W is for William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Shakespeare. When I was at school I was definitely the pupil who struggled to see the point in studying 400 year old plays that were incredibly tedious to read. That being said I think that is more to do with the way Shakespeare was studied to death in our school as opposed to the value of his work in general. I really enjoy watching his plays and really enjoyed being in various Shakespeare productions at school. Last year I was part of the 'Shakespeare 400' initiative at my university where I got to review Shakespeare related musical performances (link to my review of the LPO.)

If asked what my favourite play is it would either be The Merchant of Venice (if you're looking for an intellectual pretentious answer), or (if I am being really simple and honest) A Midsummer Night's Dream, purely because it's funny. This play is 400 years old and it is still hilarious - in four centuries time nobody is still going to be laughing at re-runs of The Office! Yet this play, and for me specifically the version of Pyramus and Thisby performed by the mechanicals is hilarious. I've seen quite a few productions of this and it never stops being funny. Whether something has made you laugh is really the only measure of good comedy and the fact that this still does is a testament to the greatness and endurance of Shakespeare's work.