by Steve Cook
Researchers have discovered that Shakespeare invented the Christmas Pantomime and was the first exponent of this highly-evolved art form.
In fact, the discovery of some old manuscripts in a trunk at his former home in Stratford-Upon-Avon have revealed a shocking truth.
The much-venerated playwright may actually have been trying to make a career as the author of scripts for pantomimes before he accidentally became famous as the greatest exponent of the English language in the history of the universe.
It now appears almost certain that the famous bard’s first love was penning pantomimes as he believed more serious plays were overrated and would never catch on. It was only later in his career that, after having been berated at length by his wife, he used his pantomime manuscripts as the basis for plays that later did indeed become quite well known.
Thus many of his plays, such as Troilus and Cressida, Anthony and Cleopatra and the lesser known Dennis and Tracey can now be found in their original pantomime form. Here are a couple of examples:
Excerpt from Romeo and Juliet
Juliet: Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?
Audience: He be behind thee!
Enter Bottom who weareth ye enormous and gratuitous codpiece [note: this is one of the earliest appearances of the Bottom character who appears in many of Shakespeare’s pantos and was edited out of all except A Midsummer Night’s Dream when the pantos became serious plays]: Oh nay, he be not!
Audience: Oh yea, he be!
Bottom: Oh nay, he be not!
This banter continueth until ye audience becometh hysterical. Then Romeo steppeth forth and sayeth;
Romeo: all right, all right that be enough of that! Can we please now get back to ye wooing? I’m getting ye signals so methinks I’m in with a chance here.
Audience: Oh nay, ye be not!
Romeo: Oh yea, I be! Anyway, methinks, sooth be told, that none of ye know what “wherefore” meaneth.
Bottom: Oh yea, they do!
Romeo: Shut up! (He turneth to ye audience) Very well boys and girls, raise thy hand if thou thinkest that “wherefore” meaneth “where”.
Among the audience there be much raising of ye hands.
Romeo: Aha! Just as I thought! “Wherefore” meaneth not “where” but “why”!
Bottom: Oh no it doth not!
Romeo: Oh yea it doth!
Audience: Oh no it doth not!
Bottom: Romeo, Romeo why art thou Romeo doth not make a lot of sense doth it? What woman speaketh in that vein when ye evidence be self – . . . er, evident? Thou art Romeo because thy parents decided to call thee Romeo . . .
Romeo: Forsooth Bottom, tis poetical!
Bottom: If thou askest me, it soundeth like a load of testicles!
Audience shrieketh with merriment [for these are bawdy times]
Romeo: Well, look it up in ye dictionarie if thou doest not believe me, ye oaf!
Bottom: There be no such thing as this dictionarie of which thou speakest.
Romeo: Yea well, somebody should write one so that ignorant oiks can look up plain English words like “wherefore”.
Bottom: ’tis not our fault Master Romeo if such bombastic phrases fall from they lips like ye soft rain of . . . of . . . large bombastic things.
Romeo: Something like universal education would not go amiss either, lest perforce I must woo my fair lady in words of one freaking syllable.
Bottom: Well, have a care master Romeo lest ye fair Juliet think ye a smidgen snobby and cometh to ye conclusion thou hast embraced tomfoolery for thy hobby. Forget ye not, when all said and done, that this be yet ye Middle Ages.
Romeo: Thinkest thou I was born yesterday? We all know ye Middle Ages ended a week ago last Thursday.
Audience: Oh no they didn’t.
Romeo: Oh yes they did!
Excerpt from Henry IV Part One. Opening Soliloquy:
Henry: So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils – ”
Enter Bottom (for it be he) sporting a handsome but oversized codpiece.
Bottom: Oh no we don’t!
Genghis Kant: a novel by Steve Cook. Features incredibly alien household appliances and edible musicians. Available in paperback and ebook or injected straight into your brain. Find out more now.
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