This is the epic "confusion in the forest" scene, with only a few cuts in the original text, set to music. Recorded live at the Lillian Theatre, Los Angeles, December 2012.
IN THE FOREST 1: A TRIM EXPLOIT
goddess, nymph, divine
to what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
crystal is muddy, oh, how ripe in show
thy lips those kissing cherries, how they truly tempting grow...
O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
to set against me for your merriment:
What? No, of course not...
if you were civil, and knew courtesy,
you would not do me thus much injury.
Helena, surely you don't mean [that we're trying to do you injury]...
can you not hate me, as I know you do
Hate you? On the contrary, my feelings towards you [are surprisingly warm at the moment]...
but you must join in souls to mock me, too?
DEMETRIUS & LYSANDER (separately)
Mock you? No one could mock a woman as lovely as...
(talk to the hand, boys)
it's a trim exploit, it's a manly enterprise,
to conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes.
You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so;
for you love Hermia, and this you know I know.
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia's love I yield you up my part.
And yours of Helena to me bequeath
Whom I do love and will do till my death.
Lysander, keep thy Hermia, I will none.
If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
Look, where thy love comes. Yonder is thy dear...
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
What love could press my Lysander from my side?
Lysander's love, that would not let him bide,
Why seeks't thou me? Could not this make thee know
the hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
Lo, SHE is one of this confederacy!
(softly, lulling, establishing rapport with her old friend)
IN THE FOREST 2: INJURIOUS HERMIA
most ungrateful maid!
have you conspired,
have you with these contrived
to bait me with this foul derision?
is all the counsel that
we two have shared,
the sisters' vows,
the hours that we have spent,
when we have chid
the hasty-footed time
for parting us,
o, is it all forgot?
all school-days' friendship,
we, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
have with our needles created
HELENA & HERMIA
both one flower
both on one sampler
sitting on one cushion
both warbling of one song
both in one key
two lovely berries moulded
on one stem;
(perhaps a pinky shake or some secret shared acknowledgement of childhood friendship)
so, with two seeming bodies,
but one heart;
(suddenly turning on Hermia, the claws coming out)
and will you rent
our ancient love asunder,
to join with men
in scorning your poor friend?
it is not friendly,
it is not maidenly.
I am amazed at your passionate words.
I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
Have you not set Lysander as in scorn,
to follow me and praise my eyes and face,
and made your other love, Demetrius
who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
to call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare?
precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
to her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander
deny your love, so rich within his soul,
and tender me, forsooth, affection,
but by your setting on, by your consent?
I understand not what you mean by this.
Yeah, right, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up
if you have any pity, grace or manners,
you would not make me such an argument
but fare ye well; 'tis partly my own fault,
which death or absence soon shall remedy.
Music continues under
Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse:
My love, my life my soul, fair Helena!
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Thou canst compel no more than she entreat:
Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To prove him false that says I love thee not.
I say I love thee more than he can do.
If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Away, rank strumpet!
No, no; he'll
Seem to break loose;
take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!
Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!
Why are you grown so rude? what change is this?
Thy love! out, fawning harpy, out!
Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
Do you not jest?
Yes, sooth; and so do you.
Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
I would I had your bond, for I perceive
A weak bond holds you: I'll not trust your word.
What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.
IN THE FOREST 3: GREATER HARM THAN HATE
What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me! Wherefore? O me! What news, my love!
Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me:
why, then you left me--o, the gods forbid!--
in earnest, shall I say?
Ay, by my life;
and never did desire to see thee more.
therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest
that I do hate thee and love Helena.
O me! You juggler! You canker-blossom!
You thief of love! What, have you come by night
and stolen my love's heart from him?
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
Puppet? Why so? Ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
between our statures; she hath urged her height;
and with her personage, her tall personage,
her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem;
because I’m so dwarfish and so low?
HOW LOW AM I, thou painted maypole?
HOW LOW AM I? I am not yet so low
but that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
(HERMIA attacks HELENA. HELENA retreats behind the guys, who make a human shield between the ladies. The following is sung as HERMIA continually tries to find new ways to get to HELENA and beat the crap out of her, and is stopped by DEMETRIUS and LYSANDER.)
IN THE FOREST 4: I PRAY YOU, THOUGH YOU MOCK ME
I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
let her not hurt me: I was never curst;
How low am I?
I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
I am a right maid for my cowardice:
let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
because she is something lower than myself,
that I can match her.
Lower! hark, again.
Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Let me at her!
did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
he follow'd you; for love I follow'd him;
and now, so you will let me quiet go,
to Athens will I bear my folly back
and follow you no further: let me go:
you see how simple and how fond I am.
Why, get you gone: who is't that hinders you?
A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
What, with Lysander?
Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
'Little' again! nothing but 'low' and 'little'!
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
Now she holds me not;
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Follow! Nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
Exeunt LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS
IN THE FOREST 5: ALL THIS COIL
You, mistress all this coil is long of you.
nay, go not back.
I will not trust you, I,
nor longer stay in your curst company.
your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
my legs are longer though, to run away.
I am amazed, and know not what to say.
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