NEPA Scene Staff

Shakespeare film series debuts with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Honesdale on Feb. 25

Shakespeare film series debuts with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Honesdale on Feb. 25
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From a press release:

On Thursday, Feb. 25, The Cooperage Project will present a new film series, “Such Sweet Thunder: Shakespeare on Film,” curated by Robert Dugan, Ph.D., at The Cooperage in Honesdale. This month’s film, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will begin at 7 p.m.

Donations will be collected at the door, and there will be popcorn. To reserve a seat, call 570-253-2020.

William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the most influential playwright of the English-speaking world and among the greatest literary artists who has ever lived. Shakespeare, himself an actor, intended that his plays be seen and heard, not read. During the first three centuries of their existence, presentations necessarily took the form of staged productions performed before live audiences.

This all changed in 1899 with the film adaptation of “King John,” directed by William K.L. Dickson and Walter Pfeffer Dando and featuring the great English actor Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Dozens of adaptations – many considered masterpieces in their own right – have followed, ranging from “The Taming of the Shrew” (1929) with Mary Pickford and Paul Czinner’s “As You Like It” (1936) to Kenneth Branagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993) and Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus” (2012), to name but a few.

Shakespeare is more popular now than ever, and one major reason for this is the availability of his plays on film. Since it’s not always possible to get to the theater, the plays on film are the next best thing.

Dr. Robert Dugan will introduce each play with a brief background and orientation.

“Shakespeare is fun,” says Dugan, “and profound because the plays are so resilient and adaptable. There are no definitive or final versions, so they remain alive and relevant.”

For centuries there have been countless different interpretations of the plays. They are constantly revealing themselves in light of new perspectives and varied settings, from the Victorian Era to the 20th century.

“You can do anything to Shakespeare,” Dugan noted, “except change the words. Once you alter the language, it is no longer Shakespeare.”

After each showing, there will be a discussion for those who wish to further the experience. The first presentation, one of Shakespeare’s funniest and most popular comedies, is director Michael Hoffman’s version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” starring Calista Flockhart, Stanley Tucci, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Kline, and Christian Bale.

The Cooperage (1030 Main St., Honesdale) is operated by The Cooperage Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to build community through performance events, learning opportunities, markets, and good times.

For more information, visit or call 570-253-2020.