László Seregi / Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy


classic ballet 14

In Brief

Ballet in three acts

Performance length: , with 2 intermissions.

LászlóSeregi adapted AMidsummer Night's Dream for the ballet stage, based on one of Shakespeare'sbest-known comedies, to the music of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Theshortest night of the year itself is pure passion, chaos, and magic. Anything can happen on this night – especially in a comic ballet. The lovers cheat on their future partners, a weaver turns into a donkey, the fairy queen falls in love with this donkey, there is no shortage of amateur theatre performances, and all’s well that ends well: three couples vow eternal loyalty to each other. And while watching a passionate love ballet, the Wedding March should come as no surprise! All of the ballets later referred to as the Shakespeare Trilogy (Romeoand Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew)are a testimony to Seregi's unique portrayal of characters and his talent for dance dramaturgy.



Scene 1.  A company arrives at the theatre. They unpack the costumes and requisites and rehearse their parts. They try on costumes and prepare the settings. We get to know the characters and the mysterious wood of Ardennes is ready for anything to happen. Scene 2. Starts with the dance of Puck and the fairies. Their queen and king Titania and Oberon appear quarrelling. Oberon asks Puck for a magic flower, which Puck presents. Hermia and Lysander, a couple escaped to the forest are about to go to sleep. The fairies accompany Titania to the spot. She is going to bed as well. Oberon sprinkles the magic drop onto Titania’s eyes. Craftsmen arrive in the wood in order to rehearse the play they are going to perform at the wedding feast of Theseus. Bottom disappears during the rehearsal only to return changed into a donkey. The frightened craftsmen run in all directions when they see him. Already under the influence of magic, Titania starts discovering the beauty of Bottom changed into a donkey.


Lysander and Hermia are fast asleep in the wood. Puck drops some magic fluid into Lysander’s eyes. Helena follows Demetrius in order to find her rival. Demetrius drives her away since he does not love her and then goes on searching to wood. Helena catches sight of the sleeping Lysander who wakes up and falls in passionate love with her and dashes off in her pursuit. Hermia wakes up as well: she is distressed to see that her lover Lysander has disappeared from his resting place by her side. She sets out to find him.

Demetrius drags himself back tired to death. Puck, who has mixed up the two couples, wants to compensate for his error and drops some magic fluid into Demetrius’ eyes just to create even greater confusion. While Lysander is making love to Helena, the latter stumbles into Demetrius, who is asleep under the influence of the magic drop. He wakes up to catch sight of Helena and to fall in ardent love with her. Thus Helena is besieged by two lovers. Hermia arrives meandering and witnesses the unm istakable situation. At the end of a quarrel the four of them disperse. Oberon arrives to scold Puck for misconducting the case. Puck begs him for pardon and conjures up a storm in the wood. The lovers retire for the night at Puck’s order after rambling about in the pouring rain amidst strokes of lightning.

Theseus and Hippolyta arrive for the morning hunt with their retinue. They discover the sleeping couples in the company of Hermia’s father Egeus. A scandalous wakening follows, in the course of which Egeus demands recompense for the rape of his daughter. Theseus pardons them and announces a triple wedding. He is going to marry Hippolyta and the lovers should find their partners, too. The two scared couples stay alone in the wood. Their dance is about reconciliation, forgiveness and about the incomprehensible night. They leave happily. Oberon arrives to break the spell on Titania’s eyes. She confesses that she loves Oberon and belongs to him. After they leave, Bottom awakes to hear birds twittering but he is unable to understand his dream. Hearing the guitar and the sad song of his friends the artisans Bottom finds them. They inform him happily that the court has accepted their play and they can prepare for the performance.


Theseus and his court are gathering for the wedding at the tune of the famous bridal march. They watch the performance of the artisans (Bottom and his companions) titled Pyramus and Thisby, a most lamentable comedy. The successful performance is followed by the real wedding dinner. The fairies appear in the feasting court. Led by Oberon and Titania they bless the house and wish the three couples happiness. His job finished, Oberon-Prospero breaks his magic stick in two and the performance ends. The actors take off their masks and costumes and leave the scene. Only Puck remains to wish the audience good night. He finds the broken stick and, crying, tries to put it together again. He manages to set the stick and the scene becomes spell-bound again. Art is eternal, the performance can never end, the spell can never break.


"Seregi undoubtedly has his own individual Shakespeare. (...) He is not so much excited by the 'Shakespeare of our time', but rather by the era in which the plays were created. He looks for the miracle of the Elizabethan theatre, the almost unrepeatable moment of meeting between the audience and the theatre , when the it spoke equally to all social classes."

Anna Pór, Táncművészet