Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Midsummer Night's Dream

On 27th and 28th April 1964, the Beatles filmed a TV special called "Around The Beatles". As well as playing some of their biggest hits, including "She Loves You", "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Twist and Shout", they performed part of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

The sketch they performed was the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, which appears in Act 5, Scene I of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". For those of you who are not familiar with the play, you can read the scene here at The Literature Network.

Paul McCartney as Pyramus

John Lennon as Thisbe

George Harrison as Moonshine

and Ringo Starr as Lion

Pyramus (male) and Thisbe (female) are lovers from feuding families - like Romeo and Juliet. Thisbe is frightened by a lion and runs away, dropping her mantle (a kind of cloak) on the ground. The lion tears the mantle with his teeth, so that when Pyramus finds it covered with blood, he assumes that Thisbe is dead and stabs himself. When Thisbe sees that Pyramus is dead she kills herself too.
The other important character in the play is Moonshine, a man holding a lantern to show that the story takes place by moonlight.

In a 1964 interview, John said that he was chosen to play Thisbe "because if anyone likes dressing up more stupid than the rest, I enjoy it, you know. I was asked to do it because they thought I had the deeper voice."

Paul later named one of his cats Thisbe.

*** In this new photo album you can see all the pictures I have of the Pyramus and Thisbe play. Most of them are screencaps I took from the video. I've also included a few other pictures of the Beatles in Shakespearean-style Tudor costumes. ***

1 comment:

Stumble Upon said...

Great Beatles video from back in 1964.

They were all so cute. I was only 10 years old when this gem was released. I remember reading about it in a magazine.

But really didn't see it until the 1995 when I got it on a video montage.