|Dorian Simpson and Hannah Hutch as Robin and Sophie|
At the end of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the characters of Helena and Demetrius are very much in love, despite the trials and tribulations getting to that point. One of the principal agents in the couple's game of 'he-loves-me/ he-loves-me-not' is Puck's magical love potion, which forces one to love another pretty much against their will or comprehension. It is a spell; the only natural thing about it is the love-in-idleness bloom from which it comes.
So Shakespeare left the audience with a dilemma: if the only reason Demetrius loved Helena was because of a love spell cast upon him, would that love last? Was it true love? Was it even fair for them to be together if one was blinded from the truth?
This is where Toby Hulse picks up the quill in To Dream Again, a co-production between Theatr Clwyd and Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, to where the play will transfer in March 2017. The play is aimed at children aged seven and up, and imagines the consequences of Demetrius and Helena's enforced romance. Set in the modern day, it plays out through the eyes of nine-year-old Sophie, who has a growing awareness of her parents' disintegrating marriage. Her parents are modern equivalents of Shakespeare's lovers, and it seems that the love they had when they first met has well and truly withered on the vine.