A Midsummer Night's Dream SYNOPSIS
In the piazza before a grand renaissance house in the Tuscan countryside, preparations are underway for Duke Theseus' wedding. Unremarked, two small figures mingle with the townspeople, collecting odd treasures to be carted off to an unknown destination . . . As if his bride Hippolyta weren't skittish enough at the approach of their wedding, the Duke is obliged to listen to the complaints of opposing sides in a dispute over an arranged marriage: Crusty old Egeus has promised his daughter Hermia to Demetrius, but Hermia loves Lysander and wants to marry him. Ordered by the Duke to obey her father, Hermia plans to elope with her true love, using a new-fangled invention: the bicycle. But Hermia's best friend Helena, who is in love with Demetrius, warns him of their plot. That night, when the lovers flee into the forest, Demetrius takes after them on his own bike, with a determined Helena pedaling in hot pursuit.
Bound for the same woods are a band of amateur thespians: five workmen from the village in search of a secluded spot to rehearse "The Most Lamentable Comedy, and Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe." Even though their star, Bottom the Weaver, is the ham of hams and a comical figure in the village, they hope to perform the play before the Duke on the day of his wedding and be handsomely rewarded for their efforts.
Unknown to lovers and thespians alike, their journey into the dark forest has brought them near the secret home of the fairies, where the fairy trickster Puck administers a powerful love potion that causes the lovers to mix and match with outrageous results. As for the workmen, their rehearsal is about to be interrupted when Bottom, succumbing to Puck's spells, becomes a pawn in the love games of Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the fairies.
A splendid cast brings this enchanting new version of Shakespeare's most magical play to life, headed by Michelle Pfeiffer ("Up Close & Personal," "One Fine Day") as the fairy Queen and Kevin Kline ("The Ice Storm," "In & Out") as Bottom, her unlikely lover. Rupert Everett ("My Best Friend's Wedding," "The Madness of King George") is the jealous Oberon, Stanley Tucci ("Big Night," "The Impostors") is his lieutenant Puck, David Strathairn ("L.A. Confidential," "Simon Birch") is Duke Theseus and French star Sophie Marceau ("Braveheart," "Firelight") is Theseus' hesitant bride, Hippolyta.
Calista Flockhart plays Helena, obstinately pursuing the object of her affections, Demetrius, played by Christian Bale ("Velvet Goldmine," "Little Women"). Entangled with them in Puck's web are Dominic West ("Surviving Picasso") and Anna Friel, whose film career recently took off after three years as the girl England loved to hate on the popular BBC soap "Brookside." The movie is directed by Michael Hoffman.