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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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TITANIA sleeps. Enter the clowns: BOTTOM, QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING
While TITANIA is asleep onstage, the clowns—BOTTOM, QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING—enter.

BOTTOM
Are we all met?
BOTTOM
Are we all here?

QUINCE
Pat, pat. And here’s a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house, and we will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.
QUINCE
Right on time. This is the perfect place to rehearse. This clearing will be the stage, and this hawthorn bush will be our dressing room. Let’s put on our play exactly as we’ll perform it for the duke.

BOTTOM
Peter Quince—
BOTTOM
Peter Quince—

QUINCE
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
QUINCE
What is it, jolly Bottom?

5
BOTTOM
There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself, which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?
BOTTOM
There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisbe that will never work. First of all, Pyramus has to take out a sword to kill himself, which the ladies in the audience won’t be able to stand. What should we do about that?

SNOUT
By 'r lakin, a parlous fear.
SNOUT
By God, that’s a real problem, it’s true.

STARVELING
I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
STARVELING
I think we’ll have to leave out all the killing, come to think of it.

BOTTOM
Not a whit. I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed. And for the more better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver. This will put them out of fear.
BOTTOM
Not at all! I’ve got a plan that will fix everything. Write me a prologue that I can recite to the audience before the play starts. I’ll tell them that we won’t hurt anyone with our swords, and that Pyramus isn’t really dead. And to make it even clearer, we can tell them that I’m playing Pyramus but I’m not really Pyramus—really, I’m Bottom the weaver. That’ll keep them from being afraid.

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