Pyramus & Thisbe

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A group of hobby actors wants to stage "Pyramus & Thisbe" but it all gets a bit out of hand as the playwright discovers his unbelievable ignorance.

Submitted: June 04, 2010

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Submitted: June 04, 2010

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The Main Characters:

- Steven, a playwright

- Pete, an actor

- Bob, an English teacher

- Herb, a disgruntled husband

- Rosie, a librarian

- Lynn, a writer


The Very Minor Characters:

- Edward

- Don


The stage is bare but the six main characters who are either sitting or standing scattered all over the place. They mind their own business for a few moments. After that, Steven faces the crowd.


STEVEN. Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to our modest little play! We will bring you a scene of great love and great tragedy, a scene which has been pleasing audiences all over the world for centuries, a scene which...erm...er...line?

PETE. Forget the introduction! They'll never know what it is, just tell them!

STEVEN. Oh, alright. Can't blame me for bringing a little class into this mess, now can you? Right, the scene we are about to perform is called „Pyramus & Thisbe“ and it was first written down by Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, around the time when Jesus Christ was born. I will now introduce the characters: I, Steven, will play Pyramus. Rosie over there... Rosie comes forth, reluctantly....will play his love Thisbe. Then there is Pete... Pete comes forth, smiling broadly. ...who will be a wall tonight. The beautiful wonder of nature called moonlight will be played by Lynn here... Lynn comes forth, also reluctantly, carrying a lantern....Good ol' Herb here... Herb comes forth. ...will be your narrator tonight, and the extremely terrifying lion will be brought to you by Bob... Bob comes forth.


The whole cast stands in a line for a few seconds. Afterwards, everybody but Herb step into the background. Herb stays where he is and starts blabbering his lines without any effort at all.


HERB. There once were two neighbours who had a thing for each other. There was Py... Pir... Pirr... Py...ra...moss... Steven walks proudly into the middle of the stage. ...and there was this hot chick called Frisbee or summin'... no, tha's not righ'... Hang on... Frisb...Thisbe! Right, Thisbe's the name...Rosie walks into the middle of the stage, very reluctantly....Anyways, they likes each other very much but their fathers are bein' stupid, so they can't see each other and...

BOB. Hold it, hold it! What is that?! Is this turning into „A Midsummer Night's Dream“ or something?!

STEVEN. How dare you interrupt the routine?!

Some time during the following commotion, Herb leaves the stage.

ROSIE. But he's right! Have you actually read your script, Steven?! Those dialogues are so corny, they seem to come right out of Shakespeare's play!

LYNN. Yes, I thought that too! He even wrote stuff like „I hear sweet Thisbe's face“ and such! Nobody can be that stupid, he must've copied it!

STEVEN. What on earth are you people talking about?! Pete, do you understand this?

PETE. Of course! They discuss the similarities between your script and William Shakespeare's famous „play within the play“, meaning the crummy performance of „Pyramus & Thisbe“ by the craftsmen of Athens, consisting of Peter Quince and Snout and Flute and Starveling and Bottom, who is transformed into a mule and...

STEVEN. Yeah, yeah, ok. But... how do you all know about such a play?

PETE. I played Oberon once.

STEVEN. Who?

PETE. Oberon, the king of the fairies!

STEVEN. Fairies?!

PETE. There's a lot of stuff going on in that play, believe me.

STEVEN mumbling. Fairies... To everyone.Okay, I understand Pete's knowledge about such a thing but what about you non-actors?

ROSIE. I'm a librarian, I read a lot. Ever heard of clichés?

BOB. I'm an English teacher, I teach my students about those plays.

LYNN. I'm a hobby writer, I write such... No, that's not right...erm... Well... I read it once!

STEVEN. What about you, Herb? Nobody answers.Herb? Herb?!

BOB. Hm, he must've left.

LYNN. Good for him, I'd say.

ROSIE. Mhm, he'll be in the pub down the street by now. He doesn't get on with the wife, y'know.

STEVEN. Yes, that doesn't matter right now. What matters is... oh boy, what matters?

ROSIE. You – stealing – from – William – greatest writer of all time – Shakespeare...?

STEVEN. I didn't steal it, I don't even know the man! Who is he? Recent writer? Everybody stares at him in utter disbelief.What?

BOB. You don't know William Shakespeare?

PETE. You? A-a playwright?

STEVEN. One can't know everything now, can he?! When did this fellow live? When did he write this „Pyramus & Thisbe“ thing?

BOB. William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, wrote „A Midsummer Night's Dream“ between 1694 and 1696.

ROSIE. Impressive. College?

BOB. Wikipedia.

ROSIE. Ah.

STEVEN. One moment. He runs off the stage.

LYNN. Where are you going?

STEVEN from offstage. I'm using my time machine!

LYNN. Oh.


A „Zapp“ sound can be heard from offstage. There's a moment's pause before Rosie addresses her colleagues.


ROSIE. So... did you guys know he had a time machine?

PETE. He mentioned it a couple of times, yeah.

BOB. Did he? I don't remember.

LYNN. Must've been that time you were sick.

BOB. Mhm, probably.


There is an awkward pause.


PETE. So... anybody seen that new Michael Bay movie?

BOB. Oh please, I gave up on that guy after he made the first „Transformers“ movie!

LYNN. But that was at least somewhat entertaining, the second one was just plain boring!

ROSIE. You think? I thought the action in the second one was way better!

LYNN. Yes, but the context! I mean, come on! Just because we buy that there are alien robots on the loose on earth doesn't mean we have to accept metal testicles!

Another „Zapp“ can be heard from offstage. Steven returns to the scene.


BOB. So, what did you do?

STEVEN. I just killed that Shakespeare person you were talking about.

PETE, BOB, LYNN, ROSIE, chaotic. What?! How could you do that?! You did what?! Why?!

STEVEN looking bewildered. Well, so my play isn't stolen from anybody.

PETE. But how...?

STEVEN. I stabbed him with my Swiss army knife, of course. He didn't put up much of a fight. Was a short chap, wasn't a beauty queen either.

BOB. I don't know where to start telling you how impossible your action is!

STEVEN. Then don't! Shall we proceed, then?

ROSIE. We can't, we're missing Herb. And a great writer, you idiot!


Another „Zapp“ can be heard from offstage. Enter Edward and Don, both dressed in official-looking uniforms.


DON. Who of you is Mr. Steven Argyle?

STEVEN. That would be me, gentlemen. How can I help you?

EDWARD. In the name of historical canon, you are arrested! And all the others too, for assisting him!

STEVEN. Oh please. So I killed a playwright, what's the big deal?

EDWARD. I'll tell you what's the big deal! By killing Shakespeare you have mutilated the English language. Soon every English speaker won't have the words to describe anything. This is an outrage! The literature of half a millenium lost because of some fool's non-registered time machine!

DON. Take them away! Edward leads everbody off the stage. Don turns to the audience.Don't feel too bad for them. They'll be shot very... A shot and Steven's scream is heard....hu... A shot and Bob's scream is heard....mane... A shot and Lynn's scream is heard....ly... A shot and Pete's scream is heard....as humanely as possible, that is. A shot and Rosie's scream is heard.Blasted canon wreckers. I hate those people who tamper with time. Well, I hope I don't have to arrest you people one time. Just stay clear of unregistered time machines and you'll be fine. Good bye, have a nice evening!


Don leaves the stage. There is nothing going on for a few moments. Then we suddenly hear Herb's voice from offstage.


HERB from offstage. Hey, is this this time machine thingy Steven's always been on about? Hm, what happens when I push this butt...


A „Zapp“ sound can be heard.


BOB from offstage. Hey, aren't we supposed to be dead?

LYNN from offstage. I thought he hit me right through the neck.

STEVEN from offstage. Very odd, indeed.

PETE from offstage. Oh look, it's Herb! He must've brought us back! Somehow...


Rosie enters the stage.


ROSIE to the audience. Oh hello! You're still here? Good to see you! Just don't be too loud on your way out, those historical canon freaks could be back any minute. So, drive safe, sleep tight and never forget tonight's moral: Don't mess with those canon keepers and don't use unregistered time machines! It's not worth the trouble! Good night! Exit Rosie.


Curtain.


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