Shakespeare: Playing for Laughs, by D. D. Delaney, is a sequel to Shakespeare After School, is a 45-minute educational entertainment featuring scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Merchant of Venice. High school custodians Rudy Mahoney and Flo Berry find themselves catapulted into new careers as a touring duo, their passion for Shakespeare now extended to the art of comedy as they go on the road. Interspersing their 45-minute performance with insightful dialogue about the scenes, including commentary on the art of comedy and tidbits of their own life wisdom, they provide an interactive entertainment, inviting members of the audience to the stage to participate. Approximately the length of a standard class, Shakespeare: Playing for Laughs can stand alone or, combined with Shakespeare After School, can serve as the second act of a full-length theatrical entertainment
From the Play
These hilarious people should be portrayed by character actors who will make them their own.
The Scene: This is best performed on a bare stage or at the front of a large classroom. The real show is with the performances, the costumes and the custodial props turned as if by magic, into Shakespearean paraphernalia.
Bottom (Rudy): God’s my life! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was…there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had… But a man is a patch’d fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballet of this dream. It shall be called ‘Bottom’s Dream,’ because it hath no Bottom.
(Exit Bottom. Enter Flo, dressed as Shepherd’s Son.)
Flo: Your secret’s out, Rudy Mahoney! We know all about you now!
Rudy: (From offstage) What? That I’m a jackass in disguise?
Flo: You said it, I didn’t.
Rudy: (Still off) Hey, I’m just an actor. I don’t write this stuff.
Flo: That’s no excuse. You couldn’t play it if your heart wasn’t in it.
Rudy: What’s that? The Flo Berry theory of acting?
Flo: It’s not a theory, it’s common sense. Good acting comes from the heart. Don’t you agree?
Rudy: (Entering, carrying Old Shepherd’S costume and barne basket) I identify with Bottom because he’s a lot like me.
Flo: Isn’t that what I just said?
Rudy: I mean, Bottom is a working man. I’m a working man. He aspires to be an artist. I aspire to be an artist.
Flo: Maybe that’s why Shakespeare has him turn into a jackass.
Rudy: To make fun of artists?
Flo: You can’t have comedy unless you’re making fun of something. Or someone.
Rudy: Now you mention it, I have a socially conscious friend who disapproves of humor. He never laughs or makes jokes. He says it’s a form of cruelty.
Flo: Maybe he’s right.