Shakespeare's play presents four sets of characters, who are used to illustrate different aspects of love and human behaviour. The court presents a world bound by order and reason, where marriage is about political alliance rather than love.

Through the mechanicals, Shakespeare offers a strong contrast to the court. These characters are rough and coarse, governed by emotion, superstition and the need to earn their living.

The lovers are used by Shakespeare to explore different facets of love, from infatuation to heartache. Through their adventure in the woods, they learn more about themselves, and the objects of their affection.

Unbound by society and hierachy, the fairy world allows Shakespeare to explore the passionate side to love, both positive and negative.

For an actor, the many different characters in the play offer challenges in performance. Director Gale Edwards and ensemble talk about their approach to playing Shakespeare's characters.

Pyramus and Thisbe

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