For the umpteenth time today I saw that old cliche about how Shakespeare’s works were intended to be performed, not read. I don’t, quite frankly, care a whit was Shakespeare intended. He’s long dead. So, newsflash. Every performance of Shakespeare does not imply that he intended it to be performed in that particular way. Do we think that he intended Oberon to speak in Klingon? Or Lady Macbeth to drag Macbeth across the stage by his ear? Or Hamlet to jump in a child’s wading pool, complete with goggles and swim fins? Yes, I’ve seen productions that included all those things. When you see a performance of Shakespeare you are separating yourself from the original (what Shakespeare did actually mean, to the best of our ability to figure it out) by a few dozen other people’s opinions – the director, the actors, the costume designers, the set builders, the production company… At any time, any of them could make a decision that would have Shakespeare spinning in his grave. You could see ten productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, each substantially different from the rest, and have no closer clue about what Shakespeare intended for you to take away from it. That is unless, of course, you read the play. Even then you’ll have no idea what Shakespeare meant, but at least you’ll be able to make up your own mind. Then, go see it.