A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Simon introduced Shane and me to Lois Macauley, an interior designer
whom he’s been friends with for four years. She invited us to a
Shakespeare reading on the beaches of Ashbridge’s Bay. The play: A
Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Whereupon I started, “If we shadows have offended, think but this and
all is mended”—Puck’s famous closing speech. Lois and I continued in
unison: “That you have but slumbered here while these visions did
appear.” We finished the entire speech laughing.

Then she began, “How now, spirit? Whither wander you?” “Over hill,
over dale, thorough bush, thorough brier. Over park, over pale,
thorough flood, thorough fire.” We continued until the end of that
segment, and almost started on another before remembering that we had
company!

The next day, Simon turned to me and told me that was a really neat
party trick. I laughed. He couldn’t have guessed what the play meant
to me.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play so close to my heart, bound up as
it were in memories of the wonderful grade school I attended, in the
warm smiles of the principal who believed that theatre was a powerful
medium for education and that every child should have a role both off
and on the stage, in the firm and gentle instruction of a stage
director who not only taught us how to stand and walk and show emotion
but also how to seize life and live it.

How can one ever forget AMND? Among Scholasticans, it is our secret
code for recognizing each other, our shibboleth. We carry it with us,
each one remembering not only their scenes but also those of Oberon
and Titania’s dispute, Hermia and Helena’s impassioned fight, even
Pyramus and Thisbe’s comical love and the antics of the other
villagers.

I do not carry all of Shakespeare in my head. I could care less about
some of his minor plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is special to me
and to hundreds and hundreds of women who were once little girls
discovering theatre. It is through AMND that we discovered Shakespeare
and ourselves.

Random Japanese sentence: 猫はつめを引っ込めた。 The cat retracted its claws.