The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday and Midsummer Night's Dream at Olney


A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V Scene 1
By William Shakespeare

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy.

--------

We are just back from an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Olney Theatre Center, absolutely delightful in that their summer Shakespeare Under the Stars production by their National Players remains free and all seats are now reserved and socially distanced, even the squares on the lawn, so we had plenty of room to picnic and listen to music before the show began. The production was very nicely directed with a minimum of props, fun costumes, and great pacing, but the play was so abridged that the famous lines quoted above had been excised, as had the lines referencing Elizabeth I, which was weird.

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Before the play, we went to nearby Woodlawn Manor Park, which I haven't visited in years. There's now an Underground Railroad Experience Trail, so named because it has placards explaining what an escape through the woods was like -- there's no evidence that that estate was ever part of the Underground Railroad and there is evidence that the owners kept slaves -- it's a lovely trail that's mostly deep in shade, starting near the historic barn, so we got to see the horses. And we watched Breach, the really terrible Bruce Willis sci-fi/horror movie that makes The Tomorrow War seem intellectual and emotional!
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