Plays

We have considered how some of Shakepeare’s plays would be in lockdown



TAMING OF THE SHREW

ACT 1. A room in Katherine’s house
and a room in Petruchio’s house


Enter KATHERINE and PETRUCHIO to their respective rooms

Alarums and errors

KATHERINE

Why Sir, I trust I may have leave to speak,
Even to the utmost, though I need a leak.

PETRUCHIO

Her lips doth move, her hand raise in salute
And yet there’s naught I hear – she is on mute.
Curtain

THE TEMPEST

ACT 1. On a ship at sea, whereat GONZALO and MARINERS, and at the shore, whereat PROSPERO and MIRANDA

GONZALO

While wills above be done, let death be dry.
What is that land which from our ship is seen?
PROSPERO (to Miranda)

The waters wild I made, and you know why;
If they land here, they’re stuck in quarantine.

The End

OTHELLO

ACT 1. In OTHELLO’S Chamber.
Enter OTHELLO, apparently alone.

OTHELLO
There’s none allowed in here, of that I’m certain.
And so I plunge my knife right through the curtain

To check we’re clear – oh, see, my dagger slid
And sliced through cloth and this chap who was hid.

Curtain (another one)

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

I clicked the mouse and hoped to have a greeting.
Has organiser failed to launch the meeting?

KING LEAR

ACT 1. In the offices of GONERIL, REGAN and CORDELIA

GONERIL

Which one of us can call? You know the rule.

REGAN

There’s only one allowed with that old fool.

CORDELIA

One daughter only meets within his bubble?

GONERIL

You go then, sis, for us, he’s too much trouble.

Curtain

TWELFTH NIGHT

ACT 1. At the Court of Count ORSINO

Enter ORSINO and MALVOLIO

ORSINO

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting
The Spotify may sicken and so die;
We’ll have the Daily Briefing by and by.

MALVOLIO

We’ll hear those vile statistics; nothing more.
And yet they plan to send more shock and awe.
The news we have today’s already shocking;
I think I’d better wear my yellow stocking.

Curtain

HENRY V

ACT 1 . An ANTECHAMBER in the KING’s PALACE

Enter KING HENRY and.
ARCHBISHOP OF CENTERBURTY is on zoom.

KING HENRY

Prepare the boats and make our way to France!

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

The ports are locked – you haven’t got a chance.

KING HENRY

Once more to the box sets, dear friends, once more.
What can we do at home within the law?

Curtain

HAMLET

ACT 1. The quayside

Enter POLONIUS and LAERTES.
HAMLET is hid.

POLONIUS

Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any quickly furloughed one the work.
Be thou attentive, but by all means distanced.
The friends thou hast, if they have zoom installed,
Save thou their contacts so you’ll call at will,
But do not dull thy wall with entertainment
Of each new-made, unchecked, Face Friend. Beware
Of entrance to a tweet-storm, but, being in
Share it, that the opposed may beware of thee.
For every one you follow, read their tweet;
Note each one’s rantings, but hold back your post.
Dress well above the waist, for that is seen;
But trousers matter not – they’re out of sight.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
As Lockdown day’s good credit’s lost that night.
This above all – your profile should be true,
So they will follow, and subscribe to you

HAMLET

He writeth to Laertes, not to me;
Forgot he that I was still in cc

Curtain

ROMEO AND JULIET

ACT 1. At Juliet’s balcony

Enter JULIET  to the balcony, with smartphone.
Enter MERCUTIO to the street below checking statistics.

MERCUTIO

Broad is the band

JULIET

Through which our words may flow.
I’m waiting here, wherefore art Romeo?

ROMEO

Provided I my details all to Zoom;
Becalmed am I within the Waiting Room.

JULIET (admits ROMEO)

Ah your sweet face! I never see your trousers.

ROMEO

The network fails!

MERCUTIO

And plague’s hit both your houses’

ZOOM

Before you go, we trust that you will rate us.

JULIET

The call hath died, be that its only status.

ROMEO

And frankly I’m more worried at our fate as
Our hospital’s run out of ventilators.

Curtain



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