Modern English A Midsummer Night’s Dream Ebook Sample
Act 1, Scene 2
Peter Quince, an Athenian carpenter, greeted his amateur acting company as they trouped into his workshop. Philostrate had announced to all Athens that a play would be performed in front of the Duke, on his wedding day, as part of the wedding celebrations. Any group of citizens could submit their idea and one would be chosen when the time came.
Quince surveyed his would-be actors. ‘Is all our company here?’ he said.
Nick Bottom was a weaver. He was thick-set, sturdy and rugged, and as enthusiastic as anyone could be about the art of acting. ‘It would be best to call the role, man by man, according to your list,’ he said.
Quince lifted a sheet of paper from his workbench. ‘This is the list of everyone in Athens thought fit to take part in the play to be performed before the Duke and the Duchess on their wedding day, at night,’ he said.
He was about to begin the roll-call when Bottom raised his hand. ‘First, good Peter Quince,’ he said, ‘say what the play’s about, then read the names of the actors, and so bring it to an end.’
‘Well, our play is “The sad comedy and cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe.”‘
Bottom nodded wisely at the assembled company. ‘A very good piece of work, I assure you,’ he said, ‘and very entertaining. Now, good Peter Quince, call the names out from your list. Gentlemen, spread yourselves out.’
Quince adjusted his spectacles and cleared his throat. ‘Answer as I call you,’ he said. ‘Nick Bottom, the weaver?'