A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play by William Shakespeare set in Athens, Greece. Theseus, the duke of Athens is preparing for his own marriage, while Hermia and her father Egeus beg for Theseus to decide whom Hermia should marry. Hermia has two suitors; Demetrius (who loves her while she doesn’t love him) or Lysander (who loves her while she loves him back). Theseus tells Hermia that she must marry Demetrius, so in protest she runs away with Lysander to be married in secret. Demetrius finds out about their plan, and goes into the forest they’re hiding in. The forest they’re hiding in is also where six actors are traveling through, as well as a home to faeries, who end up messing around with the people in the forest.
The story follows Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As I haven’t read or seen the original play, I feel it’s important to note that I don’t know how closely this adaptation follows the original. However, I feel the adaptation is solid enough that the plot makes sense to someone who hasn’t been exposed to the original. The graphic novel adaptation assumes the reader hasn’t read the original play and doesn’t leave any plot holes where you’d need to recall the original play in order to fully understand the adaptation. The adaptation flowed smoothly and I didn’t feel like it was ever stuck at one plot point for too long. To me, the only hiccup was at the ending, which felt abrupt and like it was only part 1 of a 2 part series. The magical problems were not resolved in the end, although that might have been the way the actual play had ended.
The dialogue mostly keeps to the Shakespearean English, making it a more immersive experience. I was able to follow what the characters were saying, although someone who isn’t used to reading Shakespeare’s English may have a little trouble, as there’s no glossary to help with translation. But there aren’t so many words in that type of English that the book doesn’t make sense, so readers will probably be able to infer the meaning of the older words.
It’s worth noting that when I started reading without much knowledge of the original, I did assume the adaptation was more of an ‘adventure’ based story instead of a ‘comedy’, which the original is officially classified as.
The art is Western style and composed of vibrant colors and thicker lines, which fit the playful mood and magical chaos involved in the story.
The comic doesn’t have skimpy costumes, sex or swear words, but there’s lots of romantic conflicts between characters. Some of these conflicts cause characters to act with their jealousy and act selfishly at others’ expense.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: a graphic novel
by William Shakespeare, Nel Yomtov
Art by Berenice Muniz
Stone Arch Books, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: 10 and up