Hoffman meets this challenge by showing Titania being carried around by slaves. This is not common in the mortal world so we instantly think we are somewhere different. Also, the lightening creates a feeling of fear. This makes us feel like this is somewhere we don’t know much about and we shouldn’t be here. During the play, Shakespeare implies that such is the power of dreams, anything can happen. This is shown as six characters sleep throughout the whole play. This is where a lot of the confusion is caused. First of all, the confusion is caused when Puck applies love potion to the lovers’ eyes.
He first does this to Lysander. This is a mistake by Puck as he is supposed to put it on to Demetrius’ eyes. This first of all causes confusion for Helena, as she cannot understand why Lysander has suddenly fallen in love with her, as he had run away with Hermia because he loved her so much. Hermia is then confused about Lysander’s whereabouts when she wakes up. She looks for Lysander and bumps into Demetrius. She is then confused because she thinks that Demetrius has killed Lysander. Demetrius does not have a clue what she is talking about and decides to try it on with Hermia.
Oberon informs Puck of his mistake and his task is now to correct his mistake. He must first of all put the love potion on Demetrius’ eyes. Whilst Puck does this, Oberon applies the potion to Titania’s eyes and tells her to wake when some vile creature is near. This is in order to be able to get the small Indian boy. Mischievous Puck, on his way to correct his mistake decides to put an ass’s head on Bottom. Titania then wakes when Bottom is singing and falls in love with him. Bottom is then confused, as he cannot understand how someone so beautiful has fallen in love with him.
Puck adds the love potion to Demetrius’ eyes. He then wakes up when Helena is near and falls in love with her. Lysander is also at this point in love with Helena. A battle commences between Lysander and Demetrius for Helena’s love. Hermia finds Lysander, who is seeking Helena’s love. Hermia cannot understand why Helena has done this to her and begins an argument full of jealousy and envy. At this point in the Hoffman version of the film, I noticed that as the argument got worse, Helena and Hermia’s state of mind became worse. As this happened, so did their clothes.
The clothing in the Hoffman version also seems to be metaphorical of the person’s state of mind. For example, at this stage in the play, Hermia is very worked up and confused. Her clothing becomes torn and ripped before she finally ends up falling in a big pool of mud whilst fighting with Helena. Helena can’t understand why one person who hated her and someone who loved someone else, has suddenly fallen in love with her. She believes it to be mockery. She then turns around the situation and boasts to Hermia about how it is her turn to sit and watch while Helena attracts the opposite sex.
The RSC (Adrian Noble) version of the film can be seen to take the film to another level in a way by adding the extra character, which is the small boy. It adds another story. For example, nowhere in the book does it say that after Lysander and Hermia tell Helena of their plan to run away, a small boy runs after them and falls trough a door into space. This is added by the director for effect. Adrian Noble had obviously researched dreaming and what things in dreams signify. To fall in a dream means that trouble is to follow.
This means in the boy’s real life but trouble does follow in the rest of the play. The last speech of the play, by Puck suggests that we all may have dreamed what we have just seen. The Adrian Noble focuses on this as he makes the play into a dream. By making the film a boy’s dream with dreamy props used, the audience also feel like they are in a dream. I like both of the two versions in different ways. Some parts of the Noble version of the film are better than the Hoffman version and visa-versa.
I do prefer the Adrian Noble version to the Hoffman version, as it appeals to me as a younger audience. I think the Noble version is more magical, as it uses substitutions for realistic things taking the audience to a different place. I did not find it hard to willingly suspend my disbelief and this is probably because the magical element to the play whisks the audience away. It allows you to get wrapped up in a false play. This must be done or the film wouldn’t work. The play is all about surreal goings on and I believe that the Hoffman version is too formal for this theme.
Some of the scenes are too real and calm. I do prefer the calmness of the first scene in the Hoffman version, to the chaos in the opening scene of the Noble version, as it is a romantic love scene. I believe that the Noble version of the film is aimed at teenagers and young adults because of its humour. It is surreal and is easy for younger people to imagine. The Noble version is also more energetic and upbeat. Because of it being a stage version, a lot of movement is used to help the play flow. The Hoffman version, however, is much more laid back and professional.
Because of the huge budget of the film, real props and costumes are being used, which in some cases make the film boring. For example, Puck’s costume in the Hoffman version is quite boring compared to the costume in the Noble version. Also, in the Hoffman version, Puck is not active enough and appears slightly lazy in some instances. I find the Noble version more humorous than the Hoffman version in a lot of places. Because of it appealing to a younger audience, the Noble version has to be funny or the audience will lose interest in the film and the willingness to suspend disbelief will be lost.
The funniest part of the Noble version has to be where Titania and Bottom share a moment Titania’s umbrella, with Bottom making ass sounds. Bottom is the most humorous character in the Noble version and I prefer the Bottom in the Noble version rather than the Hoffman version. The Hoffman version is also humorous in some instances. For example, when Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and Hermia are found naked in the woods by Egeus. The Noble version is definitely more of a fantasy. It emphasises the fact that the play called ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and concentrates on the dreaming theme.
All real objects are substituted. For example, stars are substituted with light bulbs. The Noble version implants real life objects into dreamy objects. This creates a fantasy rather than something literal. The only fantasy in the Hoffman version is the fairy world, which is well created by the producer. I think that the Hoffman version is more romantic and sensual than the Noble version because of its calmness. The Noble version is too active and humorous to be as romantic as the Noble version.
For example, the first scene of the Hoffman version is calm and sadistic. There is a fountain flowing in the courtyard whilst Theseus and Hippolyta express their feelings to each other. The Noble version, however, has thins in a room full of bright colours and everything larger than life, which I do not like. For me, the Noble version overpowers the Hoffman version. It beats the Hoffman version in almost every area and as a younger audience I prefer the Adrian Noble film version rather than the Michael Hoffman film version of the play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.