A group of artisans discuss the play they are going to perform as part of Theseus's wedding celebration. The play is entitled, "The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe." Peter Quince takes a roll call of the actors and hands out their parts. Bottom the weaver gets the leading role of Pyramus, which pleases him because he is super-confident of his acting abilities. He is so confident, in fact, that he wishes to play the part of Thisbe too, which Quince assigns to Flute the bellows-mender. Bottom also wants to play the lion, and promises to delight everyone with his roar. But the part goes to the timid Snug the joiner. Quince tells the men to learn their parts by the following night, and to meet for a rehearsal in the wood by moonlight.
This scene introduces the second main plot, the artisans and their play. Shakespeare is carefully arranging events so that everyone ends up in the wood by the end of the Act. Then the fun can begin.