What if Shakespeare was a judge on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor?

PICTURE CONTACT HAYLEY CHAPMAN - 020 7633 2542William_Shakespeare

Will Shakes: What, one good in ten? [1] I am thoroughly weary [2] (Calls to the presenters – The Dromios) Who is next? [3]

Dromio of Syracuse: A pair of star-cross’d lovers [4]

Dromio of Ephesus: Juliet, and her Romeo [5]

(Romeo and Juliet enter and sing a duet of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from the film ‘Titanic’)

Dromio of Syracuse: Most sweet voices! [6]

Will Shakes: Come, come, I’ll hear no more of this [7] A plague upon this howling! They are louder than / the weather [8]

Romeo: No more, you petty spirits of region low, / Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you! [9]

Will Shakes: Alas, sir, / In what have I offended you? [10] O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters [11] Her song was tedious and outwore the night [12] As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight [13] Thy voice is dreadful thunder [14] (To The Dromios) How dost thou afflict me [15] I am hot with hast in seeking [16] a rare talent [17] and thou shalt find it [18] Dost thou hear? [19]

Dromio of Syracuse: I prithee, call in Falstaff [20] He shall be needful of your entertainment [21] (Enter Falstaff boasting of his talent)

Will Shakes: I’ll speak troth [22] Is not your voice your wind short, your thin double, your wit single, and every part about you blasted with antiquity? [23]

Falstaff: Thou shalt find [24] I am the greatest [25]

(He starts to sings ‘The Great Pretender’)

Will Shakes: Break off they song, and haste thee quick away [26] ‘Tis too horrible! [27]

Falstaff: Thou haught insulting man [28]

Will Shakes: Away! I do condemn mine ears that have / So long attended thee [29]

Falstaff: But thou anon shalt hear of me again [30] when thou shalt kneel [31]

Will Shakes: (To The Dromios) Away with him… Go, take him away, I say [32]

(The Dromios drag Falstaff behind the curtain. Loud shrieks are heard offstage)

Will Shakes: What shrill-voiced supplicant makes this eager cry? [33]

Dromio of Ephesus: ‘Tis ‘The Macbeths and The Three Cronies’ (Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and The Three Witches singing ‘Highway to Hell’)

Will Shakes: I never heard a passion so confused [34] with strange and several voices / Of roaring, shrieking, howling, jingling, chains, / And more diversity of sounds, all horrible [35] You corrupt the song [36]

Macbeth: (To Will Shakes) My voice is ragged; I know I cannot please you [37]

Lady Macbeth: (To Macbeth) Screw your courage to the sticking-place [38]

Macbeth: (To Lady Macbeth) But, sure, I fear, we shall ne’er win him to it [39]

Lady Macbeth: Force perforce, I’ll make him yield the crown [40]

The Witches: All hail Macbeth! [41]

Lady Macbeth: Stop their mouths, let them not speak [42]

Macbeth: They do but jest [43]

Lady Macbeth: Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word: / Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee [44] (Storms off the stage and Macbeth and the Witches run after her)

Will Shakes: ‘Tis a pity [45] I did like the lady well [46] Who is next? [47]

Dromio of Syracuse: A young gentleman [48]

Will Shakes: Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is [49]

(Hamlet enters and stands motionless on the stage.  He is deep in contemplation trying to decide whether he should sing or not)

Will Shakes: Let’s see your song. How now, minion! [50]

(Hamlet does not sing)

Will Shakes: If thou hast any sound, or use of voice, / speak to me. [51]

(Hamlet looks as if he is about to sing, then suddenly stops, still torn)

So tedious is this day [52] Take him away [53]

(As The Dromios escort a conflicted Hamlet from the stage, The Rude Mechanicals loudly rush on from the wings)

Are you all resolved to give your voices? [54]

Bottom the Weaver: Thou shalt hear [55] Nick Bottom the Weaver [56] ten times louder [57]

(They sing ‘Moonshine’ by Bruno Mars)

Will Shakes: By my troth, yes; I count it but time lost to hear such a foolish song. God buy you: and God mend your voices [58]

Snug the Joiner: Alas, kind Lord [59]

Will Shakes: Nay, do not think I flatter [60]

Bottom the Weaver: We are glad [Mr Shakes] is so pleasant with us [61]

(The Mechanicals start to leave the stage, all very pleased with themselves)

Will Shakes: (Shouting after them) It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard [62] It was a disaster [63] Ay, I have lost my hopes [64]

Dromio of Ephesus: The event / Is yet to name the winner [65] (The Dromios proceed to shout out names of earlier contestants to Will Shakes)

Will Shakes:

[Henry V] By my troth, a good song [66] which I enjoy’d [67] But yet alas [68] too long-winded [69]

[Jacques] – So spiritless, / So dull, so dread in look, so woe-begone [70] too melancholy [71]

[Richard III] – Did ever raven sing so like a lark? [72] Yet nothing but songs of death [73]

[Goneril and Regan] – An excellent song [74] they did perform [75] but yet indeed [76] they are vipers [77]

[The Nurse] – My troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. [78] but yet she has [79] an ear –deafening voice [80]

Dromio of Syracuse: What say you [81] Prithee, who is’t that thou mean’st? [82]

Will Shakes: I now / Profess myself the winner [83] With promise of high pay and great rewards [84]

Words by Shakespeare – rearranged by Linda Nicoll


1          All’s Well That Ends Well [I. iii. 398]
2          Cymbeline [III. iv. 2183]
3          Henry IV PII [III. ii. 2022]     
4          Romeo and Juliet [Prologue 1, 6]
5          Romeo and Juliet, [V. iii. 3285]
6          Coriolanus [II. iii. 1545]
7          Troilus and Cressida [III. i. 1589]
8          The Tempest [I. i. 42-43]
9          Cymbeline [V. iv. 3243-44]
10        Henry VIII [II. iv. 1374-75]
11        Hamlet [III. ii. 1889-91]
12        Venus and Adonis [863]
13        Titus Andronicus [III. I 1424]
14        Love’s Labour Lost [IV. ii. 1251]
15        Richard III [V. iii. 3681]
16        King John [IV. iii. 2095]
17        Love’s Labour Lost [IV. ii. 1210]
18        King John [V. ii. 2464]
19        Hamlet [III. ii. 1941]
20        Henry IV P I [II. iv. 1100]
21        King Lear [II. iv. 1501]
22        Cymbeline [V. v. 3703]
23        Henry IV P II [I. ii. 505-07]
24        King Lear [I. iv. 837]
25        Romeo and Juliet [V. iii. 3198]
26        Measure for Measure [IV. i. 1801]
27        Measure for Measure [III. i. 1353]
28        Richard II [IV. i. 2243]
29        Cymbeline [I. vi. 770-71]
30        Troilus and Cressida [V. vi. 3535]
31        Pericles [V. i. 2434]
32        Henry VI P II [IV, vii. 2723-25]
33        Richard II [V. iii. 2654]
34        The Merchant of Venice [II. viii. 1083]
35        The Tempest [V. i. 2293-95]
36        All’s Well That Ends Well [I. iii. 398]
37        As You Like It [II. v. 832]
38        Macbeth [I. vii. 541]
39        Richard III [III. vii. 2286]
40        Henry VI P II [I. i. 270]
41        Macbeth [I. iii. 149]
42        Titus Andronicus [V. ii. 2484]
43        Hamlet [III. ii. 2128]
44        Romeo and Juliet [III. v. 2317-18]
45        The Winter’s Tale [II. i. 683]
46        All’s Well That Ends Well [IV. v. 2524]
47        Henry IV PII [III. ii. 2022]
48        Twelfth Night [I. v. 390]
49        Cymbeline [I. vi. 671]
50        Two Gentlemen of Verona [I. ii. 244]
51        Hamlet [I. i. 129]
52        Romeo and Juliet [III. ii. 1745]
53        All’s Well That Ends Well V. iii. 2811
54        Coriolanus [II. iii. 1457]
55        As You Like It [I. i. 24]
56        A Midsummer’s Night Dream [I. ii. 280]
57        Measure for Measure [II. iv. 1106]
58        As You Like It [V. iii. 2370]
59        Timon of Athens [IV. ii. 1655]
60        Hamlet [III. ii. 1935]
61        Henry V [I. ii. 409]
62        King John [III. i. 919]
63        All’s Well That Ends Well [III. vi. 1777]
64        Macbeth [IV. iii. 1871]
65        Cymbeline [III. v. 1963-64]
66        Much Ado About Nothing [II. iii. 895]
67        Richard III [I. iii. 546]
68        King Lear [I. i. 297]
69        Henry IV P I [III. iii. 2168]
70        Henry IV P II [I. I 127-28]
71        Pericles [II. iii. 878]
72        Titus Andronicus [III. i. 1289]
73        Richard III [IV. iv. 3337]
74        Othello [II. iii. 1208]
75        Henry VIII [I. i. 75]
76        As You Like It [I. ii. 388]
77        Troilus and Cressida [III. i. 1618]
78        Much Ado About Nothing [II. i. 716]
79        All’s Well That Ends Well [I. iv. 1206]
80        The Winter’s Tale [III. ii. 1192]
81        All’s Well That Ends Well [I. iii. 324]
82        As You Like It [I. ii. 212]
83        Cymbeline [II. iv. 1237-38]
84        Henry VI P III [II. i. 762]

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