The University of Birmingham   Touchstone
The British Library   Co-operation and Partnership among UK Shakespeare Collections.
Touchstone : Welcome
Enquiry Service
Touchstone Database
Enquiry Service
News and Events
Shakespeare in Performance
Studying Shakespeare
Shakespeare Associations
Online Exhibition
Links

 

Online Exhibition

 

Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream 1970

Pyramus and Thisbe

For their play at court the mechanicals were dressed in their ‘Sunday best’. Brook insisted that the remarks by the court ‘are not primarily for the purpose of sending up the actors, but to display their life at court as free and open.’ Nevertheless, their quips do rip apart the mechanicals’ earnest efforts. Brook said ‘suddenly, a real miracle comes into the scene. Pyramus has the opportunity to make something authentic of their drama, and bring the court to silence.’ The theme of love expanded into new dimensions: love of theatre, and the love of play.

Brook wrote:

These craftsmen make efforts which are grotesque in one sense because they push awkwardness to its limit, but at another level they set themselves to their task with such love that the meaning of their clumsy efforts changes before our eyes. (Shifting Point).

 

The mechanicals perform their play to the court. 
Lion and moonshine. 
(1977) Pyramus listens for Thisbe through the wall separating them. The comedy of this scene arose from the intesity of the players, their determination to get things right and to act with integrity.
(1977) The play scene. The courtiers watch Thisbe mourn over the body of Pyramus. Barton borrowed from Chekhov for Pyramus's death scene, Michael Billington reported for the Guardian, 'a thin, silvery woodland chord sounded in sympathetic magic', which defined the play's import - 'the interpenetration of the mortal and immortal world and the discovery of universal concord.'
(1994) Flute whispers to Pyramus through the wall. Photographer: Malcolm Davies. Despite the manifest absurdity of their attempt at serious theatre, Flute and Bottom endowed the suicidal lovers with pathos and dignity in their deaths.

To continue, select a topic:

Stage Devises The Mechanicals
The Fairies  Bottom's Transformation
The Lovers Pyramus and Thisbe
The Forest The Blessing of the House

Back to Midsummer Night's Dream exhibition home page

 


Maintained by:
touchstone@bham.ac.uk
Last updated: November 02, 2010
Designed by: DoubleK Design