Act I, Scene 2
A group of working men are putting together a play to perform
for the Duke and
Duchess of Athens on the night of their wedding. This is their first meeting, and
they are discussing the play and assigning roles.
Frank: A handyman
Tom: A metal-worker
1) Peter: When I call your name, say, “Here!” and I will tell you what part you’ll play.
I have here the list with all of your names on it. Of all the men in Athens, you all
are the best…the most qualified
…the only ones who volunteered to put on this
Nick: First, please…what is the play about?
Peter: Oh, it’s a fine play, Nick. It’s probably
the best play ever written. It is the
Rob: You’ve seen the play, Nick?
Peter: I just wrote it last night!
2) Nick: One of the finest plays. I assure
you, gentlemen. Peter, call the roll and
Peter: Fine, fine. Nick! Nick? Are you here, Nick?
Nick: Here, Peter! Tell me, what role
will I play?
Peter: You, Nick, will play Pyramus.
Nick: Wonderful! Oh what luck! Pyramus! Indeed! I shall play Pyramus! Peter, is
for the woman he loves. He will literally
give his life for love.
Nick: If I play the part well enough, which I will, the audience
will be in tears!
They’ll be crying like babies at how romantic
I am. But the thing is, Peter, I’m really
Nick:[Interrupts Peter] A tyrant
– really a villain
. One of the great villains. [Begins
acting – very dramatic
] From the tops of the mountains! From the top…to the
crushing rocks below…below…below [voice fades]. I will find them! I will
find them! And I will…
3) Frank: Here, Peter. What role
will I play?
Peter: You, Frank, will play Thisbe.
Frank: A wandering hero
? I could easily play the young hero
Peter: No. Thisbe is not a hero
4) Peter: No. Thisbe is the girl Pyramus is in love with.
Frank: A girl? A girl! No...no...no… I can’t play a girl! Look! I’m growing a beard.
Peter: [Examines Frank’s chin] No, I don’t see it. You will play Thisbe.
Nick: Wait! I can wear a mask and I can play Thisbe too! Listen [speaks in a high
voice] Oh Pyramus! Oh Pyramus! I love you so much, Pyramus!
Frank: That’s a great idea! Let Nick play a girl.
Peter: No! Frank, you will play Thisbe and Nick, you will play Pyramus. Let me
5) Rob: Here, Peter!
Peter: Rob, you will play Thisbe’s mother.
Nick: Thisbe’s mother is not very pretty.
Tom: Here, Peter!
Peter: You’ll play Pyramus’s father. I’ll play Thisbe’s father, and Steve, you’ll play
Steve: Do you have the lion’s part written? Can I have it? I know it will take me a
long time to learn it.
6) Peter: There is no script
for the lion, Steve. You will perform
Steve: I’ll do what?
Peter: Extemporaneously. You’ll make it up on your own.
Nick: Wait! Let me play the lion! I’ll be the fiercest lion that ever walked on a
[roars]. The Duke, himself, will stand up and say, “Let the lion
Peter: No, no, Nick. You’ll be too realistic
. You’ll be so much like a real lion that
the ladies in the audience
and we’ll all be put in prison for
7) Peter: Nick - the only part you may play is Pyramus. That’s it. You can play one
part - Pyramus.
Peter. That’s fine. Wear a beard. But you can only play Pyramus. Now - are we all
set? Does everyone know their part?
Peter: Good - let’s meet tonight in the forest
. I know a clearing
where we can
rehearse without anyone seeing us. Be sure you’re on time!