some notes from the playwright
I, Peaseblossom was the second play I wrote in the FairyMonsterGhost series. Again, it was asked for by the Brighton Festival and was first performed in May 2004. With I, Caliban I had realised what fun it was to look at a story from the point of view of a minor character. And you don’t get much more minor than Peaseblossom!
Peaseblossom has only one word in the whole of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! But he sees so much of what goes on!! Because he is a magic character, he can know about things without even being there.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is all about what grown-ups get up to...! It’s about love and marriage. But it’s not a very comfortable picture of love and marriage. The King and Queen of the Fairies are arguing. The King plays a horrid trick on his wife. The mortal lovers all squabble and bicker. One character is threatened by her father with death if she doesn’t marry the man he wants her to marry. Things get even worse when the fairies get involved. Lots of confusion and nobody trusting each other.
As a child, I remember being fascinated by what grown-ups get up to. Listening to their conversations; not understanding their love affairs, their arguments, their tears. This is the relationship that I wanted to give to Peaseblossom: an innocent child in the middle of all this mayhem, trying to work out what it all means. This, I thought, would be good for a young audience, too. To share in Peaseblossom’s confusion. They would then understand a bit more about what A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about.
Everyone keeps on falling asleep in A Midsummer Night’s Dream! As the name of Shakespeare’s play suggests, this is a dream. Things happen when people sleep – magic is done to them, they fall in and out of love. I’ve seen productions of Shakespeare’s play where the lovers go through the play in their pyjamas and dressing gowns. So I thought about what kind of dreams Peaseblossom would have when he sleeps.
There are some common dreams that we all have at some point in our lives. Many people dream that they’re teeth are falling out! Some people often dream that they’re naked! Some that they’re unable to move! Some that they’re being attacked! Peaseblossom has all these dreams on one night!! And through these dreams, we learn about the events of the past few days; we learn about Shakespeare’s story.