Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, written around 1594, is a comedy about love, order, mystery, magic and dreams.   With all of the dreams that are depicted in the play, it is no wonder that this work by Shakespeare has captured the imaginations of so many.   But why put the works of Shakespeare on celluloid?   According to Bevington and Kastan, "...filmed Shakespeare offers easy access to a performance... For all of us who love Shakespeare, his availability on film gives us an archive of performances to be viewed and enjoyed again and again" (211).   A Midsummer Night's Dream has been recorded on film since 1909, and film versions of the play have been done in France, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, England, America, and other parts of the world (217-23).   Do these film versions follow what Shakespeare may have envisioned for this play?   Or are modern elements employed and artistic freedoms used to make the play more relatable to modern audiences?   In Michael Hoffman's 1999 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, several things are added that make this filmed version different from the original play.   In this response, I will explain how the brief prologue, the change in location and timeframe, or the mise-en-scène, the addition of modern materials and elements, and the inclusion of new characters in the 1999 film version change the way A Midsummer Night's Dream may be perceived by today's audiences.
To start, in the original play, there is no prologue to give the audience any hint at what is going to occur.   In the 1999 film version, directed by Michael Hoffman, a brief prologue is included.   It states:
The village of Monte Athena in Italy at the turn of the 19th Century.  
Necklines are high.   Parents are rigid.   Marriage is seldom a matter
of love.   The good news: The bustle is in its decline, allowing for the
meteoric rise of that new fangled creation, the bicycle.

This very brief prologue establishes the mise-en-scène and tells the...