All the World’s a Stage

A Celebration of WS

Quince, Juliet, Bottom, Romeo

Narrators 1 and 2.

 

The Prologue

 

NARRATOR 1

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men

NARRATOR 2

and women

NARRATOR 1

And all the men AND WOMEN merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man

NARRATOR 2

Or woman!

NARRATOR 1

And one man or woman in his – (reaction from Narrator 2) or her time – plays many parts,
His (reaction from Narrator 2) or her acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy,

NARRATOR 2

or schoolgirl.

NARRATOR 1

or schoolgirl.

NARRATOR 2

Wait a minute – did girls go to school in Shakespeare’s day?

NARRATOR 1

Dunno. I think they had private lessons at home. Check it.

NARRATOR 2

Google it.

NARRATOR 1

Google it (takes out smartphone)

‘only very few girls were formally educated and they had lessons at home not in school’.

NARRATOR 2

So there you are. Let’s go on

NARRATOR 1

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

 

NARRATOR 2 Whining, whining??

 

NARRATOR 1 Yes. You know, complaining. About school. Moaning.

 

NARRATOR 2 Kids! All they do is moan, moan, moan.

 

(Narrator 1 waxes lyrical)

 

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow…

NARRATOR 2:

Whoa, whoa! Woeful ballad?

NARRATOR 1

He means a love song, a love song…a sad love song…

NARRATOR 2

And his mistress’ eyebrow?

NARRATOR 1

Well, it’s a love song about how beautiful the girl is.

NARRATOR 2

So boy meets girl

NARRATOR 1

Right!

NARRATOR 2

and he falls in love with her eyebrow?

NARRATOR 1:

Well, no…well…yes…more or less.

NARRATOR 2

Just the one eyebrow?

NARRATOR 1

No, it just means they were madly in love.

NARRATOR 2:

You mean like Romeo and Juliet?

NARRATOR 1

Just like Romeo and Juliet. More or less.

NARRATOR 2

More or less? What do you mean, more or less?

NARRATOR 1

Well, who were Romeo and Juliet? Do we really know?

NARRATOR 2

Well, they were a boy and a girl who fell in love but their mum and dad disagreed and everything ended in tragedy.

NARRATOR 1

Something like that.

NARRATOR 2

More …or less?

NARRATOR 1

Well, yes. You see, it’s not so simple. Here’s what the text says: (Reads) Imagine: one midsummer’s night, a long time ago, in a wood outside Athens, a group of working men…

NARRATOR 2

Or working women!

NARRATOR 1

No. A group only of working men, members of an amateur dramatic society, meet to rehearse a play: ‘the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe’…

NARRATOR 2

Pyramid and Frisbe?

NARRATOR 1

Not Pyramid: Pyramus! Pyramus and Thisbe. Look, you know Romeo and Juliet…

NARRATOR 2

Not personally.

NARRATOR 1

Well, imagine this group of working men rehearsing a play a bit like Romeo and Juliet.

NARRATOR 2

But if they’re all men, who’s going to play Juliet?

NARRATOR 1:

One of the men. (Consults google) The women’s parts in Shakespeare’s theatre were all played by men, you know.

NARRATOR 2

Weird. So when Shakespeare says ‘one man in his time plays many parts’ he really means men play all the parts!

NARRATOR 1

That’s history, init?

NARRATOR 2:

Yes, but whose history? Why should men play more roles than women? Why should men have more freedom than women? Why should our liberty than theirs be more?

NARRATOR 1:

Right. Good question. (pause) Now, let’s see who these working men are. This is Peter Quince, a carpenter; he’s the director, and that’s Bottom, the weaver, one of the actors …

NARRATOR 2

Bottom??!

NARRATOR 1

Yes, Bottom.

NARRATOR 2: And they let kids watch this?

 

Scene 1

 

QUINCE:

Is all our company here?

BOTTOM

You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the script.

QUINCE

Here is the list of every man’s name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to perform in our
play before the duke and the duchess, on their wedding-day.

BOTTOM

First, good Peter Quince, say what the play is about, then read the names of the actors.

QUINCE

Our play is ‘The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Romeo and Juliet’.

BOTTOM

A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your
actors.

QUINCE

Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.

BOTTOM

Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

QUINCE

You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Romeo.

BOTTOM

What is Romeo? a lover, a tyrant or a clown?

QUINCE

A lover, that kills himself for love.

BOTTOM

That will need some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their
eyes; I will move storms; yet my real talent is for a tyrant: I could play Hercules, or a part to tear a cat in:
The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates…

QUINCE

This is Hercules, a tyrant; a lover is more condoling!

BOTTOM

Condoling? Condoling? (appeals to audience)

QUINCE:

Soft, soft.

BOTTOM

But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is my lady, O, it is my love!

That’s your lover. Condoling.
Now name the rest of the players.

QUINCE

I will play Juliet.

BOTTOM

What is Juliet? A wandering knight?

QUINCE

It is the lady that Romeo must love.

BOTTOM

Let me play Juliet, too, I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice: (takes script) ‘Ah, Romeo, Romeo…wherefore art thou Romeo? Change your name! What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet! Romeo, Romeo, Romeo!’

QUINCE

That’s enough Romeos. No; you must play Romeo and I, Juliet.

BOTTOM

Well, go on then.

QUINCE

(indicating audience) Robin Starveling, the tailor, will play Juliet’s mother. Tom Snout, the tinker, Romeo’s father. Snug, the carpenter, the lion’s part: and, that’s the cast;

BOTTOM

A lion? (indicating audience) Snug the Carpenter can never play a lion!

QUINCE

Course he can. All he has to do is roar. (elicits roar from audience). Roar! Roar! There you see? And now we can start rehearsing our play…

BOTTOM

Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me; I will roar,
that I will make the audience say: ‘Let him roar again, let him roar again.’ (elicits choral ‘let him roar again’ from audience).

QUINCE

If you do it too terribly, you will frighten the ladies, they will start to shriek; and that may be enough to hang us all!

BOTTOM

That’s right, Peter Quince, if we frighten the ladies out of their wits, they will have no choice but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any dove; I will roar you just like a nightingale (tweets like a bird)

QUINCE

Nick Bottom: you will play no part but Romeo! (Bottom sulks) Romeo is a sweet-faced man; a proper man as one shall see on a summer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man: therefore only you can play Romeo.

BOTTOM

Well, alright, I’ll do it! What colour beard does Romeo have?

QUINCE:

A beard? Romeo doesn’t have a beard. He’s only sixteen.

BOTTOM

Sixteen? It’s a bit young…and how old is Juliet? Twelve?

QUINCE

No. (Pause for Bottom’s double take). She’s fourteen.

BOTTOM

Fourteen? And they let kids watch this? Well, I’m not shaving off my moustache. Methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face. My moustache makes me look wise and handsome. But what colour beard?

QUINCE

Any colour you like. Orange, purple, yellow. (looks around) And here’s a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green spot shall be our stage and that bush can be our dressing room…

BOTTOM

This unworthy spot? Our stage? This poor patch! (Ham voice) O for a muse of fire! And a kingdom for a stage!

QUINCE (Ham voice)

But pardon, gentles all, this unworthy scaffold
O, pardon; imagine you see a great stage

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs in the receiving earth

BOTTOM

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold your horses! Don’t you mean lions?

QUINCE

It says here ‘horses…printing their proud hoofs’…

BOTTOM

Well, in our play there’s a lion. Snug the carpenter plays the lion.

QUINCE

Alright. (Ham voice) ‘Think when we talk of lions, that you see them, printing their proud hoofs in the receiving earth…’

BOTTOM

Hang on, hang on. Lions don’t have ‘hoofs’…

QUINCE

Don’t they? What do they have?

BOTTOM

er…claws…

QUINCE

Claws? (gesture) We can’t say ‘proud claws’.

BOTTOM

Why not?

QUINCE

It doesn’t… sound right.

BOTTOM

Well, we can say ‘paws’. Lions have paws. (gesture)

QUINCE

Like cats?

BOTTOM

Proud paws. (gesture)

QUINCE

Proud paws is good. (Ham voice) ‘Think when we talk of lions, that you see them, printing their proud paws in the receiving earth’! Good. Imagination, you see?

BOTTOM

Work, work your thoughts,

For it is with your thoughts that now you must gently hear,

And kindly judge, our play.

 

Scene 2

QUINCE

Now, let’s begin…

BOTTOM

Peter Quince!

QUINCE

What is it now, bully Bottom?

BOTTOM

There are things in this comedy of Romeo and Juliet that will never please. First, Romeo must draw a sword to kill himself, which the ladies won’t like. What do you say to that?

QUINCE

Well, we could leave the killing out…

BOTTOM

No. I’ve got an idea! Write me a prologue; and let the prologue say, ‘ladies, we will do no harm with our swords’, and tell them that Romeo is not killed indeed; and that I, Romeo, am not Romeo, but Bottom the weaver.

QUINCE

Well, we will have such a prologue. Now, let’s begin…

BOTTOM

And will not the ladies be afraid of the lion? A lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing!

QUINCE

Therefore another prologue must tell the audience that he is not a lion. And we can name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion’s neck: and he himself must speak through the lion’s head, saying thus (makes notes) : ‘Ladies,’ or ‘Fair-ladies I would wish you not to fear …’

BOTTOM

…or (dictates to Quince) ‘ladies, I would request you’ or ‘I would entreat you, not to fear, not to tremble. If you think I come here as a lion, it were pity of my life: no, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are;’ and indeed let Snug name his name, and tell them he is Snug, the carpenter.

QUINCE

Well it shall be so. Now, let’s begin…

BOTTOM

But Peter Quince, there are two more things; first, how are we going to bring the moon into the room?

QUINCE

The moon into the room?

BOTTOM

Yes. Because, you know, (refers to script) Romeo and Juliet meet by moonlight.

QUINCE

Does the moon shine that night we play our play?

BOTTOM

A calendar, a calendar! look in the calendar; look up moonshine, look up moonshine.

QUINCE

(to audience) A calendar? Anybody got a calendar? No.

BOTTOM

Google it!!

QUINCE

Google it!

BOTTOM

Google it!! Google it!!

QUINCE

Google it!!

(Takes out smartphone)

Yes, (reads) the moon doth shine as bright as day that night.

BOTTOM

Well here’s my idea: you can leave the big window, where we play, open, and the moon will shine in at the window.

QUINCE

Good. Now, let’s begin…

BOTTOM

Yes, but, Peter Quince: there is just one more thing: we must have a wall in the room.

QUINCE

A wall?

BOTTOM

A wall?

QUINCE

A wall?

BOTTOM

A wall; because Romeo and Juliet, (refers to text) says the story, talk through a hole in the wall.

QUINCE

You can never bring in a wall!

BOTTOM

Yes, we can. I’ve got an idea! Some man or other must be the wall: and let him have some plaster about him, to show he is the wall and let him hold his fingers thus, (Both gesture) and through that hole in the wall shall Romeo and Juliet whisper.

 

(Quince and Bottom choose a volunteer from audience to be the Wall)

 

QUINCE:

Francis Flute shall be the wall. Francis Flute, come forth.

BOTTOM:

Come forth Francis Flute, and be our wall.

QUINCE:

Come hither and stand here. Hold up your fingers to make a hole. Then all is well. Come, let us rehearse our parts. Let’s begin with the balcony scene…(holds up placard: ‘The balcony scene)

 

(Quince stands on chair or table to appear on balcony as Juliet)

 

Scene 3

QUINCE

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, two teenagers, Romeo and Juliet, fall in love at first sight. But their families hate each other. Juliet’s dad wants her to marry a nice rich young man but she wants to marry Romeo. Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s garden at night; she is on the balcony; Romeo speaks…

BOTTOM

Oh! Juliet, O, flower of o-dious sweet…

QUINCE

Odours, odours.

BOTTOM

…o-dours sweet:
Such is your breath, my dearest Juliet dear.

QUINCE

(puts on wig)

Ay, me!

BOTTOM

But wait! I hear a voice!
QUINCE

Most radiant Romeo, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red, red rose

BOTTOM

And true as truest horse,
I’ll meet thee, Juliet, at Ninny’s tomb.

QUINCE

(takes off wig)

‘Ninus’ tomb,’ man: why, you must not speak that yet; that you answer to Juliet: you speak all your part at once, cues and all!

BOTTOM

I’ll meet thee, Juliet, at Ninus’ tomb.

QUINCE

Romeo arrives at the place where he is to meet Juliet. It is dark. The moon is bright. (Torch on)

BOTTOM

(Bottom saws the air)

O grim-look’d night! O night which art so black!
O night, which art when day is not!
O night, O night! alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Juliet’s promise is forgot!

QUINCE

(comes down from the balcony)

Stop! Stop! It’s all wrong. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: Do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently…

Romeo goes near the wall: silence!

 

(they drag volunteer to wall position)

 

BOTTOM

Gently, gently.

And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely, gentle wall…
Thou wall, O wall, O gentle, gentle wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eye!

(Wall holds up his fingers)

Thanks, gentle wall.
But what see I? No Juliet do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no love!
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

QUINCE

‘Deceiving me’ is Juliet’s cue: she enters now, and Romeo sees her through the wall. Here she comes.

(Puts on wig)

O wall, often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Romeo and me!
My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones

Ay, me…

BOTTOM (looks through hole)

I hear a voice: now will I to the hole,
To see if I can see my Juliet’s face. Juliet!

QUINCE

My love thou art, my love I think.

BOTTOM

O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!

QUINCE

I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.

BOTTOM

Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightaway?

QUINCE

I come without delay.

(takes off wig)

Now is the wall down between the two lovers (Wall exits)

BOTTOM

Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright;
For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
I trust to take of truest Juliet sight.

(as himself)

This is the silliest stuff that I have ever heard.
QUINCE

You must be patient.

BOTTOM

It’s preposterous.

QUINCE

It’s theatre! Even the best writers have their off days; and the worst writers are not so bad, with a little imagination

BOTTOM

Whose imagination, ours or theirs?

QUINCE

Enough, play on. Enter Juliet, pursued by lion; the lion roars. (claw gesture; elicits roar from audience)

(puts on wig)

This is old Ninus’ tomb. Where is my love?

(takes off wig)

The lion roars again (elicits roar from audience); exit Juliet, pursued by lion.

BOTTOM                                                                                                                   

Well roared lion, well-run Juliet…

QUINCE

But as Juliet runs off, she drops her scarf, covered in blood.

And here comes Romeo…he sees the blood-stained scarf…

BOTTOM

But wait!
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be?
O dainty duck! O dear!
Thy scarlet scarf so good
What, stained with blood?
O why, Nature, did you lions make?
Since lion bad has here destroyed my dear:
Which is – no, no – which was the loveliest girl
That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked with cheer.

This is too long!

QUINCE

It shall to the barber’s with your beard. Play on. Play on…

BOTTOM

O Fate, come, come,
O, hell!

Quake, crush,

Conclude, and quell!

Come, tears, so round
Out, sword, and wound
The heart of Romeo
Ay, that left breast,
Where life doth rest

Stabs himself

 

QUINCE

This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon.
BOTTOM
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead,
Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky:
Tongue, lose thy light;
Moon take thy flight: (torch off)

Now die, die, die, die, die. (Dies)

QUINCE

(Ham voice, addressed to Bottom) O mighty Bottom! Dost thou lie so low? Where are you jokes now? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment? Good night, sweet Bottom. Your revels now are ended. (To audience) He was great of heart. Alas, poor Juliet! She comes back and by the light of the moon, finds her beloved Bottom gone – and her passion ends the play.

QUINCE

(puts on wig)

Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Romeo arise!
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These my lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cheeks,
Are gone, are gone:
Lovers, make moan:
His eyes were green as leeks.

 

BOTTOM

Eyes ‘green as leeks’?

QUINCE

(takes off wig)

‘Green as leeks’ is good.

(puts on wig)
Tongue, not a word:
Come, gentle sword;
Come, blade…(Stabs herself)

And, farewell, friends
Thus Juliet ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu (Dies)

 

Epilogue

 

BOTTOM

Fare thee well, gentle Juliet.

Fare thee well, gentle Juliet!!

 

(Quince gets up, exits)

 

And that is the last scene of all
That ends this strange eventful history

For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

 

QUINCE

If we actors have offended,
Think only this, and all is mended,
Imagine you’ve been sleeping here
While these visions did appear.
And everything that you have seen
Has been nothing but a dream
BOTTOM

But that’s all one, for our play is done,
And we’ll try to please you every day

QUINCE

Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies.

BOTTOM

Good night to you, gentles all. Good night.

 

(Narrators leave)

 

(Dave and Luke deliver the following as themselves,)

 

DAVID

Every classroom is a stage
And all schoolmasters

LUKE

And mistresses!

DAVID

And all schoolmasters and mistresses merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And teachers in their time play many parts
In lessons of many stages

LUKE

At first, the ice-breaker
Breaking down barriers between teacher and learner
DAVID

And then: presenter of target language, with clarity
And care to capture the attention of students
Who crawl unwillingly to school

LUKE

And then the friend
Smiling and supportive, with gentle words
Making learners’ grammar grow

DAVID

Then the tester
Full of forms and index numbers, armed with marks
Grading and ranking, quick in discrimination
Seeking the carrot – motivation
But bursting the bubble, learner transformation.

LUKE

And then the judge, sitting at home with piles of papers
With eyes severe and endless cups of coffee
Full of corrections in red and underlinings

And so they play their part
DAVID

The sixth stage shifts
Into the classroom manager, master-mistress
Of time and space, facilitator of classroom
Interaction and monitor of learners’ progress
A model of language and correctness

LUKE

Using her voice

DAVID: Or his voice!

LUKE: Using her – or his – voice…
To keep up the pace and keep down the noise.
Last role of all, that ends a good teacher’s history
The magic of transformation, teaching with artistry

(together)
With music, painting and with poetry.

 

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