Commedia Del Bard

Combining a love of Shakespeare with the beloved style of Commedia Del Arte, my cronies and I came up with an idea to make a troupe of actors, 3 male, 3 female, and we would do shortened versions of Shakespeare’s plays (comedies, of course, a commedia del arte troupe doing Romeo and Juliet doesn’t work). I did a script for Midsummer’s and one for Taming and we did in fact perform these in a few locations (Hudson Winter Walk, Beardsley Castle when they had their medieval faire, etc). Here is a small segment of Midsummers (I was Puck/Robin, and it was great fun)

Hermia
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?

Helena
Call you me fair? Demetrius loves your fair. Teach me how you look and with what art you sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.

Hermia
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

Helena
Oh that my prayers could such affection move. The more I love, the more he hateth me.

Hermia
Take comfort. He shall no more see my face. Lysander and myself will flee this place.

Lysander
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold. Tomorrow night, through Athen’s gates we have devised to steal.

Hermia
Into the wood, thence from Athens to seek new friends and stranger companies. Fare well, sweet playfellow.
Lysander
Helena, adieu. As you on him, Demetrius dote on you.

They exit.

Helena
How happy some o’er other some can be. Ere Demetrius looked on Hermia’s eyne, he hailed down oaths that he was only mine. I will tell him of fair Hermia’s flight. If I have thanks, it is a dear expense to have his sight hither and back again.

**Exits. Scene change to woods.

Bottom
Know that in the woods, a troupe of actors is gathered to practice. They are to perform at the Duke’s wedding.

Puck
Know that in the woods, the Fairy King Oberon is at odds with his Queen Titania. She has forsworn his bed and company.

Bottom
I am one of these actors, and the director as well. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves. Some man or other must represent Wall…

Puck
What hempen homespuns have we here swaggering so near the cradle of the Fairy Queen? What, a play toward! I’ll follow you, I’ll lead you about a round, through bog, through bush. Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound.

Moves away from Bottom and makes neighing sounds, then barking sounds. Bottom looks around, begins to move away, following the noises.

Bottom
Did they run away? This is knavery of them to make me afeard.

Follows Puck off. Demetrius enters with Helena following.

Demetrius
I love thee not, therefore pursue me not. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?

Helena
No, and even for that do I love you the more. I am your spaniel, Demetrius. The more you beat me, the more I will fawn on you.

Demetrius
Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee.

Helena
And I am sick when I look not on you.

Demetrius
You do impeach your modesty too much to leave the city and commit yourself into the hands of one that loves you not.

Puck reenters and is watching this exchange.

Helena
The wildest hath not such a heart as you.

Demetrius
Let me go. O, if thou follow me, do not believe but I shall do thee mischief in the wood.

Helena
Ay, you do me mischief. Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex. We cannot fight for love as men do. We should be wooed and were not made to woo.

Demetrius exits.

I’ll follow thee, and make a heaven of Hell, to die upon the hand I love so well.

Helena exits.

Puck
Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this grove, thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love. With the juice of this I’ll streak his eyes, I’ll do it when the next thing he espies may be the lady.

Bottom reenters, this time with the head of an ass.

Bottom
My fellows have conspired to make an ass of me, to fright me if they can. Well, I will not stir from this place.

Puck
Oh, I think you will. I have already anointed Titania’s eyne with this potent juice, to make her full of hateful fantasies. What she see’st when she doth wake, she will for her truelove take, be it boar, or cat, or bear….or just an ass!

Puck makes loud noises to frighten Bottom off. Lysander and Hermia enter as Bottom exits. Puck lingers to watch the couple.

Lysander
To speak troth, I have forgot our way. We’ll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good, and tarry for the comfort of the day.

Hermia
Be’t so, Lysander. Upon this bank I will rest my head. For my sake, my dear, lie further off.

Lysander
Here is my bed. Sleep give thee all his rest.

Puck
There he is! Weeds of Athens he does wear. This is he, despised the Athenian maid. Churl, upon thy eyes I throw all the power this charm doth owe. So awake when I am gone, for now I must to Oberon.

Squeezes the flower over Lysander’s eyes, then exits. Demetrius and Helena enter.

Helena
Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.

Demetrius
Stay, on thy peril. I alone will go.

D exits.

Helena
Oh, I am out of breath in this fond chase. No, no, I am ugly as a bear, therefore no marvel though Demetrius do, as a monster, fly my presence. But who is here? Lysander? On the ground? Dead, or asleep? I see no blood on the ground. Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.

Lysander
And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake. Where is Demetrius? O how fit a word is that vile name to perish on my sword.

Helena
Say not so, Lysander. What though he love your Hermia? Hermia still loves you, then be content.

Lysander
Content with Hermia? Not Hermia but Helena I love. Who will not change a raven for a dove?

Helena
Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born? When at your hands did I deserve your scorn? You must flout my insufficiency. I thought you were a lord of more true gentleness.

Helena exits.

Lysander
Hermia, sleep thou there and never mayst thou come Lysander near. All my powers, address you love and might to honor Helena!

Exits after Helena. Hermia wakes.

Hermia
What dream was here? Lysander, look how I do quake with fear. Lysander? What, removed? Gone, no sound, no word? Alack, where are you? I swoon almost with fear. I well perceive you are not nigh.

Possible scene change?? Puck and Bottom enter.

Bottom
There are fairies here, being kind and courteous to this gentleman, feed me with apricocks and dewberries. They pluck the wings from painted butterflies to fan the moonbeams from my waking eyes.

Puck
Because my mistress is with a monster in love. I led his crew of patches on in distracted fear, and and him I left translated there. In that moment, so it came to pass, Titania woke, and straightway loved an ass.

Bottom
Sings
The woosel cock so black of hue
With orange-tawny hue
The throstle with his note so true….

Puck
Titania prays thee, gentle mortal, sing again. She says thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

Bottom
Not so, neither, but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I would have enough to serve mine own turn.

Puck
Out of this wood, says my mistress Titania, do not desire to go!

Bottom
I cry your worship’s mercy heartily. I beseech your worship’s name.

We hear Hermia and Demetrius approaching.

Puck
On second thought, go, go, look thou must go. Or if you will not, tie up thy lover’s tongue!

Bottom and Puck stand aside as Hermia comes in followed by Demetrius.

Demetrius
Oh, why rebuke you him that loves you so? Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

Hermia
Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse. If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, plunge in the deep and kill me, too. Would he have stolen away from sleeping Hermia? Where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Demetrius
I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.

Hermia
Out, dog! Thou driv’st me past the bounds of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?

Demetrius
You spend your passion on a misprised mood. I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood, nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

Hermia
I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

Demetrius
An if I could, what should I get therefore?

Hermia
A privilege never to see me more. See me no more, whether he be dead or no.

Exits

Demetrius
There is no following her in this fierce vein. Here therefore for a while will I remain, for debt that bankrout sleep doth sorrow owe.

Falls down to sleep. Puck approaches.

Puck
What have I done? I have mistaken quite, and laid the lovejuice on some truelove’s sight.

Bottom
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue some true love turned, and not a false turned true.

Puck
About the wood go swifter than the wind and Helena of Athens look thou find. By some trick see thou bring her here. I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.

Bottom exits

Flower of this purple dye, hit with Cupid’s archery
Sink in apple of his eye
When thou wak’st thy love be by
Beg of her for remedy.

Uses the flower on Demetrius. Bottom comes back in.

Bottom
Helena is here at hand, and the youth mistook by thee, pleading for a lover’s fee.

Puck
Stand aside. The noise they make will cause Demetrius to awake. Lord what fools these mortals be.

They stand back. Enter Helena with Lysander on her heels.

Lysander
Why should you think that I should woo in scorn? Look, when I vow, I weep.

Helena
These vows are Hermia’s, will you give her o’er?

Lysander
I had no judgment when to her I swore.

Helena
Nor, none in my mind, now you give her o’er.

Lysander
Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.

Demetrius wakes.

Demetrius
Oh, Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! O, let me kiss this princess of pure white, this seal of bliss.

Helena
O spite. I see you are all bent to set against me for your merriment. Can you not hate me, as I know you do, but you must join in souls to mock me, too? You are both rivals and love Hermia, and now both rivals to mock Helena.

Lysander
You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so, for you love Hermia, this you know I know. In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part, and yours of Helena to me bequeath.

Helena
Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

Demetrius
Lysander, keep thy Hermia, I will none. If e’er I loved her, all that love is gone. Now to Helen it is home returned.

Lysander
Helen, it is not so.

Demetrius
Disparage not the faith thou does not know. Look, where thy love comes, yonder is thy dear.

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