Local Habitations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare Bulletin 40.3 (Fall 2022): pp. 417-437. DOI: 10.1353/shb.2022.0037
The metatheatricality of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has invited recent directors to tell particular kinds of socially progressive stories. This article uses the notion of “social reparation” to theorize remedial uses of Shakespeare in adaptations that give artists and audiences more moral agency. By imagining more inclusive local habitations and social spaces for Dream, these socially progressive adaptations seek to remedy injustices in our times and the power asymmetries that inform Shakespeare’s play.
My research indicates that place and social space feature prominently in reparative adaptations. To examine the significance of place in performances of Dream, this article analyzes the queer film Were the World Mine (2008), a cross-cultural mime-dance production entitled Dreamer (2016), and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s pandemic-era, interactive, digital performance (2021). All three adaptations draw on the dynamics of their newly created localities to perform various social or artistic mediations.