About the Playwright: D.D. Delaney is an Equity Association actor who began his career in theater in 1979 as the principal writer of street theater skits protesting the abuses of the nuclear power industry following the nuclear accident at Three-Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA. His street theater troupe evolved into a performance company in Lancaster, PA, where he wrote, acted in, and helped produce a growing body of plays. He worked as an actor, writer, designer, director, and administrator with numerous companies in the Lancaster area, earning his Equity card in 1989 in the role of Dylan Thomas in A Child's Christmas in Wales, produced by Theater of the Seventh Sister, which he co-founded. He continued with Seventh Sister playing a variety of roles. In 1994 he moved to Norfolk, VA, where, he wrote and performed two one-man shows, The Lunar Project and The Holy Fool, at Second Story Theatre. He created four touring programs for Young Audiences of Virginia, including Shakespeare After School and Shakespeare: Playing for Laughs, both of which he performed with his wife, Jala Magik, in secondary schools throughout eastern Virginia. To date, his 33 produced scripts include eleven full-length plays, six one-acts, six plays for young audiences, three collaborations, and numerous skits for special occasions. Currently, Delaney lives by the Chesapeake Bay in the Ocean View subdivision of Norfolk with Jala and animal companions Myrrha the hound and cats Demi-Tasse, Chi, Luna, and Yin. No longer exclusively a theater drudge, he also works as a free-lance journalist for Port Folio Weekly, an alternative newspaper of news and culture.
Shakespeare: Playing For Laughs
An Hilarious One Act for Two Characters
by: D. D. Delaney
About the Play:
Shakespeare: Playing for Laughs, a sequel to Shakespeare After School, is a 45-minute educational entertainment featuring scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Merchant of Venice. High school custodians Rudy Mahoney and Flo Berry find themselves catapulted into new careers as a touring duo, their passion for Shakespeare now extended to the art of comedy as they go on the road. Interspersing their 45-minute performance with insightful dialogue about the scenes, including commentary on the art of comedy and tidbits of their own life wisdom, they provide an interactive entertainment, inviting members of the audience to the stage to participate. Approximately the length of a standard class, Shakespeare: Playing for Laughs can stand alone or, combined with Shakespeare After School, can serve as the second act of a full-length theatrical entertainment.
These hilarious people should be portrayed by character actors who will make them their own.
THe Scene: This is best performed on a bare stage or at the front of a large classroom. The real show is with the performances, the costumes and the custodial props turned as if by magic, into Shakespearean paraphernalia.
From The Play:
Bottom (Rudy): God's my life! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was…there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had… But a man is a patch'd fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballet of this dream. It shall be called "Bottom's Dream," because it hath no Bottom.
(Exit Bottom. Enter Flo, dressed as Shepherd’s Son.)
Flo: Your secret's out, Rudy Mahoney! We know all about you now!
Rudy: (From offstage) What? That I'm a jackass in disguise?
Flo: You said it, I didn't.
Rudy: (Still off) Hey, I'm just an actor. I don't write this stuff.
Flo: That's no excuse. You couldn't play it if your heart wasn't in it.
Rudy: What's that? The Flo Berry theory of acting?
Flo: It's not a theory, it's common sense. Good acting comes from the heart. Don't you agree?
Rudy: (Entering, carrying Old Shepherd’S costume and barne basket) I identify with Bottom because he's a lot like me.
Flo: Isn't that what I just said?
Rudy: I mean, Bottom is a working man. I'm a working man. He aspires to be an artist. I aspire to be an artist.
Flo: Maybe that's why Shakespeare has him turn into a jackass.
Rudy: To make fun of artists?
Flo: You can't have comedy unless you're making fun of something. Or someone.
Rudy: Now you mention it, I have a socially conscious friend who disapproves of humor. He never laughs or makes jokes. He says it's a form of cruelty.
Flo: Maybe he's right.