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Let’s play Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

You may have seen our post Let’s Play Hamlet with Parts and Cues, etc which gives an Introduction to how you can use our “Let’s Play” feature to read Shakespeare’s plays on ‘The Cloud’. It let’s you see the script in Standard format, in Highlit Text format, and in Parts and Cues. It lets you select an individual character to play, or a player in a play-reading casting. And you can read the script on a smartphone, a tablet, or  a laptop.

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Of course, it’s most fun if you if you do this with a few friends, and then you can read scenes together, or even complete plays, if you’ve 3 hours together and around 10 people (Sunday afternoons are great for this). The Edinburgh Shakespeare Play-reading Group has used this way of reading Shakespeare’s plays for a few plays now, including: The TempestOthello, Romeo and Juliet,  and Twelfth Night. These plays – and others – are available in the “Let’s Play” section of this web-site. In addition, you’ll find scenes from Shakespeare’s plays which can be read by fewer players (mostly from 2 – 6).

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We also have extracts which allow 1 player to read some Shakespeare, and in this post, using Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we’re going to show you how to actually use our ‘MFFEV5 Cloud Reader’.

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Bottom appears in a number of scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The main scenes are:

Each of those scene headings above are a link to the actual script, and if you click on any of them, a script window will open showing you the script, with Bottom’s lines highlit in yellow, and Pyramus’s lines highlit in green. Go on, give it a try!

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Once you’ve opened one script window, you don’t have to come back to these links to change scene – you can touch one of the A?S? buttons at the top or bottom of the script window, and the window will change to that scene. Why don’t you try that, on a script window, now!

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We’ve been looking at the script in Highlit Text format, where Bottom’s lines are highlit in yellow and Pyramus’s lines are highlit in green. But we can also see the script in ‘Parts and Cues’ format, where you only see your character(s), and the cues for those lines, and stage directions. Before we actually do that, it’s worth having a look at a screen shot of the beginning of Pyramus’s lines in A5S1. See it below.

A5S1 AMND

Screen shot of A5S1 with Bottom’s and Pyramus’ parts in Parts and Cues format

There’s a number of things you should note about this screen shot:

  • Note that Pyramus’ (and Bottom’s) lines are no longer highlit.
  • Other speakers’ lines are not shown.
  • To let Pyramus / Bottom know when to speak, the cue for each speech (the last 3 words of the previous speech) is shown, right-aligned in red.
  • All the stage directions for the scene are shown, and the cues for those stage directions, this time centred, and in green.
  • Note that the first stage direction cue is from the end of the previous scene (A4S2).
  • So, if we’re playing  Bottom / Pyramus, we can see that quite a lot goes on before we enter and then speak; Theseus and the court enter; the young lovers enter; there’s a flourish of trumpets and Quince enters; all the rude mechanicals enter, and later exit, leaving Wall onstage; and only then does Pyramus listen out for his  cue “the Wall, Silence.” and then enters and starts his speech.
  •  It may seem perverse not to show the whole script, but  an actor has to learn his lines, and know what cues those lines, and his entrances and exits. It’s also helpful in a case like A5S1 when there’s a whole lot of ‘irrelevant stuff ‘ (irrelevant to Bottom) going on which doesn’t involve that actor / play-reader.
  • Which is best, Highlit Text, or Parts and Cues? Some people love one, some people love the other. Personally, I think both are useful at different times. Play with both and find out what you think.

So now we’ve looked at a screenshot of Parts and Cues, let’s see the real thing. Click on the following link, to see Bottom’s lines in Parts and Cues form in:

And now you know, if you want to read the other scenes in Parts and Cues, you just click on the A?S? buttons for the scene you want to read. And a test question for you: What happens if you look at a scene when you’re in Parts and Cues mode, and your character isn’t in that scene?  Tell me the right answer in a comment added to this post, and you will win the congratulations of all readers!

So now, if you’ve done everything that I’ve asked you to do above, you can consider yourself a qualified MFFEV5 Cloud Reader driver!!! Now it’s time to invite a few friends and start playing scenes together. (You can help them qualify as MFFEV5 drivers if they aren’t already.)

If you want to explore A Midsummer Night’s Dream a bit more, we’ve put up two scenes,each requires 6 players, and a reading of the full play which requires 10 players. The links to them follow:

So now we’ve outlined how you can play-read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And you are not limited to The Dream!  We’ve published 9 plays so far, and there’s more in the pipeline, and there’s maybe 18 or so scenes from those plays that you can play. Plus you can configure more scenes yourselves. You can see the plays and scenes we’ve made available at the following links:

Let’s Play!!!

‘The Director’,
Players-Shakespeare.com
Don’t forget – for feedback on the MFFEV5, post on Players-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page,
and to keep up-to-date with what is going on, ‘like’ Players-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page
And finally, don’t forget we review Shakespeare productions you can watch at home on DVD or streaming. See:
Great plays to watch at home.

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