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Henfield Theatre Company

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare  -
An Open Air Production  on 18,19,20,21 July 2018

Audition Pieces for ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor

Below  are the audition pieces for this production. 

An extra Audition will be held on  Tuesday 27th  February, 7.30pm at the Henfield Hall, Garden Suite.            

For  more information ring                                                 
Rosemary Nice  01273 492221    or      Diane Fuell  01273 492701
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ALICE  FORD   Act 2 Sc 1

We burn daylight.  Here, read, read.  Perceive how I might be knighted.  I shall

think the worse of fat men as long as I have an eye to make difference of men’s

liking.  And yet he would not swear, praised woman’s modesty, and gave such

orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness that I would have sworn

his disposition would have gone to the truths of his words.  But they do no more

adhere and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of

Greensleeves.  What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil

in his belly, ashore at Windsor ?  How shall I be revenged on him ?  I think the

best way were to entertain him with hope till the wicked fire of lust have melted

him in his own grease.  Did you ever hear the like ?


MEG  PAGE     Act 2 Scene 1

What, have I ‘scaped love-letters in the holiday time of my beauty, and am I

now a subject for them ?  Let me see.  (Reads letter)  ‘Ask me no reason why I

love you, for though love use reason for his precisian, he admits him not for his

counsellor.  You are not young, no more am I.  Go to, then, there’s sympathy. 

You are merry, so am I.  Ha, ha, then there’s more sympathy.  You love sack,

and so do I.  Would you desire better sympathy ?  Let it suffice thee, Mistress

Page – at the least if the love of soldier can suffice – that I love thee.  I will not

say Pity me – ‘tis not a soldier-like phrase – but I say, Love me. 

By me.

                        Thine own true knight,

                        By day or night,

                        Or any kind of light,

                        With all his might

                        For thee to fight.                               

                        John Falstaff.’


What a Herod of Jewry is this !  Oh, wicked, wicked world !  One that is well-

nigh worn to pieces with age to show himself a young gallant !  What

unweighed behaviour hath this Flemish drunkard picked – with the devil’s

name ! – out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me ?  Why,

he hath not been thrice in my company.  What should I say to him ?  I was then

frugal of my mirth.  Heaven forgive me !  Why, I’ll exhibit a bill in the

parliament for the putting down of men.  How shall I be revenged on him ?  For

revenged I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings.


FALSTAFF      audition piece 1   Act 3 Scene 5

Have I lived to be carried in a basket like a barrow of butcher’s offal, and to be

thrown in the Thames ?  Well, if I be served such another trick, I’ll have my

brains ta’en out and buttered, and give them to a dog for a New Year’s gift. 

‘Sblood, the rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse as they

would have drowned a blind bitch’ puppies, fifteen i’th’litter !  And you may

know by my size that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking.  If the bottom were as

deep as hell, I should down.  I had been drowned but that the shore was shelvy

and shallow – a death that I abhor, for the water swells a man, and what a thing

should I have been when I had been swelled !  I should have been a mountain of


(Falstaff audition piece 2)

Act 3 Scene 5

Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I have suffered to bring this woman to

evil for your good.  Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford’s

knaves, his hinds, were called forth by their mistress to carry me in the name of

foul clothes to Datchet Lane.  They took me on their shoulders, met the jealous

knave their master in the door, who asked them once or twice what they had in

their basket.  I quaked for fear lest the lunatic knave would have searched it; but

Fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand.  Well, on went he for a

search, and away went I for foul clothes.  But mark the sequel, Master Brook.  I

suffered the pangs of three several deaths: first, an intolerable fright to be

detected with the jealous rotten bell-weather; next, to be compassed like a good

bilbow in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and then, to be

stopped in like a strong distillation with stinking clothes that fretted in their own

grease.  Think of that, a man of my kidney – think of that – that am as subject to

heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw.  It was a miracle to

‘scape suffocation.  And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half

stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cooled,

glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe.  Think of that – hissing hot – think

of that, Master Brook !


FRANCIS FORD   Act 2 Scene 2

What a damned epicurean rascal is this !  My heart is ready to crack with

impatience.  Who says this is improvident jealousy ?  My wife hath sent him,

the hour is fixed, the match is made.  Would any man have thought this ?  See

the hell of having a false woman !  My bed shall be abused, my coffers

ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive this villainous

wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does

me this wrong.  Terms !  Names !  Cuckold !  Wittol !  Cuckold !  The devil

himself hath not such a name.  Page is an ass, a secure ass.  He will trust his

wife, he will not be jealous.  I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson

Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aqua vitae bottle, or

a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself.  Then she plots,

then she ruminates, then she devises; and what they think in their hearts they

may effect, they will break their hearts but they will effect.  God be praised for

my jealousy !  Eleven o’clock the hour.  I will prevent this, detect my wife, be

revenged on Falstaff, and laugh at Page.  I will about it.  Better three hours too

soon than a minute too late.  Fie, fie, fie !  Cuckold, cuckold, cuckold !


MISTRESS  QUICKLY     Act 1 Scene 4

I am glad he is so quiet.  If he had been thoroughly moved, you should have

heard him so loud and so melancholy.  But notwithstanding, man, I’ll do your

master what good I can.  And the very yea and the no is, the French doctor, my

master – I may call him my master, look you, for I keep his house, and I wash,

wring, brew, bake, scour, dress meat and drink, make the beds, and do all

myself –

            Simple‘Tis a great charge to come under one body’s hand.

Are you advised o’ that ?  You shall find it a great charge; and to be up early

and down late.  But notwithstanding – to tell you in your ear; I would have no

words for it – my master himself is in love with Mistress Anne Page.  But

notwithstanding that, I know Anne’s mind.  That’s neither here nor there.



                        Caius  Vat is you sing ?  I do not like dese toys.  Pray you go and vetch

                         me in my closet une boite en verte – a box, a green-a-box.  Do intend vat I

                         speak ?  A green-a-box.

                        Ms Q   Ay, forsooth, I’ll fetch it you.  I am glad he went not in himself.  If

                        he had found the young man, he would have been horn-mad. 

                        Caius   Fe, fe, fe !  Ma foie, il fait fort chaud.  Je m’en vais à la cour – la

                         grande affaire.

                        Ms Q    Is it this, sir ? 

                        Caius  Oui, mettez-le à ma pochette.  Dépèche, quickly.  Vere is dat knave

                         Rugby ?

                        Ms Q    What, John Rugby !  John !  Rugby !

                        Rugby   Here, sir.

                        Caius   You are John Rugby and you are Jack Rugby.  Come take-a your

                        rapier, and come after my heel to the Court.

                        Rugby   Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.

                        Caius    By my trot, I tarry too long.  ‘Ods me !  Qu’ai-je oublié ? 

                        Dere is some simples in my closet dat I vill not for de varld I shall leave behind. 

                        Ms Q    Ay me, he will find the young man there, and be mad. 

                        Caius   O, diable, diable !  Vat is in my closet ?  Villainy !  Larron ! 

                        Rugby, my rapier ! 

                        Ms Q    Good master, be content. 

                        Caius   Wherefore shall I be content-a ?

                        Ms Q   The young man is an honest man.

                        Caius    What shall de ‘onest man do in my closet ?  Dere is no ‘onest man

                        dat shall come in my closet.

                        Ms Q    I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic.  Hear the truth of it.  He came

                        on an errand to me from Parson Hugh. 

                        Caius    Vell ?

                        Simple   I, forsooth, to desire her to –

                        Ms Q     Peace, I pray you.

                        Caius      Peace-a your tongue.  Speak-a your tale.


MISTRESS  QUICKLY    Act 2 Scene 2

Marry, this is the short and the long of it: you have brought her into such a

canaries as ‘tis wonderful.  The best courtier of them all, when the Court lay at

Windsor, could never have brought her to such a canary; yet, there be knights,

and lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant you, coach after coach,

letter after letter, gift after gift, smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so rushling, I

warrant you, in silk and gold, and in such alligant terms, and in such wine and

sugar of the best and the fairest, that would have won any woman’s heart, and, I

warrant you, they could never get an eye-wink of her.  I had myself twenty

angels given me this morning, but I defy all angels in any sort, as they say, but

in the way of honesty.  And, I warrant you, they could never get her so much as

sip on a cup with the proudest of them all, and yet there has been earls – nay,

which is more, pensioners – but, I warrant you, all is one with her.


SHALLOW,  SLENDER  and  EVANS  Act 1 Scene 1

            Shallow    Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you.  A word with you, coz;

             marry, this, coz; there is as ‘twere a tender, a kind of tender made afar of by Sir

             Hugh here – do you understand me ?

            Slender    Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable.  If it be so, I shall do that

             which is reason.  

            Shallow   Nay, but understand me. 

            Slender     So I do, sir.

            Evans  Give ear to his motions.  Master Slender, I will description the

            matter to you, if you be capacity of it. 

            Slender     Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says.  I pray you pardon me. 

              He’s a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.

             Evans    But that is not the question.  The question is concerning your

              marriage –

              Shallow   Ay, there’s the point, sir.

              Evans   Marry, is it.  The very point of it – to Mistress Anne Page. 

              Slender    Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any reasonable demands.

               Evans     But can you affection the ‘oman ?  Let us command to know that

                of your mouth or of your lips – for divers philosophers hold that the lips is

                parcel of the mouth.  Therefore, precisely, can you carry your goodwill to the

                maid ?

                Shallow    Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her ?

                 Slender   I hope, sir, I will do as it shall become one that would do reason.

                 Evans    Nay, Got’s lords and his ladies, you must speak possitable if you

                 can carry her your desires towards her.

                 Shallow    Then you must.  Will you, upon good dowry, marry her ?

                 Slender    I will do a greater thing than that upon your request, cousin, in any


                 Shallow    Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz; what I do is to pleasure

                  you, coz.  Can you love the maid ?

                  Slender    I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in

                  the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we

                  are married and have more occasion to know one another.  I hope upon

                   familiarity will grow more contempt.  But if you say ‘Marry her’ I will marry

                   her; that I am freely dissolved and dissolutely.

                   Evans    It is a fery discretion answer, save the fall is in the word

                  ‘dissolutely’.  The word is, according to our meaning, ‘resolutely’.  His meaning

                    is good.

                   Shallow     Ay, I think my cousin meant well.


HOST and SIMPLEAct 4 Scene 5

                         Host      What would’st thou have, boor ?  What, thick-skin ?  Speak,

                         breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap. 

                        Simple    Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff from

                         Master Slender. 

                          Host    There’s his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed

                          and truckle-bed.  ‘Tis painted about with the story of The Prodigal, fresh and

                          new.  Go, knock and call.  He’ll speak like an anthropophaginian unto thee. 

                         Knock, I say.

                        Simple      There’s an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his

                          chamber.  I’ll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down.  I come to speak with

                          her, indeed. 

                          Host     Ha ?  A fat woman ?  The knight may be robbed.  I’ll call. –

                          Bully knight !  Bully Sir John !  Speak from thy lungs military.  Art thou there ? 

                           It is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.

                          Falstaff (off)   How now, mine host ? 

                          Host   Here’s a Bohemian tartar carries the coming-down of thy fat

                          woman.  Let her descend, bully, let her descend.  My chambers are honourable. 

                           Fie !  Privacy ?  Fie !


EVANS  and  SIMPLEAct 1 Scene 2

                                    Evans    Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius’s which is the way. 

                                    And there dwells one Mistress Quickly, which is in the manner of his nurse, or

                                    his dry nurse, or his cook, or his laundry, his washer, and his wringer.

                                    Simple   Well, sir.

                                    Evans   Nay, it is petter yet.  Give her this letter, for it is a ‘oman that

                                    is altogethers acquaintance with Mistress Anne Page, and the letter is to desire

                                    and require her to solicit your master’s desires to Mistress Anne Page.  I pray

                                     you be gone.


FENTON  Act 5 Scene 5

You do amaze her.  Hear the truth of it. 

You would have married her most shamefully

Where there was no proportion held in love.

The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,

Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.

Th’offence is holy that she hath committed,

And this deceit loses the name of craft,

Of disobedience, or unduteous title,

Since therein she doth evitate and shun

A thousand irreligious curséd hours

Which forcéd marriage would have brought upon her.




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