WORD WIZ - A Playlet by NS Murty

(One-Act Magic Realism Playlet)
N. S. Murty
Dramatis Personae

Old Man:          Who taught child Shakespeare all the stories which later become his literary corpus.
Boy 1               }
Boy 2               }           Children playing rugby who accidentally stumble upon the Oldman
Girl 1               }
Girl 2               }
                                    Shakespearean Characters and text 

Miranda:          } From The Tempest Act I Scene II
Prospero:         }

Polonius:          } From Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark Act I Scene III
Hamlet             }                                                               Act III Scene I

Romeo:            } From Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II
Juliet:               }

Portia:               } From The Merchant of Venice,  Act IV   Scene I
Arragon:           }                                                     Act II    Scene IX

King Lear         } From King Lear, Act IV Scene VI and Act V Scene III
Gloucester       }
Edgar               }

Brutus              } From Julius Caesar Act III Scene II

Sir John Falstaff} From King Henry IV, Act V Scene I

Cassandra        } From Troilus and Cressida, Act II, Scene II

And ………………Spirits, Ghosts, Apparitions, Witches, Fairies and their ilk.


(From the top branch of Muse
An eerie melody sweeps through ether
Matter springs to life for a while to amuse
And the spirit returns, saying it doesn’t matter)

A humble tribute to his master by a subject
On the eve of his 400th Death Anniversary

The Word Wiz
(Playlet)


(Note: All text in italics other than stage directions is Shakespearean)

When the curtain raises the fade out is on the memorial of Shakespeare. It will be in the typical Indian fashion: The bust of the bard in ruins sitting on a high platform, dusty and faded, wrapped in cobwebs and littered with bird droppings. The place looks dark, desolate and remote. Foot of the platform littered with dry leaves all over. The growth of bushes and the dust collecting over betray that it has been abandoned for long.

From afar children playing rugby, their cries, their calls, their shouts and hullaballoo is heard.

As the stage gets slowly illuminated an old man enters from one end of the stage and slowly passes by it.  He stops and looks at the statue for a while putting his hand over his eyes and then suddenly exclaims

Old man:    “Oh! Me! Gee god! What a curse!”…
(He dusts the statue passionately with his hands and his towel and cleans the surrounds plucking few plants from the neighbourhood.)
When I told you those myths and legends
They were just that.
But when you breathed life into ’em
On this Globe, they just walked into every home
God had summoned Light
But failed to keep his work intact.
Then came you, to complement his acquit,
It is no hyperbole, his whole, your ‘less’ dominate’.
His make withered… See you me?
While yours, walks free, steeple chasing time.
(Wind changes direction frequently putting to nought what he had done earlier. Then on one occasion he roars at it)
“You element! Are you in your elements?
Know you what you have been doing?
Rage as you wish elsewhere.
But here, weave as gentle not to move a feather
The Bard is resting here under.
Might be scripting a tale or two to the new audiences.”
(The wind ceases. As he resumes his work, children playing rugby enter chasing a ball that has come off-the-stage. The ball hits the old man. All of them halt and put on faces of regret. One of the boys comes forward.)

Boy1:         We are so very sorry. It was an accident.
Our playfulness over ran our propriety.
But Sir! What are you doing at this forlorn place?

Old man:    It’s Easter today
But it seems it was only yesterday.
I was sitting under that tree
When youth of your age used to flock around me
Pestering to tell them a tale each day.

Girl1:          Oh!  Then I get you. You’re the famed story teller.
My granny tells many stories about you.
Where have you been all along?
Why don’t you sing us that “All the world is a stage…”

Boy 2         (to other boys)                      Boys! It’s quits for the game.
(With the old man)                Tell us some stories.
All              Yes, we want to hear some stories.
(In chorus):    It was long since we heard any story.
Boy 2:        No, but first that song.
Old man:    Music and tales are so close to your heart, I know.
But tell me do you want the song or the tale first.
All:             We want the song first.
(Old man sings the song ‘All the world is a stage…’
As he begins the song, fade out will be on him.)
(As he sings the song characters from his plays come one after another and enact the seven stages of life.  The stage is divided between the old man and the characters and the focus will be alternating between them. When the old man sings the line “…at first an infant, mewing and puking in the nurse’s arms…”   The scene from The Tempest Act I Scene II is enacted when Prospero speaks to Miranda)
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are players;
They have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts, the acts being seven ages.
At first the infant, mewing and puking in the nurse’s arms….
 (A howling of Tempest precedes the entry of characters)
“Miranda: “(Father!)
You have often
Begun to tell me what I am; but stopped,
And left me to a bootless inquisition,
Concluding, ‘stay: not yet.’
Prospero:   (Miranda!)
The hour’s now come;
The very minute bids thee open thine ear;
Obey, and be attentive.  Canst thou remember
A time before we came unto this cell?
I do not think thou canst, for then thou was not
Out three years old.
Miranda:   Certainly, sir, I can.
Prospero:  By what? By any other house, or person?
Of anything the image tell me, that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
Miranda:    ‘Tis far off;
And rather like a dream, than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants.  Had I not
Four or five women once, that tended me?
Pros:         Thou hadst, and more, Miranda.  But how is it
That this lives in thy mind?  What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou remember’st aught, ere thou cam’st here,
How thou cam’st here, thou may’st.
Miranda:   But that I do not.
Prospero:  Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since
Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and
A prince of power.
Miranda:   Sir, are not you my father?
Prospero:  Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was Duke of Milan, and his only heir
A princess; no worse issued.
Miranda:   O, the heavens!
What foul play had we that we came from thence?
Or blessed wasn’t we did?
Prospero:   Both, both, my girl:
By foul play, as thou say’st, we were heaved
Thence;
But blessedly holp hither.
Miranda:   My heart bleeds
To think of the teen that I have turned you to,
Which is from my remembrance.

[Focus shifts back to the old man. As he sings: ‘ then the whining school boy, with his satchel, and shining morning face, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school’ ………. the scene from  The Hamlet Act I scene III is enacted where Polonius gives advice to his son Laertes:]

“Polonius: Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard, for the shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing
With thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to your soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade.  Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear‘t that the opposed may beware of these.
Give everyman thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and a friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all; to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!”

Old man      Sings
(As he sings “And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow” the scene from Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II is enacted where Romeo speaks to Juliet by her window)
“Romeo:    By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am;
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear that word.
Juliet:        My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue’s utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?
Romeo:      Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.
Juliet:        How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb;
And the place death, considering who thou art,
Of any of my kinsman find thee here.
Romeo:      With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
And therefore your kinsmen are no stop to me.
Juliet:        If they do see they will murder thee.
Romeo:       Alack! There lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords; look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity
Juliet:        I would not for the world they saw thee here,
Romeo:       I have night’s cloak to hide from their eyes;
And but thou love me, let them find me here;
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.”
Old man:    Sings
As he sings “then a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like a pard, jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the babble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth” the scene from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene IX when the prince of Arragon makes his bid to select the right casket is enacted:  Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Arragon, Portia, with their retinue.)

“Portia:     Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince,
If you choose wherein I am contain’d,
Straight our nuptial rights shall be solemnised;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.
Arr.            I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things;
First, never to unfold to any one
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage;
Lastly,
If I do fail in the fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.
Portia:        To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
Arr:           And so have I address’d me.  Fortune now
To my heart’s hope!  Gold; Silver; and base Lead.
Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath:
You shall look fairer, ere I give or hazard
What says the golden chest? Ha! Let me see;
Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.
What many men desire! That ‘many’ may be meant
By the fool multitude, that chose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not the interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and the road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men will desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank myself with barbarous multitudes.
Why then to thee, thy silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
Who chooseth me gets as much as he deserves
And well said too; for who shall go about
To cozen fortune and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit?  Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
O! That estates, degrees, and offices
Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer.
How many then should cover that stand bare;
How many be commanded that command;
How much low peasantry would then be glean’d
From the true seed of honour; and how much honour
Pick’d from the chaff and ruin of the times
To be new-varnish’d!  Well, but to my choice:
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.
I will assume desert.  Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortune here. (He opens the silver casket)
Portia:       Too long a pause for what you find there.
Arr:            What’s here? The portrait of a blinking idiot,
Presenting me a schedule!  I will read it.
How much unlike thou art to Portia!
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.
Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?
Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?”

Old man:    Sings…
(As he sings “And then the justice, in fair round belly with capon lined, with eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so he plays his part” The scene from First part of King Henry IV Act V scene I is enacted when the prince, King Henry, and others prepare for war.  Sir John Falstaff   enters the stage after the following conversation:

(Off the stage)
“King:        and, Prince of Wales, so dare we venture thee,
Albeit considerations infinite
Do make it against it. No, good Worcester, no,
We love our people well; even those we love
That are misled upon your cousin’s part;
And will they take the offer of our grace,
Both he and they and you, yea, every man
Shall be my friend again, and I will be his.
So tell your cousin, and bring me word
What he will do; but if he will not yield,
Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,
And they shall do their office.  So be gone:
We will not now be troubled with reply;
We offer fair, take it advisedly.
Prince:      It will not be accepted, on my life.
The Douglas and Hotspur both together
Are confident against the world in arms.
King:         Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge;
For, on their answer, will we set on them;
And God befriend us, as our case is just!
Falstaff:     Hal, if thou see me down in the battle,
And bestride me, so ‘tis a point of friendship.
Prince:      Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship.
Say thy prayers, and farewell.
Falstaff:     I would it were bedtime, Hal, and all well.
Prince:       Why, thou owest God a death.”

(Falstaff enters fore stage)

Falstaff:     ‘Tis not due yet:  I would be loath to pay him before
His day.  What need I be so forward with him that calls not
On me?  Well,‘tis no matter; honour pricks me on.  Yea,
But how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then?
Can honour set to a leg?  No.  Or an arm?  No.  Or take
Away the grief of the wound?  No.  Honour hath no skill in
Surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that
Word honour?  Air.  A trim reckoning!  Who hath it?  He that
Died o’ Wednesday.  Doth he feel it?  No.  Doth he hear it?
No.  Is it insensible then?  Yes, to the dead. But will it not
Live with the living?  No.  Why?  Detraction will not suffer it.
Therefore I’ll none of it.  Honour is a mere scutcheon; and so
Ends my catechism.”

Old man:     Sings:
(As he sings “The sixth stage shifts into the lean and  slipper’d pantaloon, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well saved, a world too wide for his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, turning again toward childish tremble, pipes and whistles in his sounds. the following scene from King Lear Act IV Scene VI is enacted:
“Lear:        No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the king myself.
Edgar:        O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear:          Nature’s above art in that respect.
There’s your press-money.  That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper:
draw me a clothier’s yard.  Look, look! a mouse. 
Peace, peace! this piece of toasted cheese will do’t.
There’s my gauntlet; I will prove it on a giant. 
Bring up the brown bills.  O! well flown, bird;
i’ the clout, i’ the clout:  hewgh! Give the word.
Edgar:        Sweet marjoram.
Lear:          Pass.
Glou.          I know that voice.
Lear.           Ha! Goneril, with a white beard!  They flattered me like a dog, and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there.  To say ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to everything I said!  ‘Ay’ and ‘no’ too was no good divinity.  When the rain came to wet me once and the wind to make me chatter, when the thunder would not peace at my bidding, there I found ’em , there I smelt ’em out.  Go to, they are not men o’ their words: they told me I was everything;‘t is a lie, I am not ague-proof.
Glou.          The trick of the voice I do well remember: Is’t not the king?
Lear.          Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man’s life.  What was thy cause? Adultery?
Thou shall not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to‘t, and the small guilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Glouster’s bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got ‘tween the lawful sheets.
To‘t, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure’s name;
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to‘t
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs.
Though women all above:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend’s:
There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie!
Pah! pah! give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary,
To sweeten my imagination: there’s money for thee.
Glou.          O! Let me kiss that hand.
Lear            Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.
Glou.          O ruin’d piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to nought.  Dost thou know me?
Lear.           I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou sqiny at me?
No, do thy worst, blind cupid; I will not love.  Read thou this
Challenge; mark but the penning of it.
Glou.          Were all thy letters suns, I could not see.
Edgar.        (Aside): I would not take this from report; it is,
And my heart breaks at it.
Lear.          Read.
Glou.         What! with the case of eyes?
Lear            O, ho! Are you there with me? No eyes in your head,
Nor no money in your purse?  Your eyes are in a heavy case,
Our purse in a light: yet you see how this world goes.
Glou.          I see it feelingly.
Lear           What! Art mad? A man may see how the world goes
With no eyes.  Look with thine ears: see how yond justice
Rails upon yond simple thief.  Hark, in thine ear: change
Places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the
Thief?  Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?
Glou.          Ay, sir.
Lear           And the creature run from the cur?
There you might’st behold the great image of authority;
A dog’s obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter’d clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr’d gowns hide all.  Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags; a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I‘ll able ’em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser’s lips.  Get thee glass eyes;
And like scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.  Now, now, now, now;
Pull off my boots; harder, harder; so.
Edgar.        (Aside) O! Matter and impertinency mix’d; Reason in madness.
Lear           If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes;
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester;
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither;
Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry.  I will preach to thee: mark.
Glou.         Alack, alack the day!
Lear          Wwhen we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools.  This a good block!
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt; I‘ll put‘t in proof,
And when I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
Enter a Gentleman, with attendants.
Gent.          O! Here he is;  lay hand upon him.
Sir, your most dear daughter—
Lear            No rescue? What!  a prisoner? I am even the natural fool
Of fortune.  Use me well; you shall have ransom.
Let me have surgeons; I am cut to the brains.
Gent.          You shall have anything.
Lear            No seconds? all myself?
Why this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots
Ay, and laying autumn’s dust.
Gent.          Good sir,–
Lear:               I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom.  What!
I will be jovial; come, come; I am the king,
My masters, know you that?
Gent.          You are a royal one, and we obey you.
Lear            Then there’s life in‘t.  Nay, an you get it,
You shall get it by running.  Sa, sa, sa, sa.  (Exit: Lear)”

Old man     Sings:
(As he sings “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything” the scene from King Lear Act V Scene III is enacted:

“Lear:          (With Cordelia in his arms)
Howl, howl, howl, howl!  O!  You are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heavens vault should crack.  She’s gone for ever.
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She’s dead as earth.  Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
This feather stirs; she lives! If it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt
A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have saved her; now she’s gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia! Stay a little.  Ha!
What is’t though say’st!  Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle and low, an excellent thing in the woman.
I kill’d the slave that was a-hanging thee.
Did not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip; I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.
Mine eyes are not o' the best: I'll tell you straight.
And my poor fool is hang’d ! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all?  Thou’lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you undo this button; thank you, sir
Do you see this?  Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there!                            (Dies)

The focus shifts back to the old man

Boy1          Wah! Wah!
Boy2          Excellent!  Excellent!  Your song is excellent!
Old man:    But it is not mine.  It is his (pointing to the statue)
Who made all this world his stage,
All languages, tongues, and dialects his liege,
And nature which was so proud of its prowess
In creating characters at its will and fancy
Was still blinking its eyes in wonder at a Portia,
A Cordelia, a Juliet, an Ophelia or a Lucrece.
When his villains speak, they echo every man in no man
And when his heroes act, they seem down to earth.
The gamut of his writing is not to blare his genius
But to sum up: we differ merely from barriers without
When he wrought passions, they were neither random
Nor were they native to a soil, race or colour.
He chartered the scape of whole human emotions
And collected every single spec worth its name
Only to reflect like a faithful looking glass
For men to look-in, peruse, amend, and rejoice.
He never takes sides with good or evil
Nor hies behind his rolls just to preach a sermon
He bares the human contradictions, dilemmas, and disciplines
Without a hint of contrivance, from a natural flow of events.
We wail, we laugh, we play, get hurt, and simper
As he conjures up events from our very life
As the emotion dissipates it leaves no stains
But a sweet lingering aroma lasting our life time.
Boy1          What is his name?
Old man:    Didn’t you ever hear any stories
From your grannies at the fire place?
Boy2          My grand pa was the best story teller.
He would spin a story in a trice.
Girl1          My grand ma was even better.
Never was her story treasure empty.
Girl2          My mother tells me a story at bedtime
But she never repeats herself any time
Did you ever hear about the merchant
Who pawned himself for his friend’s love?
Boy1          Do you know about the king
Who tested the loyalties of his offspring?
Girl1          That is a household story
But have you ever heard how to tame a shrew?
Boy2          My grandsire tells exotic stories
About dreams, fantasies and what not.
All              (Simultaneously):  My grand pa is great,
No, my granny is great
No, my mother is great,
No my grandsire is great.
Old man:    But do you know where they got these stories from?
Boy2:         O, I forgot. Was it Shake…. Something?
Old man:    Say it properly.  William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

(Enter a soldier)

Soldier:      Why spoil their youth with fiction and fancy tales?
Tell them about history, about war and bravery.
Old man:    Brave soldier! Good luck to thee.
But fiction is no easy meat to cook, prithee
True. You must wage war
Against no-law, no-custom, and no-scruple.
But if wars, laws and vengeance
Could discipline, chastise and correct people
We wouldn’t have had these any more.
Good and evil, the hemispheres of character
Wax and wane, by turns, at one another’s expense.
Fiction gives vent to the heroics within
And resurrects to life the springs drying up in psyche.
History is a recipe, a decocture from the past
Filtering fact from fiction, take whit by whit.
It is a lamp, not the spade that helps clear your way
And our duty is just that, ‘fore we pass away.
Soldier:      Might be so.   But, I fear your fiction
Dries up the heroics at that.
Reason, no doubt, seasons our emotion
But an excess of it inhibits our action.
Fancy is a flight, no one wants to get down
The wings of crazy ideas and exotic things
The world looks oblong, flat and perplexing.
History, on the contrary, is a record of our kin
Our lives, a reliving of theirs, events scattered though.
We make the same mistakes, feel same passions
Witness mutely the events...  momentary and momentous
Silly and serious, brazen and civil, timorous and trepid
We inherit their fate and fortunes alike.
Old man:    So, by consequence,
History and fiction stand on the same pedestal.
Soldier:      But with some knowledge and the will to work our way,
We can steer thro’ rough waters to possible safer shores.
Old man:    Isn’t life’s mirth or misery a chance?
Soldier:      Doesn’t bravery take the seat of chance?
If the world were surfeit of geniuses and giants
Wouldn’t actions end before they incubate in mind?
Action is the spice of thought
And if it were absent, life reduces to inanimate.
History whets action by comparison.
Old man:    Life imagined through history is fancy.
But fiction nearer to life is history.
I sow these seminal minds
With the viable seeds of fiction
That when they are up against a Brutus
They play Mark Antony
And when they are up against Hotspurs
They play the Henries.
Children:    But we want to hear the tales you said you told him
(They point towards the statue)
Old man:    Didn’t you hear the legend
That he who touches his quill
Shall see before him, his matter, making a drill
Girl1          Then let me chance to touch it first
To see in me the best or the worst.
(She attempts to touch the quill and there will be a sudden flourish and the whole stage becomes dark.  Slowly the right stage gets illuminated and the following scene from Troilus and Cressida, Act II Scene 2 will be enacted where Cassandra, a prophetess, comes running on to the stage)
Cassandra:  “Cry, Trojans, cry! Lend me ten thousand eyes.
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Add to my clamours! Let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry! Practise your eye with tears!
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
Our fire brand brother, Paris, burn us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry!  A Helen and a woe!
Cry, cry! Troy burns, or let Helen go. (Exit)”

Left stage gets illuminated and the girl asks in all innocence

Girl1           What does it mean?
Old man:    Baby, you are!  Innocent to the core.
As elements play their role,
They please and frighten your soul.
You see things that others can’t think
And when you prophesise the world takes no wink
Boy1          Let me try then.
(There will be a sudden flourish and the whole stage becomes dark.  Slowly the right stage gets illuminated and the following scene from Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, Act III Scene 1 is enacted where Hamlet, the prince comes on to the stage)
Hamlet:      “To be, or not to be: that is the question;
Whether‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to takes arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?  To die:  to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartaches and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d, To die, to sleep;
To sleep; perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sdeleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.  There’s the respect
That makes calamity or so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
The patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bare those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and movement
With this regard there currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action --Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

As the left stage gets illuminated back
Boy1          (to Old man):  What does it mean?
Old man:    It means you become a philosophic dialectic
And often your action is impeded by your logic.
Girl2:         (touches the quillafter a flourish the scene from Merchant of Venice Act IV Scene 1 is enacted:

“Portia:     The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But the mercy is above this sceptred sway
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
An earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.  Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,
And that the same player doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

And when the light are restored to the left stage the old man looks at Girl2 and says:

Old man:    Honey!  It means you love fair play
As naturally as a bee honey.
As Boy2 touches the quill there will be flourish and the following from Julius Caeser Act III Scene 2 when Brutus tries to defend his action is enacted:
Brutus:     Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers!
hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear:
believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour,
that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom,
and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caeser’s,
to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caeser was no less than his.
If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caeser,
this is my answer:
Not that I loved Caeser less, but I loved Rome more.
Had you rather Caeser were living, and die all slaves,
than that the Caeser were dead, to live all free men?
As Caeser loved me, I weep for him; as he
was fortunate, I rejoice at it;
as he was valiant, I honour him;
but as he was ambitious, I slew him.
There is tears for his love;
joy for his fortune;
honour for his valour;
and death for his ambition.
Who is here so base, that he
would be a bondman?
If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman?
If any, speak. for him have I offended.
Who is here so vile, that will not love his country?
If any, speak; for him have I offended.
I pause for a reply.

(Behind the stage)

Chorus: None, Brutus, none.

Brutus:       Then none have I offended.
I have done no more to Caeser
than you shall do to Brutus.
The question of his death
was enrolled in the capitol;
his glory not extenuated,
wherein he was worthy,
nor his offences enforced, for which
he suffered death.

{Enter Antony and others, with Caeser’s body}

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony:
Who, though he had no hand in his death,
shall receive the benefit of his dying,
a place in the commonwealth;
as which of you shall not?
With this I depart:
that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome,
I have the same dagger for myself,
when it shall please my country to need my death.”

Old man:   (With Boy 2) It means you are valiant and a good speaker too
You can convince your detractors, as your supporters,
With ease.  But if you don’t permit passion to overcome you,
You will not regret your action as Brutus did.

(Behind the stage: voices of ghosts sprits and apparitions)

Chorus:      What about us?
We wafted in air ‘fore he was born
And came to life donning mantles under his pen.
We had our second lives,
When we played, danced when bestowed rare powers,
And as he met his elements,
So were we restored
Give us a chance to say our thanks
To leave our shadows along with his images.
(All the ghosts, spirits and apparitions come to the fore stage and mingle with the characters already appeared, and all of them sing in unison.  Spirits, ghosts and apparitions stand one side and other characters stand the other side to start with)




Song:
(Characters):
He gave us birth
He gave us breath
He gave us mirth and mantle
Spirits:       (Pointing the statue)
He gave us birth
He gave us breath
He gave us mirth and mantle
Characters: He gave us life
He made us fife
And bade us hustle and hassle
Spirits        He blessed us lifeDramatis Personae

Old Man:          Who taught child Shakespeare all the stories which later become his literary corpus.
Boy 1               }
Boy 2               }           Children playing rugby who accidentally stumble upon the Oldman
Girl 1               }
Girl 2               }
                                    Shakespearean Characters and text 

Miranda:          } From The Tempest Act I Scene II
Prospero:         }

Polonius:          } From Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark Act I Scene III
Hamlet             }                                                               Act III Scene I

Romeo:            } From Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II
Juliet:               }

Portia:               } From The Merchant of Venice,  Act IV   Scene I
Arragon:           }                                                     Act II    Scene IX

King Lear         } From King Lear, Act IV Scene VI and Act V Scene III
Gloucester       }
Edgar               }

Brutus              } From Julius Caesar Act III Scene II

Sir John Falstaff} From King Henry IV, Act V Scene I

Cassandra        } From Troilus and Cressida, Act II, Scene II

And ………………Spirits, Ghosts, Apparitions, Witches, Fairies and their ilk.



(From the top branch of Muse
An eerie melody sweeps through ether
Matter springs to life for a while to amuse
And the spirit returns, saying it doesn’t matter)

A humble tribute to his master by a subject
On the eve of his 400th Death Anniversary

The Word Wiz
(Playlet)


(Note: All text in italics other than stage directions is Shakespearean)

When the curtain raises the fade out is on the memorial of Shakespeare. It will be in the typical Indian fashion: The bust of the bard in ruins sitting on a high platform, dusty and faded, wrapped in cobwebs and littered with bird droppings. The place looks dark, desolate and remote. Foot of the platform littered with dry leaves all over. The growth of bushes and the dust collecting over betray that it has been abandoned for long.

From afar children playing rugby, their cries, their calls, their shouts and hullaballoo is heard.

As the stage gets slowly illuminated an old man enters from one end of the stage and slowly passes by it.  He stops and looks at the statue for a while putting his hand over his eyes and then suddenly exclaims

Old man:    “Oh! Me! Gee god! What a curse!”…
(He dusts the statue passionately with his hands and his towel and cleans the surrounds plucking few plants from the neighbourhood.)
When I told you those myths and legends
They were just that.
But when you breathed life into ’em
On this Globe, they just walked into every home
God had summoned Light
But failed to keep his work intact.
Then came you, to complement his acquit,
It is no hyperbole, his whole, your ‘less’ dominate’.
His make withered… See you me?
While yours, walks free, steeple chasing time.
(Wind changes direction frequently putting to nought what he had done earlier. Then on one occasion he roars at it)
“You element! Are you in your elements?
Know you what you have been doing?
Rage as you wish elsewhere.
But here, weave as gentle not to move a feather
The Bard is resting here under.
Might be scripting a tale or two to the new audiences.”
(The wind ceases. As he resumes his work, children playing rugby enter chasing a ball that has come off-the-stage. The ball hits the old man. All of them halt and put on faces of regret. One of the boys comes forward.)

Boy1:         We are so very sorry. It was an accident.
Our playfulness over ran our propriety.
But Sir! What are you doing at this forlorn place?

Old man:    It’s Easter today
But it seems it was only yesterday.
I was sitting under that tree
When youth of your age used to flock around me
Pestering to tell them a tale each day.

Girl1:          Oh!  Then I get you. You’re the famed story teller.
My granny tells many stories about you.
Where have you been all along?
Why don’t you sing us that “All the world is a stage…”

Boy 2         (to other boys)                      Boys! It’s quits for the game.
(With the old man)                Tell us some stories.
All              Yes, we want to hear some stories.
(In chorus):    It was long since we heard any story.
Boy 2:        No, but first that song.
Old man:    Music and tales are so close to your heart, I know.
But tell me do you want the song or the tale first.
All:             We want the song first.
(Old man sings the song ‘All the world is a stage…’
As he begins the song, fade out will be on him.)
(As he sings the song characters from his plays come one after another and enact the seven stages of life.  The stage is divided between the old man and the characters and the focus will be alternating between them. When the old man sings the line “…at first an infant, mewing and puking in the nurse’s arms…”   The scene from The Tempest Act I Scene II is enacted when Prospero speaks to Miranda)
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are players;
They have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts, the acts being seven ages.
At first the infant, mewing and puking in the nurse’s arms….
 (A howling of Tempest precedes the entry of characters)
“Miranda: “(Father!)
You have often
Begun to tell me what I am; but stopped,
And left me to a bootless inquisition,
Concluding, ‘stay: not yet.’
Prospero:   (Miranda!)
The hour’s now come;
The very minute bids thee open thine ear;
Obey, and be attentive.  Canst thou remember
A time before we came unto this cell?
I do not think thou canst, for then thou was not
Out three years old.
Miranda:   Certainly, sir, I can.
Prospero:  By what? By any other house, or person?
Of anything the image tell me, that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
Miranda:    ‘Tis far off;
And rather like a dream, than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants.  Had I not
Four or five women once, that tended me?
Pros:         Thou hadst, and more, Miranda.  But how is it
That this lives in thy mind?  What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou remember’st aught, ere thou cam’st here,
How thou cam’st here, thou may’st.
Miranda:   But that I do not.
Prospero:  Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since
Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and
A prince of power.
Miranda:   Sir, are not you my father?
Prospero:  Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was Duke of Milan, and his only heir
A princess; no worse issued.
Miranda:   O, the heavens!
What foul play had we that we came from thence?
Or blessed wasn’t we did?
Prospero:   Both, both, my girl:
By foul play, as thou say’st, we were heaved
Thence;
But blessedly holp hither.
Miranda:   My heart bleeds
To think of the teen that I have turned you to,
Which is from my remembrance.

[Focus shifts back to the old man. As he sings: ‘ then the whining school boy, with his satchel, and shining morning face, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school’ ………. the scene from  The Hamlet Act I scene III is enacted where Polonius gives advice to his son Laertes:]

“Polonius: Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard, for the shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing
With thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to your soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade.  Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear‘t that the opposed may beware of these.
Give everyman thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and a friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all; to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!”

Old man      Sings
(As he sings “And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow” the scene from Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II is enacted where Romeo speaks to Juliet by her window)
“Romeo:    By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am;
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear that word.
Juliet:        My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue’s utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?
Romeo:      Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.
Juliet:        How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb;
And the place death, considering who thou art,
Of any of my kinsman find thee here.
Romeo:      With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
And therefore your kinsmen are no stop to me.
Juliet:        If they do see they will murder thee.
Romeo:       Alack! There lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords; look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity
Juliet:        I would not for the world they saw thee here,
Romeo:       I have night’s cloak to hide from their eyes;
And but thou love me, let them find me here;
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.”
Old man:    Sings
As he sings “then a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like a pard, jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the babble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth” the scene from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene IX when the prince of Arragon makes his bid to select the right casket is enacted:  Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Arragon, Portia, with their retinue.)

“Portia:     Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince,
If you choose wherein I am contain’d,
Straight our nuptial rights shall be solemnised;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.
Arr.            I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things;
First, never to unfold to any one
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage;
Lastly,
If I do fail in the fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.
Portia:        To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
Arr:           And so have I address’d me.  Fortune now
To my heart’s hope!  Gold; Silver; and base Lead.
Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath:
You shall look fairer, ere I give or hazard
What says the golden chest? Ha! Let me see;
Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.
What many men desire! That ‘many’ may be meant
By the fool multitude, that chose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not the interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and the road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men will desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank myself with barbarous multitudes.
Why then to thee, thy silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
Who chooseth me gets as much as he deserves
And well said too; for who shall go about
To cozen fortune and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit?  Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
O! That estates, degrees, and offices
Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer.
How many then should cover that stand bare;
How many be commanded that command;
How much low peasantry would then be glean’d
From the true seed of honour; and how much honour
Pick’d from the chaff and ruin of the times
To be new-varnish’d!  Well, but to my choice:
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.
I will assume desert.  Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortune here. (He opens the silver casket)
Portia:       Too long a pause for what you find there.
Arr:            What’s here? The portrait of a blinking idiot,
Presenting me a schedule!  I will read it.
How much unlike thou art to Portia!
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.
Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?
Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?”

Old man:    Sings…
(As he sings “And then the justice, in fair round belly with capon lined, with eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so he plays his part” The scene from First part of King Henry IV Act V scene I is enacted when the prince, King Henry, and others prepare for war.  Sir John Falstaff   enters the stage after the following conversation:

(Off the stage)
“King:        and, Prince of Wales, so dare we venture thee,
Albeit considerations infinite
Do make it against it. No, good Worcester, no,
We love our people well; even those we love
That are misled upon your cousin’s part;
And will they take the offer of our grace,
Both he and they and you, yea, every man
Shall be my friend again, and I will be his.
So tell your cousin, and bring me word
What he will do; but if he will not yield,
Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,
And they shall do their office.  So be gone:
We will not now be troubled with reply;
We offer fair, take it advisedly.
Prince:      It will not be accepted, on my life.
The Douglas and Hotspur both together
Are confident against the world in arms.
King:         Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge;
For, on their answer, will we set on them;
And God befriend us, as our case is just!
Falstaff:     Hal, if thou see me down in the battle,
And bestride me, so ‘tis a point of friendship.
Prince:      Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship.
Say thy prayers, and farewell.
Falstaff:     I would it were bedtime, Hal, and all well.
Prince:       Why, thou owest God a death.”

(Falstaff enters fore stage)

Falstaff:     ‘Tis not due yet:  I would be loath to pay him before
His day.  What need I be so forward with him that calls not
On me?  Well,‘tis no matter; honour pricks me on.  Yea,
But how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then?
Can honour set to a leg?  No.  Or an arm?  No.  Or take
Away the grief of the wound?  No.  Honour hath no skill in
Surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that
Word honour?  Air.  A trim reckoning!  Who hath it?  He that
Died o’ Wednesday.  Doth he feel it?  No.  Doth he hear it?
No.  Is it insensible then?  Yes, to the dead. But will it not
Live with the living?  No.  Why?  Detraction will not suffer it.
Therefore I’ll none of it.  Honour is a mere scutcheon; and so
Ends my catechism.”

Old man:     Sings:
(As he sings “The sixth stage shifts into the lean and  slipper’d pantaloon, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well saved, a world too wide for his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, turning again toward childish tremble, pipes and whistles in his sounds. the following scene from King Lear Act IV Scene VI is enacted:
“Lear:        No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the king myself.
Edgar:        O thou side-piercing sight!
Lear:          Nature’s above art in that respect.
There’s your press-money.  That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper:
draw me a clothier’s yard.  Look, look! a mouse. 
Peace, peace! this piece of toasted cheese will do’t.
There’s my gauntlet; I will prove it on a giant. 
Bring up the brown bills.  O! well flown, bird;
i’ the clout, i’ the clout:  hewgh! Give the word.
Edgar:        Sweet marjoram.
Lear:          Pass.
Glou.          I know that voice.
Lear.           Ha! Goneril, with a white beard!  They flattered me like a dog, and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there.  To say ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to everything I said!  ‘Ay’ and ‘no’ too was no good divinity.  When the rain came to wet me once and the wind to make me chatter, when the thunder would not peace at my bidding, there I found ’em , there I smelt ’em out.  Go to, they are not men o’ their words: they told me I was everything;‘t is a lie, I am not ague-proof.
Glou.          The trick of the voice I do well remember: Is’t not the king?
Lear.          Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man’s life.  What was thy cause? Adultery?
Thou shall not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to‘t, and the small guilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Glouster’s bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got ‘tween the lawful sheets.
To‘t, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure’s name;
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to‘t
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs.
Though women all above:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend’s:
There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie!
Pah! pah! give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary,
To sweeten my imagination: there’s money for thee.
Glou.          O! Let me kiss that hand.
Lear            Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.
Glou.          O ruin’d piece of nature! This great world
Shall so wear out to nought.  Dost thou know me?
Lear.           I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou sqiny at me?
No, do thy worst, blind cupid; I will not love.  Read thou this
Challenge; mark but the penning of it.
Glou.          Were all thy letters suns, I could not see.
Edgar.        (Aside): I would not take this from report; it is,
And my heart breaks at it.
Lear.          Read.
Glou.         What! with the case of eyes?
Lear            O, ho! Are you there with me? No eyes in your head,
Nor no money in your purse?  Your eyes are in a heavy case,
Our purse in a light: yet you see how this world goes.
Glou.          I see it feelingly.
Lear           What! Art mad? A man may see how the world goes
With no eyes.  Look with thine ears: see how yond justice
Rails upon yond simple thief.  Hark, in thine ear: change
Places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the
Thief?  Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?
Glou.          Ay, sir.
Lear           And the creature run from the cur?
There you might’st behold the great image of authority;
A dog’s obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter’d clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr’d gowns hide all.  Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags; a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I‘ll able ’em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser’s lips.  Get thee glass eyes;
And like scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.  Now, now, now, now;
Pull off my boots; harder, harder; so.
Edgar.        (Aside) O! Matter and impertinency mix’d; Reason in madness.
Lear           If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes;
I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester;
Thou must be patient; we came crying hither;
Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air
We wawl and cry.  I will preach to thee: mark.
Glou.         Alack, alack the day!
Lear          Wwhen we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools.  This a good block!
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt; I‘ll put‘t in proof,
And when I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
Enter a Gentleman, with attendants.
Gent.          O! Here he is;  lay hand upon him.
Sir, your most dear daughter—
Lear            No rescue? What!  a prisoner? I am even the natural fool
Of fortune.  Use me well; you shall have ransom.
Let me have surgeons; I am cut to the brains.
Gent.          You shall have anything.
Lear            No seconds? all myself?
Why this would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden water-pots
Ay, and laying autumn’s dust.
Gent.          Good sir,–
Lear:               I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom.  What!
I will be jovial; come, come; I am the king,
My masters, know you that?
Gent.          You are a royal one, and we obey you.
Lear            Then there’s life in‘t.  Nay, an you get it,
You shall get it by running.  Sa, sa, sa, sa.  (Exit: Lear)”

Old man     Sings:
(As he sings “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything” the scene from King Lear Act V Scene III is enacted:

“Lear:          (With Cordelia in his arms)
Howl, howl, howl, howl!  O!  You are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heavens vault should crack.  She’s gone for ever.
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She’s dead as earth.  Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
This feather stirs; she lives! If it be so,
It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows
That ever I have felt
A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have saved her; now she’s gone for ever!
Cordelia, Cordelia! Stay a little.  Ha!
What is’t though say’st!  Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle and low, an excellent thing in the woman.
I kill’d the slave that was a-hanging thee.
Did not, fellow?
I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion
I would have made them skip; I am old now,
And these same crosses spoil me.
Mine eyes are not o' the best: I'll tell you straight.
And my poor fool is hang’d ! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all?  Thou’lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you undo this button; thank you, sir
Do you see this?  Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there!                            (Dies)

The focus shifts back to the old man

Boy1          Wah! Wah!
Boy2          Excellent!  Excellent!  Your song is excellent!
Old man:    But it is not mine.  It is his (pointing to the statue)
Who made all this world his stage,
All languages, tongues, and dialects his liege,
And nature which was so proud of its prowess
In creating characters at its will and fancy
Was still blinking its eyes in wonder at a Portia,
A Cordelia, a Juliet, an Ophelia or a Lucrece.
When his villains speak, they echo every man in no man
And when his heroes act, they seem down to earth.
The gamut of his writing is not to blare his genius
But to sum up: we differ merely from barriers without
When he wrought passions, they were neither random
Nor were they native to a soil, race or colour.
He chartered the scape of whole human emotions
And collected every single spec worth its name
Only to reflect like a faithful looking glass
For men to look-in, peruse, amend, and rejoice.
He never takes sides with good or evil
Nor hies behind his rolls just to preach a sermon
He bares the human contradictions, dilemmas, and disciplines
Without a hint of contrivance, from a natural flow of events.
We wail, we laugh, we play, get hurt, and simper
As he conjures up events from our very life
As the emotion dissipates it leaves no stains
But a sweet lingering aroma lasting our life time.
Boy1          What is his name?
Old man:    Didn’t you ever hear any stories
From your grannies at the fire place?
Boy2          My grand pa was the best story teller.
He would spin a story in a trice.
Girl1          My grand ma was even better.
Never was her story treasure empty.
Girl2          My mother tells me a story at bedtime
But she never repeats herself any time
Did you ever hear about the merchant
Who pawned himself for his friend’s love?
Boy1          Do you know about the king
Who tested the loyalties of his offspring?
Girl1          That is a household story
But have you ever heard how to tame a shrew?
Boy2          My grandsire tells exotic stories
About dreams, fantasies and what not.
All              (Simultaneously):  My grand pa is great,
No, my granny is great
No, my mother is great,
No my grandsire is great.
Old man:    But do you know where they got these stories from?
Boy2:         O, I forgot. Was it Shake…. Something?
Old man:    Say it properly.  William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

(Enter a soldier)

Soldier:      Why spoil their youth with fiction and fancy tales?
Tell them about history, about war and bravery.
Old man:    Brave soldier! Good luck to thee.
But fiction is no easy meat to cook, prithee
True. You must wage war
Against no-law, no-custom, and no-scruple.
But if wars, laws and vengeance
Could discipline, chastise and correct people
We wouldn’t have had these any more.
Good and evil, the hemispheres of character
Wax and wane, by turns, at one another’s expense.
Fiction gives vent to the heroics within
And resurrects to life the springs drying up in psyche.
History is a recipe, a decocture from the past
Filtering fact from fiction, take whit by whit.
It is a lamp, not the spade that helps clear your way
And our duty is just that, ‘fore we pass away.
Soldier:      Might be so.   But, I fear your fiction
Dries up the heroics at that.
Reason, no doubt, seasons our emotion
But an excess of it inhibits our action.
Fancy is a flight, no one wants to get down
The wings of crazy ideas and exotic things
The world looks oblong, flat and perplexing.
History, on the contrary, is a record of our kin
Our lives, a reliving of theirs, events scattered though.
We make the same mistakes, feel same passions
Witness mutely the events...  momentary and momentous
Silly and serious, brazen and civil, timorous and trepid
We inherit their fate and fortunes alike.
Old man:    So, by consequence,
History and fiction stand on the same pedestal.
Soldier:      But with some knowledge and the will to work our way,
We can steer thro’ rough waters to possible safer shores.
Old man:    Isn’t life’s mirth or misery a chance?
Soldier:      Doesn’t bravery take the seat of chance?
If the world were surfeit of geniuses and giants
Wouldn’t actions end before they incubate in mind?
Action is the spice of thought
And if it were absent, life reduces to inanimate.
History whets action by comparison.
Old man:    Life imagined through history is fancy.
But fiction nearer to life is history.
I sow these seminal minds
With the viable seeds of fiction
That when they are up against a Brutus
They play Mark Antony
And when they are up against Hotspurs
They play the Henries.
Children:    But we want to hear the tales you said you told him
(They point towards the statue)
Old man:    Didn’t you hear the legend
That he who touches his quill
Shall see before him, his matter, making a drill
Girl1          Then let me chance to touch it first
To see in me the best or the worst.
(She attempts to touch the quill and there will be a sudden flourish and the whole stage becomes dark.  Slowly the right stage gets illuminated and the following scene from Troilus and Cressida, Act II Scene 2 will be enacted where Cassandra, a prophetess, comes running on to the stage)
Cassandra:  “Cry, Trojans, cry! Lend me ten thousand eyes.
And I will fill them with prophetic tears.
Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,
Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,
Add to my clamours! Let us pay betimes
A moiety of that mass of moan to come.
Cry, Trojans, cry! Practise your eye with tears!
Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;
Our fire brand brother, Paris, burn us all.
Cry, Trojans, cry!  A Helen and a woe!
Cry, cry! Troy burns, or let Helen go. (Exit)”

Left stage gets illuminated and the girl asks in all innocence

Girl1           What does it mean?
Old man:    Baby, you are!  Innocent to the core.
As elements play their role,
They please and frighten your soul.
You see things that others can’t think
And when you prophesise the world takes no wink
Boy1          Let me try then.
(There will be a sudden flourish and the whole stage becomes dark.  Slowly the right stage gets illuminated and the following scene from Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, Act III Scene 1 is enacted where Hamlet, the prince comes on to the stage)
Hamlet:      “To be, or not to be: that is the question;
Whether‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to takes arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?  To die:  to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartaches and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d, To die, to sleep;
To sleep; perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sdeleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.  There’s the respect
That makes calamity or so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
The patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bare those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and movement
With this regard there currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action --Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

As the left stage gets illuminated back
Boy1          (to Old man):  What does it mean?
Old man:    It means you become a philosophic dialectic
And often your action is impeded by your logic.
Girl2:         (touches the quillafter a flourish the scene from Merchant of Venice Act IV Scene 1 is enacted:

“Portia:     The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But the mercy is above this sceptred sway
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
An earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.  Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,
And that the same player doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

And when the light are restored to the left stage the old man looks at Girl2 and says:

Old man:    Honey!  It means you love fair play
As naturally as a bee honey.
As Boy2 touches the quill there will be flourish and the following from Julius Caeser Act III Scene 2 when Brutus tries to defend his action is enacted:
Brutus:     Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers!
hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear:
believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour,
that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom,
and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caeser’s,
to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caeser was no less than his.
If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caeser,
this is my answer:
Not that I loved Caeser less, but I loved Rome more.
Had you rather Caeser were living, and die all slaves,
than that the Caeser were dead, to live all free men?
As Caeser loved me, I weep for him; as he
was fortunate, I rejoice at it;
as he was valiant, I honour him;
but as he was ambitious, I slew him.
There is tears for his love;
joy for his fortune;
honour for his valour;
and death for his ambition.
Who is here so base, that he
would be a bondman?
If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman?
If any, speak. for him have I offended.
Who is here so vile, that will not love his country?
If any, speak; for him have I offended.
I pause for a reply.

(Behind the stage)

Chorus: None, Brutus, none.

Brutus:       Then none have I offended.
I have done no more to Caeser
than you shall do to Brutus.
The question of his death
was enrolled in the capitol;
his glory not extenuated,
wherein he was worthy,
nor his offences enforced, for which
he suffered death.

{Enter Antony and others, with Caeser’s body}

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony:
Who, though he had no hand in his death,
shall receive the benefit of his dying,
a place in the commonwealth;
as which of you shall not?
With this I depart:
that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome,
I have the same dagger for myself,
when it shall please my country to need my death.”

Old man:   (With Boy 2) It means you are valiant and a good speaker too
You can convince your detractors, as your supporters,
With ease.  But if you don’t permit passion to overcome you,
You will not regret your action as Brutus did.

(Behind the stage: voices of ghosts sprits and apparitions)

Chorus:      What about us?
We wafted in air ‘fore he was born
And came to life donning mantles under his pen.
We had our second lives,
When we played, danced when bestowed rare powers,
And as he met his elements,
So were we restored
Give us a chance to say our thanks
To leave our shadows along with his images.
(All the ghosts, spirits and apparitions come to the fore stage and mingle with the characters already appeared, and all of them sing in unison.  Spirits, ghosts and apparitions stand one side and other characters stand the other side to start with)

Song:
(Characters):
He gave us birth
He gave us breath
He gave us mirth and mantle
Spirits:       (Pointing the statue)
He gave us birth
He gave us breath
He gave us mirth and mantle
Characters: He gave us life
He made us fife
And bade us hustle and hassle
Spirits        He blessed us life
He blessed us fife
And bestowed hoary story
All              (Together and severally):
Blessed I am
And blessed you are
To notch this ion from eon
O, Bard of Avon!
O, Lord of heaven!
Let play this play-let on and on.
Amen!
(Curtain comes down)

***
He blessed us fife
And bestowed hoary story
All              (Together and severally):
Blessed I am
And blessed you are
To notch this ion from eon
O, Bard of Avon!
O, Lord of heaven!
Let play this play-let on and on.
Amen!
(Curtain comes down)
***