by William Shakespeare
Direction Muriel Mayette-Holtz
In Athens, Theseus is preparing to celebrate his wedding to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. In the forest nearby, Oberon, king of the fairies, is arguing with his wife Titania about their many past and present conquests. To this we add two pairs of thwarted lovers––Hermia, who is in love with Lysander, but promised to Demetrius, who is loved by Helena––and a group of craftsmen rehearsing a tragedy for the king’s wedding, under the direction of the larger than life Bottom. All of these characters end up crossing paths in the forest where Oberon’s spells and the antics of the sprite Puck will sow confusion during a night where nobody will know for certain if what they are experiencing is real, game or fantasy. A dream perhaps?
It was between 1594 and 1595 as Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Due to the huge demand for new, entertaining plays in Elizabethan times, it is very likely that the play was performed as soon as it was written. By this point, Shakespeare was a prominent actor and a writer, admired and envied, a true theatrical entrepreneur, whose work included historical plays as well as tragedies and comedies, and whose company was supported by the Lord Chamberlain, the Minister in charge of royal entertainments. In 1603, he took up residence in the Globe Theatre, which became the most prestigious theatre in London, before retiring in 1611 to Stratford-upon-Avon, where he died five years later.
Since 2006, Muriel Mayette-Holtz has been the general administrator of the Comédie-Française, which she joined as an actress in 1985 after graduating from the Conservatory, becoming its 477th sociétaire in 1988. She has performed many roles at the Comédie-Française, working with various directors, including Antoine Vitez, Claude Régy, Jacques Lassalle, Matthias Langhoff and Alain Françon. Alongside acting, she has pursued a career as a director (Fernand Crommelynk, Thomas Bernhard, Bernard-Marie Koltès, Pierre Corneille, Georges Feydeau, Dario Fo and Jean Racine), notably staging an adaptation in episodes of The Winter’s Tale at the Studio-Théâtre in 2004. This time she has chosen to stage the secret fantasies inspired by love. This dream will be performed in the hollows of the bed of dreams, a bed where all games are permitted before the break of day.