not a book review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare



A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare
originally published in 1595


This is more of a diary entry than a book review which I have never done before, but… times are weird!

One of my friends had a BRILLIANT idea to organize a Shakespeare read-through over Zoom this weekend. (The irony is lost on none of us that we’re essentially reenacting Station Eleven.) A group of us divvied up parts and read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which, incidentally, is the play in which I made my acting debut as Mustardseed the fairy when I was 11. I was angling for Puck so that casting decision came as quite the blow. It felt redemptive to read as Hippolyta last night, a slightly meatier role.

Anyway, all silliness aside, times are tough right now and I know a lot of us are having difficulties concentrating on our usual sorts of escapism, which for most of us includes reading. This virtual Shakespeare production amongst a group of friends was such a fun distraction that we’re going to make it a weekly thing, proceeding with The Tempest next weekend. If you have a friend group who’d be down for this kind of thing (it doesn’t have to be Shakespeare – you could do any play or movie script), I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s the only 2 hours this week that I’ve felt truly switched off from the constant news stream and existential dread that’s been eating away at me. That’s why I thought I’d share – there’s so much discourse floating around about how you need to Make The Most of this quarantine to clean your house and learn a new language and write the next great American novel, but I think what we really need are lower-stakes, delightfully distracting and unproductive projects like reading Shakespeare with your friends around the globe with a glass of wine.

Hope you all are staying safe and healthy!  Tell me something fun and silly you’ve done to help you through the pandemic?


16 thoughts on “not a book review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

  1. I’m so with you on the constant barrage of messages trying to inspire us to achieve amazing things over the coming weeks/months. Like, I’m busy surviving over here, GET OFF MY BACK, SUSAN.

    Anyway, this is so cute, and I’m glad it offered some joy and distraction!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s such a disgusting product of capitalism that the idea of ‘making the most of the quarantine’ translates to the kind of productivity that can be turned into profit?! Like yes FUCK OFF SUSAN I am going to find the most inane activities to distract me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE this idea! And I am with you on the I Don’t Need To Learn a New Language Or Deep Clean My House Right Now, Thanks! train! I’m watching Disney princess movies with my girls and thinking about practising the piano and that’s fine right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?! I get that the logic there is ‘you’ve just been handed all this free time’ but AT WHAT COST?! Pretty sure I’m much more capable of creative output working an 8.5 hour day and commuting to work than when stuck in isolation hell consumed with existential dread 24/7. Anyway, yes, right there with you. Disney princess movies and piano sound lovely! Mulan is my favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Completely! I know it comes from a “silver lining” place but constant anxiety isn’t exactly a wellspring of creativity! Like many people, I find it hard to even read for fun right now. Sure, Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague but I probably wasn’t going to write a classic play at any point in my life!


    • My heart so goes out to all the parents right now combining WFH and homeschooling! What a nightmare. Glad to hear you are taking it a day at a time. Hope you get some fun and silly activities in to make things more bearable 👍


  3. My survival strategy so far is my daily #selfieisolation pictures, as I work through my mostly unused makeup collection! Love this Shakespeare idea, too. Really gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

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