[Duke's palace in Athens. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Philostrate and Attendants]
Hippolyta: Tis strange my Theseus, what these lovers speak of.
Theseus: Strange indeed, too much to be true. I never can believe all those fairytale stories. There too far-fetched.
Hippolyta: There seems to be some truth.
Theseus: Lovers and madmen, my dear, have such imaginative minds. They, as well as poets, can dream up things that level headed people can never comprehend.
Hippolyta: But the consistency of their story of the night's events suggests there's more to it than mere make-believe.
[Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius & Helena enter]
Theseus: Here come the lovers, full of and mirth. Joy, gentle friends, may joy and love be in your hearts for evermore!
Lysander: May even more of it grace your royal walks, your table and your bed!
Theseus: Come now, what masques, what dances shall we have, to wear away the tedious hours between the end of supper, and bedtime?
Hippolyta: That, I do not know. Where's the manager of mirth?
[Philostrate steps forward.]
Philostrate: Here, mighty Theseus and Hippolyta.
Theseus: What revels are at hand?
Philostrate: Here is a list of all the shows that are ready. Choose which Your Highness will see first.
[Philostrate hands Theseus a program, which he reads.]
Theseus: No, no! We shall none of these! I have either seen them before, or they're inappropriate for a wedding ceremony.
Philostrate: (Hesitant)Well, there's one more. On the back.
[Theseus looks at the back of the program.]
Thesus: (Reading)A long short play about young Pyramus and his lover Thisbe: a very tragical mirth. (Stops reading)Merry andtragical? Long and short? That's like hot ice and warm snow. (To Philostrate)What is this nonsense?
Philostrate: It's a play, my lord, some ten lines long, which is as brief as I've known a play to be. But it's too long by ten lines, so it's tedious.
Philostrate: Because there's not one good actor in the entire play! When I saw it being rehearsed, I must confess, it made my eyes water, and I never laughed.
Theseus: Who's playing it?
Philostrate: Laborers who work here in Athens(High School students, who attend school here), who've never, in this sport have labored in their minds till now. And have forced their rusty brains to do this play to celebrate your wedding.
Theseus: We'll hear it, then.
Philostrate: No, my noble lord, kit's not for you. I've herd it all, and it's nothing, you unless you find some amusement in their intents.
Theseus: I will hear that play. For, nothing ever offends that's offered by those who are dutiful. Go, bring them in! (To everyone else)Take your places!
[Philostrate bows and leaves. Puck enters, invisible.]
Hippolyta: I don't like to see simple wretches overstretching themselves, preforming things that give them pain.
Theseus: Why gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
Hippolyta: He said they have no talent.
Theseus: All the kinder of us, to give them thanks for nothing. Our sport shall be taking them seriously when they error. Why, when…
Hippolyta: (Cutting him off)Oh, quite your monologue, I get the point!
[Before Theseus can say something, Philostrate enters.]
Philostrate: So please, Your Grace, the Prologue is ready.
Theseus: Bring them in.
[Trumpets sound. Quince enters, as Prologue. He reads from a scroll, but ignores the punctuation.]
Quince: If we offend, it's our intent. That you should thin, we come not to offend, but only to show our skill. That is the true beginning of our end. Our true intent is. All for your delight, the actors are at hand; and by what they show, you shall all know, that you are to know.
Theseus: This fellow doesn't worry about punctuation!
Lysander: He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt. He doesn't know when to stop! A good moral, milord, it is not enough to speak, but to speak correctly!
Hippolyta: Indeed, he's played his prologue like an average child a recorder. He's made a sound, but it's all confused.
Theseus: His speech was like a tangled chain, nothing broken, but all disordered. Who's next?
[A trumpet sounds. Bottom enters, playing Pryamus; as Thisbe; as Tomb; Snout as Wall; Starveling as Moonshine(the character, not the drink); and Snug as Lion. They listen to Quince speak the prologue, and step forward one by one as he introduces them.]
Quince: Gentles, perhaps you wonder about this show; But wonder on, till truth makes all things plain. (indicates Bottom)This man is Pyramus, if you would know; (indicates )This lovely lady, Thisbe is her name. This man with lime and rough-cast doth present Wall, that vile wall, which did keep these lovers apart; And through the wall's chink, poor souls are content to whisper.
[Puck throws something at Quince, making him fall.]
Hermia: I hope you're alright.
Quince: (Getting up)Fear not, I am quite alright. Now, where was I? (remembers)Ah, yes, (Continuing)This woman,(indicating Starveling)with lantern, dog, bush of thorn and extremely elaborate dress, presents Moonshine; for you will know, by the light of the moon, not by alcohol, did these lovers meet by (indicates M. Flute)Ninus' tomb here, er, there, to woo. This grisly beast, who's Lion by name the faithful Thisbe, gave a fright. As she fled, her mantle she let fall, which Lion with bloody mouth did stain. Anon comes Pyramus, sweet & tall youth, found Thisbe's mantle slain, and with his boiling bloody breast, stabbed himself. His…
Puck: (Invisible, yet audible)Get on with the show!
Quince: (Looking around)O-ok. For all the rest, let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and Lovers twain, at large discourse, while here they remain.
[All the players leave except Snout, the Wall.]
Theseus: I wonder if the lion will speak?
Demetrius: No wonder, my lord. A lion, when so many asses do.
Snout: In this same play it does befall that I, one Snout by name, present a wall. And such a wall, as I would have you think, that had in it a crannied hole or chink, (uses fingers to form a chink)through which the lovers, Pyramus & Thisbe, did whisper often, very secretly. This clay, this plaster, and this stone are proof that I am that same wall.
Theseus: Could lime & hair speak better?
Demetrius: It's the wittiest wall I've ever heard, my lord.
Helena: (To Demetrius)And how many have you heard?
Demetrius: (To Helena)None, that's why he's the beast.
[Enter Bottom, as Pyramus.]
Theseus: Pyramus nears the wall. Silence!
Bottom: (As Pyramus. Giving it all he has.)Oh, grim-looked night! Oh, night with hue so black! Oh, night which ever is when day is not! Oh, night, oh, night, alack, alack, alack, I fear my Thisbe's promise is forgot! And you, oh wall, oh sweet, oh lovely wall, show me your chink, to blink through with my eye. (Snout shapes a chink with his fingers)Thanks, courteous wall. (Looks through)But what see I? No Thisbe do I see? Oh, wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss, cursed be your stones for deceiving me!
Theseus: The wall, being sensible, should curse back.
Bottom: (Stepping out of part to explain)No, in truth sir, he shouldn't. 'Deceiving me', is Thisbe's cue. She will enter, and I am to spy her through the wall. (enters, dressed as Thisbe)Yonder here she comes.
F. Flute: (As Thisbe)Oh wall, you've often heard my moans, for parting my fair & impatient, Pyramus & me. My cherry lips have often kissed your stones; with lime & hair knit up in you.
Bottom: (As Pyramus)I see a voice. I'll go to the chink, to see if I can hear my Thisbe's face. Thisne!
Quince: (Loud whisper)Thisbe!
F. Flute: (As Thisbe)My love! You are my love, I think?
Bottom: (As Pyramus)Think what you like, I am your lover. And like Limander, I'm still faithful.
F. Flute: (As Thisbe)And I, like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
Bottom: (As Pyramus)Oh kiss me through this hole, of this vile wall!
[They put their lips to Wall's fingers.]
F. Flute: (As Thisbe)I kiss the hole, but not your lips at all.
Bottom: (As Pyramus)Will you meet me at Ninny's tomb, straightaway?
Quince: (Loud whisper)Ninus, you twit!
Hermia: (Whispering to Lysander)Who says 'twit' anymore?
F. Flute: (As Thisbe)Come life, come death, I go without delay.
[Bottom & F. Flute leave]
Snout: (As Wall)Thus have I, Wall, performed my part. So now, I must depart.
Theseus: Now the moon will now have to come between the lovers.
Demetrius: There's no alternative, my lord, especially when walls have ears.
Hippolyta: This is the silliest stuff I've ever heard!
Theseus: That's your opinion. But now, here come three noble beasts, a woman, a lion & a moving rock.
[Snug enters as Lion, Starveling enters as Moonshine & M. Flute enters as Tomb]
M. Flute: I'm a Tomb, milord.
Snug: (As Lion)Gentlefolk, especially you ladies, who tend to have gentle hearts, (Puck brings out a mouse) that do fear the smallest mouse that creeps on the floor, may now, perhaps, both quake & tremble here when I, Lion, in wildest rage do roar.(Puck goes near Theseus, with mouse, & still invisible) So know that I, am not a Lion, but Snug the joiner.
Theseus: A very noble beast, with a very good conscience.
Lysander: This lion has all the courage of a fox!
Theseus: True, and as much cation as a goose.
Demetrius: No, my lord. His courage can't overcome his cation, but a fox can overcome a goose.
[Puck puts mouse near Theseus's feet.]
Puck: (Invisible, & panicky)There's a mouse!
[Everyone looks at the mouse. All the men scream, and try to get on something high, while the women stay put.]
Hippolyta: (Dismissive)It's just a mouse.
Hermia: (Laughing)A "monstrous" mouse.
[The Women roar with laughter. The Men are mortified. Eventually, everything calms down.]
Theseus: Le-let's listen to the moon.
Starveling: (As Moonshine)This lantern doth the crescent, or horned, moon present.
Demetrius: (Interrupting)She should've worn the horns on her head.
Theseus: (Shaking his head in disagreement)She is no crescent, & her horns are invisible.
Starveling: (To Theseus)Thank you, milord. (To audience)As I was saying; (As Moonshine) This lantern doth the crescent, or horned, moon present. And I, the Woman in the Moon, do seem to be.
Theseus: (Interrupting)This is the greatest error of all! The Woman should be placed in the lantern, how else can she be the Woman in the Moon?
Demetrius: Because of the candle, my lord. It's smoking.
Hippolyta: I'm weary of this moon. I whish she would change!
Theseus: It appears, she's on the wane. Her light is dim. But, we must listen.
Lysander: Proceed, Moon.
Starveling: (Sighs)All I have to say is that the lantern's the moon, I'm the Woman in the Moon, this thornbush, my thornbush, this dog, my dog.
Demetrius: Why, all of these things should be in the lantern, for there all in the Moon.
Helena: I don't care about that. They could be on the moon. What I don't get, is, why the dog?
Starveling: There's no one to watch her.
Demetrius: I see Thisbe coming.
[Enter F. Flute, as Thisbe]
F. Flute: This is old Ninus Tomb. Where is my love?
Snug: (As Lion)Roar-r-r!
[F. Flute runs away, leaving behind her mantle.]
Demetrius: Well roared, Lion!
Theseus: Well run, Thisbe!
Hippolyta: Well shone Moon! You truly shone with grace!
[Lion makes the fallen mantle bloody, then leaves.]
Theseus: Well moussed Lion!
[Bottom returns as Pyramus]
Demetrius: And then came Pyramus.
Lysander: And so the Lion vanished.
Bottom: (In a grand fashion, with elaborate gestures)Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams. I thank thee, Moon, for shinning now so bright, for thy glittering gleams. I hope of faithful Thisbe, to catch sight. (He sees the bloody mantle on the ground)But stay! Oh, spite! Poor knight, what dreadful woe is here! Eyes do you see? How can it be? Oh, dainty duck, thy mantle good, what! Stained with blood? Oh fates come, come! Cut thread & thrum. Quail, crush, conclude & quell!
Theseus: This, whatever you call it, & the death of a dear friend, would indeed make a man sad.
Hippolyta: Curse my heart, but I pity the man.
Bottom: (As Pyramus)Oh, why Nature, did you lions frame, since lion vile has destroyed my dear? Which is-no, no, which was- the fairest dame that lived, loved & looked with cheer. Come tears confound! Out sword & wound, the chest of Pyramus! Where the heart does beat. Thus I die, thus, thus, thus. (He "stabs" himself)Now I'm dead, now I'm fled, my soul is in the sky. Tounge, lose thy sight, Moon, take thy flight! (Moonshine exits)Now, die, die, die, die, die! (He "dies" dramatically)
Demetrius: He's an ace, that was a terrible death.
Lysander: Less than an ace. He's dead, so he's nothing!
Theseus: With the help of a doctor, he might recover, & be an ass.
Hippolyta: Why has Moonshine gone before Thisbe's return?
Theseus: She shall find him by starlight. Here she is, her passion ends the play.
Hippolyta: I hope she'll be brief.
Demetrius: As do I, my lady.
Lysander: She has spied him already with her sweet eyes.
F. Flute: (AS Thisbe)Asleep, my love? What dead, my dove? Oh, Pyramus arise! Speak, speak! Dead, dead? A tomb must cover thy sweet eyes.
M. Flute: What about me?
F. Flute: You're used. A new one must cover these lily lips, this cherry nose, these cowslip cheeks, which are nose gone, gone!
Theseus: That tomb seems very chatty.
F. Flute: Oh Sisters Three, come to me, with hands as pale as milk; lay them in gore, since you have shore, cut his silk thread. Tongue, not a word: come trusty sword, my breast stab through. (She stabs herself) And farewell, friends. Thus Thisbe ends: Adieu, adieu, adieu!
Theseus: Moonshine & Lion are left to bury the dead.
Demetrius: Yes, and Tomb & Wall too.
Bottom: No, I assure you, the wall has been taken down. Would you like to see the epilogue, or to see a rustic dance between our company.
Theseus: Please, no epilogue! Your play needs no apology, for when the players are all dead, no one can be blamed. Let's have that rustic dance, forget the epilogue.
[Bottom, the Flutes, Quince, Snout, Snug & Starveling dance.]
Theseus: The bell has tolled midnight. Tis almost Fairy Time. I'm afraid, we'll oversleep tomorrow, as we've stayed up late tonight. This awful play has made the time pass quickly. Sweet friends, to bed. For a fortnight we'll celebrate, most splendidly.
[Everyone except Puck exits. Puck grabs a broom.]
Puck: Now the hungry lion roars, & the wolf howls at the moon. While the ploughman snores, weary from his chores. Now the burnt-out logs just glow, it's the time of night when all the graves are gaping wide, each to let out a ghost. And we fairies, now do frolic. (Grabs mouse)We're happy, so not a mouse, shall disturb this royal house. I've been sent, to cause mischief & to sweep the dust behind the door.
[Titania, Oberon & their attendants enter.]
Oberon: Through this house, we shall give glimmering light, by the dead & drowsy fire. Every elf & fairy, hop as light as a bird from a briar. Sing & dance for us.
Titania: (Sing-song)Hand in hand with fairy grace, we shall sing & bless this place.
[The Fairies dance]
Oberon: Now until the break of day, through this house each fairy stray. We'll go to Theseus's marriage bed,
Titania: Which we shall bless. All the children they create, ever shall be fortunate.
Oberon: So shall all couples three, ever true in loving be. Perfect offspring shall there be. With this pure & holy dew, every fairy, this must do: Each & every chamber bless, give this palace sweet peace.
Titania: With the owner of this place blessed, ever in safety rest. Trip away & don't delay, meet us here, by break of day.
[They all exit except Puck.]
Puck: If we actors have offended, think but this, & all is mended. That you've only slumbered here while these visions did appear. And this weak & idle theme, was nothing but a dream. Gentles don't reprehend, if you pardon, we will mend. And, as I am an honest Puck, which is a type of fairy, am true to my word. So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands if we be friends, & Robin shall restore amends!