by William Shakespeare, German translation by Jürgen Gosch, in collaboration with Angela Schanelec and Wolfgang Wiens
Hermia is expected to marry Demetrius, but she is desperately in love with Lysander, who loves her back. Helena loves Demetrius, but he has recently gone off her and turned his attention to
Hermia instead. A drama of requited and unrequited love takes its course. Hermia and Lysander flee from Hermia’s father into the forest to live their forbidden love. They are mad for each other and sing their praises of true love, which always involves suffering, too. Pricked by jealousy, Demetrius follows them – and is himself followed by love-struck Helena. To cap it all: during the night that the four young people spend in the forest, an elf sprinkles a magical potion into the young men’s eyes. They awake and both immediately fall for beautiful Helena – leaving Hermia as the general object of scorn.
No feeling seems as true to us as the love for another person. Love leads to joyous states of ecstasy, but also to the deepest pits of despair. Which feeling is true? What is just delusion, maybe even sorcery? How can love, if it truly is our most honest emotion, be so inconsistent and suddenly disappear, or choose a new object of desire? In a fairy-tale setting Shakespeare lyrically and humorously examines the many facets of love – its unconditionality and its magic, but also its impermanence, delusions and ridiculousness. By the time the night is over and the day begins, the right couples love each other and order seems restored – was it just a bad midsummer night’s dream?