A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare Adapted by Jill Mountain
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.
Peter: A carpenter, the leader of the group of players
Nick: A weaver
Frank: A handyman
Rob: A tailor
Tom: A metal-worker
Steve: A construction 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 play.
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 most lamentable, or regrettable comedy of the cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe.
Rob: You’ve seen the play, Nick?
Peter: I just wrote it last night!
Nick: One of the finest plays. I assure you, gentlemen. Peter, call the roll and assign the roles! Gentlemen – spread out!
2) 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: 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 much better suited to play a villain a real tyrant.
3) Peter: Frank?
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…
Frank: Here, Peter. What role will I play?
Peter: You, Frank, will play Thisbe.
Frank: Thisbe? Who is Thisbe? A brave knight?
Frank: A wandering hero? I could easily play the young hero.
Peter: No. Thisbe is not a hero.
Frank: A great adventurer, then? An explorer who goes into uncharted waters and saves a damsel in distress?
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.
4) 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 continue. Rob?
Rob: Here, Peter!
Peter: Rob, you will play Thisbe’s mother.
Nick: Thisbe’s mother is not very pretty.
5) Peter: Tom?
Tom: Here, Peter!
Peter: You’ll play Pyramus’s father. I’ll play Thisbe’s father, and Steve, you’ll play the lion.
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.
Peter: There is no script for the lion, Steve. You will perform it extemporaneously.
Steve: I’ll do what?
Peter: You’ll make it up on your own.
6) Nick: Wait! Let me play the lion! I’ll be the fiercest lion that ever walked on a stage. I’ll roar and claw and growl. The audience will be in awe of my amazing lion performance [roars]. The Duke, himself, will stand up and say, “Let the lion roar again! Let him roar again!” [roar]
Peter: No, no, Nick. You’ll be too realistic. You’ll be so much like a real lion that you’ll scare the ladies in the audience and we’ll all be put in prison for threatening members of royalty.
Nick: I can roar gently [roars softly]. I can roar so softly that people in the audience would feel safe giving me their babies, their infant children. I will roar so gently, so softly, that the Duke will compare my roar to the song of a nightingale or a sweet spring bird.
Peter: Nick - the only part you may play is Pyramus. That’s it. You can play one part - Pyramus.
Nick: Can I at least wear a fake beard or a disguise?
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!