A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

SNOUT

Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

SNOUT

Will the moon be shining on the night we’re performing our play?

BOTTOM

A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac. Find out moonshine, find out moonshine!

BOTTOM

We need a calendar! Look in the almanac. Look up moonshine, look up moonshine!

QUINCE

(takes out a book) Yes, it doth shine that night.

QUINCE

(he takes out a book) Yes, the moon will shine that night.

BOTTOM

20Why then, may you leave a casement of the great chamber window where we play open, and the moon may shine in at the casement.

BOTTOM

Well then, you can leave one of the windows open in the big hall where we’ll be performing, and the moon can shine in through the window.

QUINCE

Ay. Or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lantern, and say he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber. For Pyramus and Thisbe, says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.

QUINCE

Yes, or else someone will have to come in carrying a bundle of sticks and a lantern and say he’s come to

disfigure,

Bottom means “figure” (symbolize), not disfigure.

disfigure,
or represent, the character of Moonshine, because the man in the moon is supposed to carry sticks and a lantern. But there’s still another problem: we need to have a wall in the big hall, because according to the story, Pyramus and Thisbe talked through a little hole in a wall.

SNOUT

You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?

SNOUT

You’ll never be able to bring in a wall. What do you think, Bottom?

BOTTOM

Some man or other must present Wall. And let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some roughcast about him to signify wall. And let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisbe whisper.

BOTTOM

Someone should play the part of Wall. He can have some plaster or clay or limestone or something on him to show the audience he’s a wall. He can hold his fingers in a V-shape like this, and Pyramus and Thisbe can whisper to each other through that little crack.

QUINCE

If that may be then all is well. Come, sit down, every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts.—Pyramus, you begin. When you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake.—And so everyone according to his cue.

QUINCE

If we can do that, everything will be all right. Now sit down, everybody, and rehearse your parts—Pyramus, you start. When you have said your lines, go hide in that bush.—Everyone else, go there too when you’re not onstage.