippolyta, the Amazon queen in battle and to smooth over foreign relations has decided to marry her.  Hermia's father, Egeus, has decided to force Hermia to marry a young nobleman named Demetrius.  Hermia is in love with Lysander.  Rejecting a forced marriage, and with the threat of being locked up in a nunnery or being put to death, the two young lovers decide to run to Lysander's Aunt's house.  On the way there, they seek refuge in the wild forest near Athens

 

Hermia's friend Helena is distraught that Demetrius isn't in love with her any longer, and seeks the hand of her friend Hermia.  She hopes to impress Demetrius, with her loyalty and tells him of Hermia's flight with Lysander.

 

Fairy land is located in this same enchanted forest, and it is in an uproar because the King and Queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania are in a battle.  They have not only been unfaithful to each other, but they are arguing over the possession of an Indian boy that Titania has taken in.  

 

Oberon decides to punish Titania's refusal and commands his servant sprite, Puck, to find an enchanted flower that has magic properties concerning love.  Oberon will put the  juice of the flower into her eyes as she sleeps; thus causing her to fall passionately  in love with whatever person or creature she first sees when she awakes.

 

Feeling sorry for the young Athenians chasing each other through the forest, and watching Demetrius reject Helena so cruely,  Oberon tells Puck to put some of the love juice into Demetrius’s eyes so that he will resume his affection for Helena. Puck inadvertently mixes up the two young men running through the forest because they are dressed alike, and gives the magic juice to Lysander, causing him to declare passionate love for Helena when he awakes. Both men chase Helena through the forest.  She is furious because she believes that they are playing a joke on her.   

In the same forest, a group of local yokels (referred to as Rude Mechanicals)  have decided to become actors and present a play to be performed for Duke Theseus on his wedding day.  Puck decides to turn one of the “mechanicals,” Nick Bottom, into a Donkey, and affixes an ass’s head to his shoulders.  Of course, Titania wakes up, sees the Donkey and falls madly in love.  Passionate Donkey Hijinks ensue.

 

Oberon chides Puck for mixing up the young lovers, and with his magic, restores Titania and the four lovers to the natural state of their love.

 

The Duke finds the young lovers asleep in the forest and impressed with their steadfast love.  He overrules Hermia's father's demand for her death, and invites the two couples to join him and Hippolyta in a triple wedding. The wedding celebration features the Rude Mechanical's theater company as they present the most comically inept performance - a hilariously terrible rendition of the story of Pyramis and Thisbe.

As the clock strikes twelve, the Duke orders everyone to bed, as as they disappear, the fairies come out and bless the house.  Puck closes the show by breaking the fourth wall and asking for forgiveness and applause.