BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 13740

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act 1 Scene 2 - Clowning around (workshop)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act 1 Scene 2 - Clowning around (workshop)
Key Info
Ideas for use in class
  • Exploration of comic techniques and study of the language of comedy. Before watching the workshop, ask students how they think that comedy can be created on stage (e.g. through physical humour, through wordplay, through character interaction). Whilst watching, ask them to jot down any examples they notice in each category. In particular, what examples do they notice of characters getting words and meanings muddled? The workshop also illustrates Shakespeare's fondness for juxtaposing comedy and tension. The actors comment on the fact that the scene before is quite serious: Hermia has been condemned either to death or a convent unless she agrees to marry the man her father wants her to. And then Shakespeare provides us with this scene. After watching, ask students why Shakespeare might put two such contrasting scenes so close together. Ask them if they can think of any other examples in Shakespeare where this happens e.g. the porter's scene after the murder of Duncan in Macbeth, the gravedigger’s scene in Hamlet before Ophelia's funeral, or the clowning of Dogberry in Much Ado before the shaming of Hero. Find more resources at
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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