Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Personal Tribute to William...

In honour of the Bard I thought I would share my favourite snippets from some of his plays.  Some of these words I have actually spoken myself when playing that particular role.  I'll leave you to guess which ones!

Fairy : Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
In the rehearsal room.
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Godfellow.  Are not you he…
Puck : Thou speak’st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likenes of a filly foal;
And sometimes lurk I in a gossip’s bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for a three-foot stool mistaketh me:
Then slip I from her and down topples she,
And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough:
And then the choir hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
                        A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2 Sc 1

On Stage

Portia : The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.  It is twice blest :
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes...
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
                        The Merchant of Venice Act 4 Sc 1 

Polonius : Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all – to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

                        Hamlet Act 1 Sc 3

Dunsinane perhaps?
Son :  If he were dead, you’ld weep for him : if you would not it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
Lady MacDuff : Poor prattler, how thou talk’st!...
…Wither should I fly?
I have done no harm.  But I remember now
I am in this earthly world : where to do harm
Is often laudable, to do good sometime
Accounted dangerous folly.  Why then, alas,
Do I put up that womanly defence,
To say I have done no harm?

                        Macbeth Act 4 Sc 2


  1. I'm guessing you haven't played Polonius. Am I right?

  2. Err...Yes and No. No, I haven't played that role in full costume and make-up in a staged production but I have spoken those words in a 'Shakespeare Review' that I took part in, for one performance only, a while ago. And playing men's roles? That's nothing new or different to me! At an all girl's school somebody has to take the hit!