Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shakespeare and Love A SHORT ROMANTIC PLAY FOR TWO ACTORS (free duologue stage script)

Shakespeare and Love

A SHORT PLAY FOR TWO ACTORS BY D. M. LARSON FROM FREEDRAMA.NET

A professor MULIGAN rushes around a theatre trying to get ready for his class.  He plays some instrumental music to try and calm himself.  He adjusts his podium, strikes a pose and then gets nervous and adjusts the podium again.  He bumps in to his easel which has Shakespeare visuals on it.  He fixes the visuals, looks at his watch and then rushes back to the podium.  He realizes his folder is empty and rushes to his briefcase.  He pulls out a folder thick with notes.  He stands and JULIE walks up behind him.
JULIE
Hello professor.

MULIGAN drops all his papers.  Julie tries to supress a laugh.  She smiles at him kindly as he stands there looking sadly at the pile.
MULIGAN
Hello Julie.

Julie starts gathering papers.  
JULIE
Here, let me help you.

Muligan slowly bends down to help her.
MULIGAN
I'd be upset about them being out of order but they weren't in order anyway.  I dropped them on the way here.

JULIE
Oh dear.

MULIGAN
I'm so nervous about this lecture.

JULIE
Then why are you giving it?

MULIGAN
Good question.

JULIE
You're always doing stuff like this but you don't seem to enjoy it that much.

MULIGAN
And yet you come to every one.

JULIE
I enjoy it.

MULIGAN
You do?

JULIE
Yeah.

MULIGAN
Thank you.

JULIE
For what?

MULIGAN
It's nice to hear someone likes it.

JULIE
I'm sure lots of people do.

MULIGAN
But it's nice to hear someone say it.  And even better if they remember something from it.

JULIE
Like the true identity of William Shakespeare... Edward de Vere.

MULIGAN
Wow, you do really listen.  I mean I don't say that he's Edward conclusively, but...

Muligan is all excited but starts dropping his papers again.  Julie stops him by taking his hands in hers.  He stops at her touch and looks her in the eyes.
JULIE
I know... I've listened.

MULIGAN
You really have.  What's your favorite lecture?

JULIE
Romeo and Juliet of course.

MULIGAN
Two star crossed lovers.

JULIE
From totally different places... totally different lives... yet drawn together despite their differences.  

MULIGAN
Those stories have stood the test of time.  That's amazing literature... living literature that never dies.

JULIE
I love your passion.  That's why I come so often.  I can feel your excitement.

Muligan feels some different excitement looking at her and hearing the compliments.  He turns and takes his papers to the podium.
MULIGAN
Thank you.

Julie ducks under his arms between him and the podium.
JULIE
Want me to organize these for you?  I bet I could.  

Muligan sniffs her hair but then is shocked at himself and moves away.
MULIGAN
Um... sounds like a fun challenge.  Is is like Twelth's Night?  Trying to reunite the twins lost at sea.

JULIE
Or is it like the Tempest... lost in a storm and shipwrecked... on a podium?
Muligan holds up a piece of paper.
MULIGAN
Gentle breath of your my sails; Must fill, or else my project fails

Julie blows on his paper and his flies out of his hands.  They look at each other a moment and smile.  Julie picks up another paper and blows it away.
JULIE
"Blow, blow, thou winter wind; Thou are not so unkind as man's ingratitude."

MULIGAN
As You Like It.  Man's ingratitute... I get plenty of that here at the university. "Most friendship is feigning, most loving is folly."  Do you believe that?

JULIE
Not in the least.  Shakespeare says many things.  But we can't believe in Shakespeare.  Only each other.

MULIGAN
Not God?

JULIE
God wrote the play... we're the actors.

MULIGAN
"All the World's a Stage. And all the men and women merely players."

JULIE
Exactly.

MULIGAN
Or did Shakepeare believe men were gods?  "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god."

JULIE
Hamlet was crazy... “Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.”

MULIGAN
Is Henry the Sixth a more reliable source than Hamlet?

JULIE
Henry was a real person.

MULIGAN
True... wow, you really have learned a lot about Shakespeare.

JULIE
I think a lot of people know about the King Henries.

MULIGAN
The quotes... the insight... I'm impressed.

JULIE
I learned it all from you.

MULIGAN
But no one else seems to have learned that much... I seem to be speaking in to the wind.  It is a tale told by an idiot. "Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing."

JULIE
That's MacBeth. Not you.

MULIGAN
That's what it seems like though.  Nothing gets through.

JULIE
It does to me.  Is that enough?

MULIGAN
Maybe it is.
Muligan looks at Julie a long moment and she smiles back.

MULIGAN (CONT.)
"Speak low..."

JULIE
You got me there... don't recognize the quote.

MULIGAN
"Excellent wretch..."

JULIE
You're stuttering in Shakespeare.

MULIGAN
When does my lecture begin?

JULIE
Not for an hour.

MULIGAN
I'm not ready.

JULIE
Then cancel it.

MULIGAN
I can't.

JULIE
Why not?

MULIGAN
The university...

JULIE
Who cares...

She takes his face in her hands.
JULIE (CONT.)
What do you want?

He looks at her longingly and there is a long pause. 
MULIGAN
Happiness.  

Julie goes to the podium.

JULIE
Does this make you happy?

MULIGAN
It used to... but no so much anymore.

JULIE
Then find something that does.

MULIGAN
Oh happy dagger...

JULIE
I think Juliet was being ironic when she said that.

MULIGAN
Joy... that's what I need... some joy... "Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love..."

JULIE
Joy... and love.

MULIGAN
"A heart to love, and in that heart, Courage, to make’s love known."

JULIE
MacBeth.  Do you have the courage?

MULIGAN
I don't know if I do.

JULIE
"I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say ‘I love you’"

MULIGAN
Henry the Fifth. "You have witchcraft in your lips."

JULIE
Okay... bad choice... how about "I humbly do beseech of your pardon, For too much loving you"

MULIGAN
Othello doesn't end well either.

JULIE
I need a quote from a comedy.

MULIGAN
Nobody quotes the comedies...

JULIE
But you did... "Speak low if you speak love."

MULIGAN
You pretended you didn't know.

JULIE
You've used that quote a few times... I finally remembered it.

MULIGAN
So much for being subtile.

JULIE
Why be subtile?

MULIGAN
Should we be doing this?

JULIE
Shouldn't you be happy?

MULIGAN
Can I be happy?

JULIE
You can.

MULIGAN
I don't know how.

JULIE
Then let me teach you.

MULIGAN
How?

She takes his hands and moves close to him and strokes his hand.
JULIE
With a kiss.

MULIGAN
"O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do."

Lights fade to black except for a light on the easel with the quote "If music be the food of love, play on".  Music plays louder.
FIN

*****

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Find more plays for two actors at http://www.freedrama.net/small2.html


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Sincerely,
D. M. Larson







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