Mask Version

1. Court and white masks

Theseus and Hippolyta enter (with Philostrate at the rear). Unlike either of the other productions, the play begins without a framing device. Notice that the stage here projects well into the audience, who are seated on all four sides, apart from the three entry ramps to the rear. The stage is entirely empty of the scenery and furniture which does so much to establish the contexts of the "school" and the "bar" in the other versions.

Context here is supplied by the actor's body, costume and mask. The latter are commedia-style half masks, white for the white-collar, Westernized Japanese, and black for the faeries. The mechanicals wear no masks - except for Snug when playing Lion.

These costumes appear stylishly contemporary. The fact that Hippolyta's black bodice is set off against white pants and masks may suggest a 'masked' desire to cross-over from 'white' society to 'black'.

The open playing space, with audiences aware of each other across the space 'behind' the actors, emphasizes the theatricality, the constructedness of this world. The stage recalls an Elizabethan thrust stage and suggests Peter Brook's idea of the "empty space".

See also:

> School 1. Opening Frame

> Bar 1. Opening Frame

A Midsummer Night's Dream