A midsummer Nights Dream

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william shakespeare-a midsummer nights dream
vijita fernando-missiya the wild one


Acting for the Duke

Everyone  in  Athens  knew  that  Theseus  was  going  to  be  married  to

Hippolyta. Many people were wondering how they could celebrate the event in a

way that would please the Duke.

Everyone wanted to honour the Duke by organising a special entertainment

for him and his bride.

There  was  a  weaver  in  the  city  called  Bottom.  He  and  his  friends  had

decided that they would perform a play for the Duke. They had never performed

in  a  play  before,  but  they  were  certain  it  would  be  easy  to  do.  They  held  a

meeting to decide what play they should perform, and the parts that each of them

should play.

'Well, friends,' asked Bottom, 'what play shall we perform for the Duke?'

He was answered by the carpenter. Quince.

'We have chosen the play Pyramus and Thisbe.'

'What is my part in the play?" asked Bottom, excitedly. 'Do I play a lover,

or do I play a bad king?'

'You  play  the  part  of  a  lover,'  Quince  told  him.  'It's  a  wonderful  part

because you kill yourself for love.'

Bottom was very excited at the idea of the part he was to play.

'Excellent!' he cried. 'I'll be very good at it, I'm sure. I'll make the audience

cry at my sufferings, you can he sure of that.'

He thought for a moment.

'But  perhaps  I'd  be  better  as  a  king.'  he  said  thoughtfully.  'I  could  terrify

them if I had the part of an evil king!'

He ran up and down excitedly, waving his arms about and pulling strange

faces. He was trying to look strong and powerful, but he only looked ridiculous.

His friends were embarrassed by his silliness.

That was a bad king - not bad, eh!'

He  looked  at  his  friends  with  a  smile,  expecting  that  they  would

compliment  him  on  his  efforts.  No  one  said  anything.  Bottom  looked

disappointed. He thought his acting was wonderful.

'Let's  continue,  then,'  he  suggested  to  Quince.  'Now  tell  us  who  the  other

actors are.'

'The next is Flute,' Quince told them. He turned to Flute. 'You play the part

of Thisbe, the woman that Pyramus loves,' he explained.

'I don't want to play the part of a woman,' Flute complained. 'Besides. I'm

growing a beard - it'll be ridiculous!'

'Don't worry about that,' Quince reassured him. 'If you wear a mask, no one

will see your beard.'

'All right, then,' said Flute. 'If I can play the part that way. I don't mind.'

The  idea  of  wearing  a  mask  appealed  to  Bottom,  and  he  could  not  resist


'I  could  play  that  part  beautifully.  I  want  to  be  Thisbe,'  he  cried.  'Let  me

have the part of Thisbe!'

'No.' said Quince. 'You will play the part of Pyramus.'

Then  Quince  told  the  other  actors  which  parts  they  would  play.  After

telling everybody which part they would play, finally he turned to Snug.

'Your part's a good one, too,' he informed him. 'You will be the lion.'

'The lion?' Snug said anxiously. 'Is it a difficult part to play. Quince? Do I

have to remember many long speeches?'

'No, don't worry,' Quince reassured him, 'the lion's part is very simple. You

just enter and roar. It's very easy.'

Once again Bottom was delighted at the idea of playing the lion. It seemed

a much more wonderful part than his own. He interrupted the proceedings once


'Let me be the lion!' he cried. 'Oh, do let me be the lion, Quince! I could do

it  so  well,  I  would  roar  so  loudly  that  it  would  frighten  everybody  in  the


By now Quince was becoming quite impatient with Bottom.

'A  fine  thing  that  would  be,'  he  said  angrily.  'The  Duke  would  be  very

angry if we frightened all the ladies. We'd all get into a lot of trouble!'

'You're  right.'  Bottom  admitted  eagerly.  'But  I'd  play  the  part  of  the  lion

very gently. No one would be scared at all.'

'How many times must I tell you?' Quince said angrily. 'You're playing the

part of Pyramus. It's a lovely part.'

He paused for a moment. 'There is one other thing we need to do. We must

practise  our  play  in  a  quiet  place,  away  from  the  city.  Let's  go  into  the  wood

tomorrow night. We can practise there without being disturbed by anybody.'

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