Characters (in order of appearance)
Don Pedro - Abbie
Consciences - Anna (CA) and Cheryl (CC)
Benedick - Amelia
Leonato - Grace
Claudio - Holly
Act 3, Scene 2
Enter all except Benedick, who waits outside the door. There is a room, with two chairs and a table, on which stands drinks.
D. Pedro: [pacing] I will only be bold with Benedick for his company, for, from the crown of his head to the soul of his foot, he is all mirth. He hath twice or thrice cut Cupid’s bow string, and the little hangman dare not shoot at him.
CA: He hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper.
CC: For what his heart thinks, his tongue speaks.
Benedick: Sirs, I am not as I have been.
All crowd around Benedick.
Leonato: So say I. Methinks you are sadder.
Claudio: I hope he be in love.
D. Pedro: Hang him, truant! There’s no true drop if blood in him to be truly touched by love.
CA: If he be sad, he wants money.
Benedick: [steps forward] I have…
All freeze CC.
CC: Don’t say you are in love, Signior, hide it from them. Say you have… broken your arm… no no no [mutters under her breath, before ‘reaching a conclusion’ and clicking fingers in delight] say you have…
Benedick: The toothache!
D. Pedro: [steps towards Benedict] Draw it!
Benedick: Hang it!
Claudio: [steps between them] You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
CA and CC: [together] What?
D. Pedro: Sigh for the toothache-
Leonato: [cuts across and pushes into group, Benedict falling into a chair] Where is but a humour or a worm?
Benedick: Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it.
Benedick reaches for drink; D. Pedro, Claudio and Leonato walk off to the side. CA and CC stay between the two.
Claudio: [to D. Pedro and Leonato] Yet say I, he is in love.
D. Pedro: There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises: as, to be a Dutchman today, a Frenchman tomorrow, or in the shape of two countries at once, as a German from the waist down, all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no doublet.
CA: Unless he have a fancy to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.
Claudio: If he be not in love with some woman, there is no believing old signs. A brushes his hat a mornings: what should that bode?
All freeze except CA, CC and Benedick.
CC: [ruffles Benedick’s hair] Hath any man seen him at the barber’s?
CA: No, but the barber’s man hath been seen with him, and the old ornament of his check hath already stuffed tennis-balls.
CC: [strokes Benedick’s chin] Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
CA: [sniffs in the area] Yea, and you can smell him out by his civet. That’s as much to say;
CA and CC: [together] The sweet youth’s…
All unfreeze, CA and CC move into background.
Leonato and Benedick: [together] In love.
Leonato, D. Pedro and Claudio all look at Benedick, who covers his mouth before coughing loudly/taking a big gulp of drink.
D. Pedro: The greatest note of it is his melancholy. [Benedick smiles brightly, before remembering he is supposed to have toothache]
Claudio: Nay, but his jesting spirit, which is now crept into a lute-string and now governed the stops.
Leonato: And when was he one to wash his face? [Benedick holds hands over his cheeks]
D. Pedro: Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him. Conclude, conclude, he is in love.
Claudio: Nay, but I know who loves him.
CA and CC: [together, whispers]Beatrice, Beatrice, Beatrice.
D. Pedro: That would I know too. I warrant, one that knows him not.
CA and CC: [together, getting louder] Beatrice, Beatrice, Beatrice.
Leonato: For I know twice, yet his ill conditions, and in despite of all, dies for him.
CA and CC: [together, normal volume] Beatrice, Beatrice, Beatrice.
D. Pedro: [quietens CA and CC] She shall be buried with her face upwards.
All freeze expect Benedick, CA and CC.
CA: [over Benedick’s shoulder] Face upwards in your chest, more like [CA and CC snigger]
Benedick: [over shoulder to CA] What charm for the toothache [rolls eyes]
CC: [over Benedick’s other shoulder] Are you going to ask for her hand then?
CA: [mimicking Benedick] Signior, I ask for your niece’s hand in marriage. [CC counts words while said]
CC: [Slaps Benedick on the shoulder] Nine, or eight words. Short and shappy.
All unfreeze. Benedick jumps to stand and walks not-so-confidently over to Leonato.
Benedick: Old Signior, walk aside with m. I have studied-
CA: [cuts across in background] Eight,
CC: Or nine,
Benedick: [quietens CA and CC] Wise words to speak to you, which these [motions to D. Pedro and Claudio] hobby-horses must not hear.
Exit all except Claudio and D. Pedro.
D. Pedro: On my life, to break with him about Beatrice.
Claudio: ‘Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two bears will not bite one another when they meet.