A Midsummer Night's Dream: relationships between performers and audience

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: relationships between performers and audience

Performer-Audience Relationship in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

General Importance of the Relationship

  • In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the relationship between the performers and the audience is essential. As the performers embrace the magical, sometimes chaotic world of the play, they must also engage the audience in the immersive experience.

Direct Address and Fourth Wall Breaking

  • One key aspect is the use of direct address. Characters such as Puck speak directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall and drawing them into the narrative.

  • This heightened interaction is particularly prevalent in the ‘play within a play’ structure. The “Mechanicals” (lower-class tradesmen) perform their version of “Pyramus and Thisbe,” encouraging the audience to laugh and engage with the comedic errors and overacting.


  • The detailed characterization also contributes to this relationship. Strong characters such as the self-absorbed Bottom, mischievous Puck, and overly dramatic Helena, appeal to a variety of audiences, leading to different emotional responses.

Dream-Like Quality and Suspension of Disbelief

  • The dream-like quality of the play blurs the boundary between reality and illusion, encouraging the audience to suspend disbelief and become more emotionally invested in the performances.

Dramatic Irony

  • Dramatic irony is used heavily throughout the play, especially as characters are misled by magic or misunderstand the intentions of others. This foreknowledge given to the audience heightens involvement and engagement.

Use of Language and Verse

  • Use of language and verse plays a significant role in communicating with the audience. The lofty, poetic language used by “nobles” contrasts with the simpler, easily understood speech of the “mechanicals”, signalling to the audience the character roles and status.

Non-Verbal Communication

  • Facial expressions, gestures, and body language of the performers serve to communicate non-verbal information to the audience. These help in portraying the emotions and motivations of the characters, further enhancing audience involvement.

Comedic Timing

  • Timing and comedic elements in the play invite audience laughter and encourage participation, particularly during scenes performed by the ‘mechanical’ characters.

Final Address to the Audience

  • Lastly, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ends with Puck’s closing monologue directed straight to the audience. This final act of direct engagement effectively caps off the performer-audience relationship cultivated throughout the play.