♪♪ -Next, on "Great Performances"... -Be bold, I pray you!
♪♪ -Join us in Central Park for Shakespeare Under the Stars... -Hey!
-...with a critically acclaimed adaptation of the Bard's beloved comedy "The Merry Wives of Windsor."
-Got me out here in the middle of the park, dressed like I'm some ol' Black Dumbledore.
-Set in South Harlem, in a community of West African immigrants, the charlatan Johnny Falstaff faces off against a pair of wiley wives, in a New York story about tricks of the heart.
-Let's be revenged on him.
-Let's appoint him a meeting.
-Divide me like a roasted goat!
-It's a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality, with the Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of "Merry Wives," next.
-Wives may be merry and, yet, honest, too.
♪♪ Major funding for "Great Performances" is provided by... ...and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.
♪♪ -♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey ♪ -♪ Oh!
♪ -♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey ♪ -♪ Oh!
♪ [ Clapping ] -♪ Hey ♪ -♪ Ooh ♪ -♪ Ooh ♪ -♪ Ooh ♪ ♪♪ -[ Vocalizing ] -♪ Hey, hey, hey ♪ ♪♪ -♪ Hey ♪ ♪♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Laughs ] ♪♪ Africa is an amazing continent with over 50 different countries, hundreds of different languages, and millions of beautiful people.
People that have settled all around the world, from South America to Europe, to Canada, to right here, in Harlem, USA.
But, no matter where I go, the one thing that's universal about African people is the way that they celebrate life, the way that they celebrate God.
For example, in Nigeria, they may say, "Ase."
Everybody say, "Ase."
In South Africa, they may say, "Yebo."
Everybody say, "Yebo."
-In Ghana, they may say, "Ago."
-The Senegalese people sometimes say, "Wau wau."
-And Malinke people say -- [ Speaking foreign language ] -[ Speaking foreign language ] -Aha!
So, if I say, come let me say ase.
Come, let me say yebo.
-Come let me say Amen.
-Come let me say ago.
-Come let me say wau wau.
-Come let me say -- [ Speaking foreign language ] -[ Speaking foreign language ] -Come let me say ase.
-Come let me say yebo.
♪♪ ♪ Come let me say ase ♪ -♪ Ase ♪ -♪ Come let me say yebo ♪ -♪ Yebo ♪ -♪ Come let me say Amen ♪ -♪ Amen ♪ -♪ Come let me say Ago ♪ -♪ Ago ♪ -♪ Come let me say wau wau ♪ -♪ Wau wau ♪ -♪ Come let me say [ Speaking foreign language ] ♪ -♪ [Speaking foreign language] ♪ -♪ Come let me say ase ♪ -♪ Ase ♪ -♪ Come let me say yebo ♪ -♪ Yebo ♪ -Hah!
-What's up, New York?!
[ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪ -Thank you so much for joining us tonight as we usher back in the return of live theater to New York City!
[ Cheering and applause ] -It's been a long year and a half, y'all.
-But it's so wonderful to be here with you under the stars.
Let's do this!
♪♪ [ Clapping ] -♪ Hey ♪ -♪ Hey, hey ♪ ♪ Hey, hey ♪ ♪ Hey, hey ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ -Pastor Evans, persuade me not.
If he were twenty Falstaffs, he shall not abuse me, Robert Shallow, Esquire.
-If John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto you, I am of the Church and will be glad to do my benevolence to make atonements and compromises between you.
My life, O!
If I were young again, the sword should end it.
-[ Laughs ] It is betta' that friends is the sword and end it.
And there is also another device in my brain -- [ Buzzer ] -Hello!
God bless your house here.
-Who is there?
-Here is God's blessing and your friend Pastor Evans and Mr.
Shallow and here his nephew young Slender.
I'll be right there.
-There is Anne Page, who is 'de daughter of Mr. Kwame Page, which is pretty virginity.
-The beautiful Anne Page?
She has brown hair and speaks sweet-sweet like a woman?
-It is that very person.
If you marry her, then you'll be quite well-compensated.
She has a very big... inheritance.
It were a good motion if we leave our pribbles and prabbles and desire a marriage between Slender and Anne Page.
-I know the young gentlewoman.
She has good, uh, gifts.
-Yes, wealth is most certainly a good gift.
-I'm glad to see your Worships well.
I thank you for my goat meat, Mr.
Page, I am glad to see you.
-And I am glad to see you, good Slender.
-Is Falstaff here?
-He is within, and I would do a good office between you.
-It is spoke as Christians ought to speak.
-He hath wronged me, Mr.
Indeed, he has!
In a word he has.
♪♪ -♪ Here he comes ♪ ♪♪ -Now, Shallow, you'll complain of me?
-Where is the money you owe me Falstaff?
This shall be answered.
I will answer it straight -- I don't have it.
This is now answered.
[ Laughs ] ♪♪ -Peace, peace, I pray you!
♪♪ -♪ It's Anne Page ♪ -♪ It's Anne Page, y'all ♪ -♪ It's Anne Page ♪ -♪ It's Anne Page ♪ ♪♪ -♪ It's Anne Page ♪ -♪ It's Anne Page, y'all ♪ -♪ It's Anne Page ♪ -♪ It's Anne Page ♪ -O heaven, this is the beautiful Anne Page.
-Aye, daughter, carry the palm wine in.
We'll drink within.
-Ah, here are the Merry Wives.
-♪ Oh, oh, oh oh ♪ ♪ It's the Merry Wives, Merry, Merry ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh oh ♪ ♪ It's the Merry Wives, Merry, Merry ♪ -Ekua, bid these gentlemen welcome.
How now, Madam Ford?
-Madam Ford, by my troth, you are very well met.
By your leave, good madam.
-Come, we have a roast goat meat for dinner.
Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
I shall settle this.
-[ Groans ] -Eh-eh!
-Where have you been?
It's just been a wild day.
-You know that I need my coat for this dinner.
-And then the trains was slow.
You know I'm coming from deep in the Bronx.
-I must wait on myself, must I?
-Calm, calm, calm, calm.
A word with you, nephew.
Here is, as it were, a tender -- a kind of tender -- made afar off by Pastor Evans here.
Are you understanding me?
-Eh-hehn, sir, you shall find me reasonable.
If it be so, I shall do that that is reason.
I will describe the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.
-Nay, I will do as my uncle Shallow says.
-But that is not the question.
The question is concerning your marriage.
There's the point, sir.
-Marry, is it, the very point of it -- to Anne Page.
-Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any reasonable demands.
-But can you, eh, affection the woman?
Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips, for philosophers say that the lips are the parcel of the mouth.
-Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?
-I will marry her, sir, at your request.
But if there be no great love in the beginning, I hope upon familiarity we will grow more content.
But if you say marry her -- [ Chuckles ] -- I will marry her.
-Here is the beautiful Anne Page.
The dinner is on the table.
My father desires your worships' company.
-I will wait on him, fair Anne.
-God's blessed will, I will not be absent for grace.
-Will it please your worship to come in, sir?
-No, thank you, heartily.
I'm very well.
-The dinner attends you, sir.
-I am not hungry.
[ Chuckles nervously ] Thank you.
-I pray you, sir, walk in.
-I had rather walk here... Ah, thank you.
-Come, Slender, come.
We stay for you.
-Fair Anne, yourself shall go first.
-Not I, sir.
Pray you, keep on.
-I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome.
-Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius', eh?
And there dwells one Mama Quickly, which is in the manner of his nurse.
-Give this letter to Mama Quickly, for she is a woman that knows the lovely Anne Page, and the letter is to desire and require her to solicit your boss Slender's desires to Anne Page.
-I pray you, be gone, o.
Now let me finish my dinner.
There's plantains and tilapia to come.
♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ -Ay, Pistol!
-Falstaff, my man!
-Do you know a Ford of this town?
He is of substance good.
-My guy, I will tell you what I am about.
-[ Scoffs ] "What you about."
You are about two yards wide.
[ Both laugh ] -No quips now, Pistol!
Yes, I'm in the waist about two yards, but I am now about no waste.
I am about thrift.
-I want to make love to Ford's wife.
I spy, a bit of "entertainment" in her.
She discourses -- mmm.
She carves -- hoo!
You know how they carve.
[ Both laugh ] She gives the leer of invitation.
I can construe the action of her familiar style, and I can hear her saying, "I am yours, Falstaff."
[ Both laugh ] Now, the report goes, she hath all the rule of her husband's purse.
So what's our plan?
-I have written a letter, and here's another to Page's wife -- [ Laughs ] -- who, even now, gave me good eye, too, man.
Sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.
And the sun shines at night.
-Nah, man, I'm serious.
She did course over my exteriors with such a greedy intention that the appetite of her eye did seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass.
She bears the purse, too.
-She's from a region in Ghana, all gold and bounty.
I will be cheaters to them both, they shall be sugar mamas to me.
-We gonna have the Ghanaian and the Nigerian jollof rice.
-[ Laughs ] -Ay!
Go bear this letter to Madam Page and this one to Madam Ford.
And then, my friend, I will thrive.
[ Chuckles ] I mean, uh, you know, we gonna thrive, brother.
You know, we we we.
♪♪ -Y'all heard that?
"I will thrive"?
Falstaff really thinks I'm stupid.
After all these years, he still won't give me what I deserve.
But I'm done playing nice.
I will discuss the foolishness of this "love plan" to Ford.
I will incense Ford to deal with poison.
I will possess him with jealousy.
Yeah, this time, I will finally have my revenge.
♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪ ♪♪ -Ehh.
Mr. Rugby, listen here.
Go to your window and see if you can see my boss, Doctor Caius, coming.
Uh, Patricia Simple you say your name is?
-Aye, yes, for fault of a better one.
And Slender is your boss?
I should remember him.
Does he not hold up his head, as it were, and strut in his gait?
-Yes, indeed, he does!
-Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune.
Tell Pastor Evans I will do what I can for your boss, Slender.
Anne is a good girl, and I wish -- [ Telephone rings ] -Eh-low?
[ Gasps ] Out, alas!
My boss is coming!
We shall all be scolded.
No, no, no!
Run in here.
-Get in the closet!
Yes, he will not stay long.
-♪ Hey, hey, hey, what you say?
♪ ♪ There's nobody in the closet, nay ♪ ♪ Hey, hey, hey, what you say?
♪ ♪ There's nobody in the clo-- ♪ -What is you sing?!
I do not like these toys.
Pray you, go and fetch me in my closet a box.
A green box.
Do intend what I speak?
A green-a box!
-Ay, yes, sir.
I will go and fetch it for you.
-[ Grumbles ] -I am glad he did not go in himself.
If he would have found the young woman, he would have been very upset, yeah.
-Fe, fe, fe, fe.
[ Both whispering ] Ma foi, il fait fort chaud.
Je m'en vais a la cour -- la grande affaire.
-Is it this, sir?
-Oui, mets-le a mon pocket.
By my trot, I tarry too long.
Oh, Od's me.
There is some simples in my closet that I will not, for the world, I shall leave behind.
He'll find Simple in there and be mad!
-[ Gasps ] Diable.
What is in my closet?
-No, no, no, not the rapier!
-Good boss, be content!
-Wherefore shall I be content?
-The young woman is honest.
-So what is the honest woman doing in my closet?
There is no honest person that shall come in my closet.
-I beg you, boss, be not so... cantankerous.
Hear the truth of it.
She came to me on an errand from Pastor Evans.
To desire her to -- -Peace, I pray you.
-Peace-a your tongue.
Speak-a your tale.
-To desire this honest gentlewoman, your nurse, to speak a good word to the marvelous Anne Page for my boss in the way of marriage.
I'll never put my finger in a fire, and need not to.
-Pastor Evans send-a you?
Tarry you a little awhile.
-I am glad he is so quiet -- for once.
But I will do your boss Slender what good I can.
But as for the doctor, least not you, for I keep his clinic, and I clean, I make beds, check in, check out, answer phones, paperwork.
And I do all myself.
-That is a great charge to come under one body's hand.
-Are you advised of that?
You should find it a great charge.
And to be up early and down late.
But notwithstanding -- to tell it to you plain, my boss himself is in love with pretty Anne Page.
-[ Gasps ] -Aye.
But I know Anne's mind for that.
That's neither here nor there.
-You, jack'nape, give-a this letter to Pastor Evans.
By gar, it is a challenge.
I will cut his throat in the park, and I will teach a scurvy jackanape pastor to meddle or make.
I will cut all his two stones.
By gar, he will not have a stone to throw at his dog.
[ Barks ] -Alas, Simple speaks but for her friend.
-It is no matter-a ver dat.
Do not you tell-a me that I shall have Anne Page for myself?
By gar, I will kill the jackpriest, I will myself to have Anne Page.
-Trust me, all shall be well.
We must give people leave to prate.
-Listen, if I have not Anne Page, I will turn your head out of my door.
-You shall have Anne!
No, I know Anne's mind for that.
Never a woman has known more of Anne's mind than I do, nor can do more than I do with her.
I thank heaven for it!
They're going to run up my blood pressure.
I must check it.
They stress me too much.
-Who's within there?
-Who is there, o?
[ Gasps ] Fenton.
Oh, come, come!
I pray you.
-How now, good woman?
How are you?
-Oh, the better that it pleases you to ask.
-So what's the news?
How does pretty Anne Page?
-In truth, and she is pretty, and honest, and gentle, and one that is your friend, I can tell you that, by the way, I praise heaven for it.
-Shall I do anything else?
Shall I not lose my suits?
-In truth, ah, it's all in God's hands.
But notwithstanding, Fenton, I'll be sworn on a book that... she loves you!
[ Laughs ] -Well, I shall see her today.
Hold, there's money for thee.
Let me have thy voice in my behalf.
If you see her before me, put in a good word, yeah?
-In faith, I definitely will.
I am in great haste now!
Truly an honest soul -- and Anne loves her.
For I know Anne's mind as well as another does.
Out upon it.
What have I forgotten?
[ Applause ] ♪♪ -♪ We give glory to the lord, he reigns ♪ ♪ We give glory to the lord, he reigns ♪ ♪ He reigns, he reigns, he reigns ♪ ♪ We bring glory to the lord, he reigns ♪ ♪ We bring glo-- ♪ -Oh!
-♪ To the lord, he reigns ♪ ♪ We bring glory to the Lord, he -- ♪ [ Music stops ] -Too tight?
-Yes, a little bit, o.
Your head is just too soft.
I was just in search for you.
I've got a letter for you.
A love letter, most importantly.
-You say what?
Have I escaped love letters in the holiday time of my beauty, and am I now a subject for them?
Let me see.
-"Ask me no reason why I love you -- you are merry, so am I.
You love palm wine, and so do I."
[ Clears throat ] "So let my love be of service to you, Madam Page -- if the love of a soldier can suffice -- thine own true love, by day or night, or any kind of light, with all his might, for thee to fight, Johnny Falstaff.
[ Scoffs ] Wicked, o. Wicked, wicked world.
-What an unweighed behavior has this 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.
How shall I be revenged on him, for revenged I will be.
[ Cellphone rings ] Eh-low.
Eh, Salima, how now?
Oh, me, I'm fine-fine -- You say what?
Let me come.
No, no, no, I'm not busy.
I'll be right back, yeah?
-[ Scoffs ] -It was too much?
-Oh, yeah, Madam Page.
Me, I was just going to come to your house.
-Hmm, trust me, I was coming to you.
You don't look well, o.
-Nay, I'll never believe that.
And neither should you, ay?
O, Sista Page, give me some counsel.
-What's going on?
-Here, read, read -- perceive.
[ Laughs ] I shall think the worst of fat men as long as I have eye to make difference of men's liking.
I wonder what tempest threw this whale with so many tons of oil in his belly ashore?
How shall I be revenged on him?
I think the best way is to entertain him with hope till the wicked fire of lust melts him into his own grease.
Did you ever hear the like?
Word for word.
It's only that the name of Page and Ford differs.
Here's the twin of thy letter.
I bet he has a thousand of these written with blank spaces for different names.
And he will print them, out of doubt, for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two.
-Why, this is the very same -- the very hand, the very words.
-Who does he think he's fooling?
-It makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty.
-I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal.
For, sure, unless he knows some strain in me that I know not myself, he would never have tried to board my "boat of love" in this fury.
-"Boarding," you call it?
I'll be sure to keep him above deck.
-So will I.
If he come under my hatches, hey, I would sink.
-Because he's so big.
[ Both laugh ] [ Both sigh deeply ] -Let's be revenged on him.
-Let's appoint him a meeting.
If only my husband saw this letter.
It would give eternal food for his jealousy.
-Why, look where he comes -- and my good man, too.
He's as far from jealousy as I am from giving him cause, and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance.
-You are the happier woman.
-Let's consult together against this greasy scoundrel.
Let's get to the revenge part, o.
[ Applause ] ♪♪ -What up, Ford?
-John Falstaff affects thy wife.
-John Falstaff affects thy wife.
He woos both high and low, both rich and poor, young and old, one with another.
-Love my wife?
-[ Laughs ] -With liver burning hot.
-Oof, odious is the name.
-What name, sir?
-The horn, I say.
-Take heed, have an open eye, for thieves do their work at night.
Take heed, because when summer comes, the cuckoo birds do sing.
Believe it, Page.
-He loves your wife -- that's the long and short of it.
How are you?
-How now, Ekua?
-How now, my sweet Nduka?
Why are you melancholy?
I am not melancholy, Nkechi.
Weren't you going home?
-Faith, thou hast some crochets in thy head now, eh?
Madam Page, will you go?
-Have with you.
You'll come to lunch, Kwame.
-Look who's coming.
She shall be our messenger to this scoundrel.
-Trust me, I thought of her.
She'll fit it, o.
-You have come to see my daughter Anne?
And, I pray, how does she?
-Go in with us and see.
We have an hour's talk with you.
-How now, Mr. Ford?
-You heard what that fool told me, did you not?
-Yes, and you heard what he told me?
Do you think there's truth in it?
-If he should intend this voyage toward my wife, I would turn her loose to him.
-And what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.
-I do not misdoubt my wife, but I would be loath to turn them together.
A man may be too confident.
I would have nothing lie on my head.
I cannot be thus satisfied.
Page, will you go with me?
We have a problem in hand.
There is a fight to be fought between Pastor Evans, the priest, and Doctor Caius.
"By gar, by gar, by gar!"
Will you go with me to behold it?
-And I have heard the Doctor hath good skill with his weapons.
-Here, men, here.
Shall we go?
-Have with you.
I would rather hear them scold than fight.
-Though Page is a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty, I cannot put off my opinion so easily.
She was in his company at Page's house, and what they made there I know not.
Well, I will look further into it, and I have a very good disguise so Falstaff will not know it is me.
If I find her honest, I lose not my labor.
But if not, it is labor well bestowed.
[ Applause ] ♪♪ [ Dramatic music plays, video game sound effects play ] ♪♪ [ Doorbell ringing ] -I give your Excellency good morrow.
-Good morrow, Mama Quickly.
[ Door buzzer ] Ha!
Pssh pssh pssh!
Pssh pssh pssh pssh pssh!
Shall I have a word or two with you, your Excellency?
-You shall have two thousand, fair woman.
Well, there is one Madam Ford, sir.
-Well, on -- Madam Ford, you say?
-Uh-huh, she's a good creature, yes.
Lord, your Excellency is quite desirable.
-[ Laughs ] -Oh.
Heaven forgive you and all of us, I pray.
So, here is the short and long of it -- you have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis wonderful.
She has received your letter, for which she thanks you a thousand times, and she wants you to know that her husband will not be home between, eh, 10:00 and 11:00.
-Mm, 10:00 and 11:00.
Her husband, Mr. Ford, will be away from the home.
Alas, the sweet woman leads an ill life with him -- he's a very jealous-jealous man, o.
-Ooh, 10:00 and 11:00, huh?
[ Laughs ] Woman, commend me to her -- I will not fail her.
But I have another message for you, your Excellency.
Madam Page has her hearty commendations on you, too.
And let me tell you in your ear, she's as fatuous a modest, civil wife, and one -- I tell you -- who will not miss you morning nor evening prayer, whoever be the other.
And she told me to tell you that her husband seldom leaves the house, but she hopes there will someday come a time.
[ Both laugh ] Surely, I think you have charms.
Yes, in truth.
-Not I, I assure you.
Setting the attraction of my good parts aside, I have no other charms.
-Bless your heart.
-Now I pray you, tell me this -- has Ford's wife and Page's wife acquainted each other of how they love me?
-[ Laughs ] That were a jest indeed.
They have not such little grace, I hope.
-Well, commend me to them both.
There's my money.
-I am in debt to you.
-Falstaff, there's one Mr. Brook outside who would like to speak with and be acquainted with you and has sent you a morning's draught of Jamaican rum.
-Mm, Brook is his name?
-Call him in.
Such brooks are welcome that overflows such liquor.
[ Laughs ] Madam Ford and Madam Page, have I encompassed you?
[ Reggae music plays ] ♪♪ -God bless you, mon.
-And you, sir.
Uh, would you speak with me?
-Me make bold ta' press wit' so little preparation upon you.
-You're welcome, sir.
What's your will?
-Mi name's Brook, uh, mon.
-Good Mr. Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.
-Good Falstaff, I sue for yours or not ta' charge you, for I must make you understand me 'tink me-self in better condition for a lender than you are, the which has something emboldened me ta' this unseasoned intrusion, for they say if money go before, all ways do lie open.
-Ah, money talks.
Always has, always will.
-Truth, and I have a bag of money 'ere that troubles me.
If you will help ta' bear it, Falstaff, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage.
-Fam, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.
-I will tell you, brother, if you will give me the hearing.
-Speak, good Mr. Brook.
I'd be glad to be your servant.
-There is a gentlewoman in this town.
Her husband's name is Ford?
-And I have long loved her, I protest to you, and bestowed much on her, followed her with a doting observance, engrossed opportunities to meet her, bought many presents to give to her.
Briefly, I have pursued her as love has pursued me -- which is, like, you know, all the time.
Anyway, whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind or in my means, I have yet to receive any reward for all the good I've done.
-Have you received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?
-Have you importuned her to such a purpose?
-Of what quality is your love, then, man?
-Like a fair house built on another man's ground, so that I have lost me edifice by mistaking the place where I built it.
-To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?
-When I have told you that, I have told you all.
Now, some say that, though she appear honest, in other places, her behavior suggestive of something more suspicious.
-Now, Falstaff, here is the heart of my purpose -- you are a...gentleman of excellent breeding... -Ah.
-...and admirable discourse and of great admittance.
-Oh, come on, man.
-Believe it, for you know it.
'Dere's the money.
-Spend it, spend it, spend more, spend all me have, only give me so much of your time in exchange of it as to lay an amiable siege as to the honesty of this woman.
Use your...art of wooing -- [ Chuckles ] -- win her to consent to you.
-Mr. Brook, first, I will make bold with your money.
-[ Laughs ] Next, give me your hand.
And last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
Good, good, good!
I say you shall, man.
-Want no money, Mr. Falstaff, you shall want none.
-You shall want no Madam Ford, Mr. Brook.
You shall want none.
Now, uh, I'mma be with her.
-I may tell you, by her own appointment.
Between 10:00 -- whoo!
-- and 11:00.
For at that time, the jealous, rascally fool, her husband, will be gone.
So come to me at night, and you shall know how I speed.
-I-I am blessed in your acquaintance.
And -- And ya' know who Ford is?
I know him not.
Yet they say the jealous wittolly knave has masses of money.
-For the which his wife seems to me well-favored.
[ Both laugh ] I will use her as the key... -Uh-huh.
-...to the cuckoldy rogue's coffers.
-Oh, I -- I would that you knew Ford, that ya' might avoid him if you saw him.
Oh, pssh, pssh!
I will stare him out of his wits, I will awe him -- Whoo!
Pfsh, pbsh, pbsh!
Pbt, pfsh pfsh pfsh, pfsh pfsh -- with my club!
I will hang like LeBron James over the cuckold's horns.
And this, Mr. Brook, you shalt know him for knave and cuckold.
-Come to me soon.
-Who says this is improvident jealousy?
My wife has sent to him, the hour is set, the match is made.
Would any man have thought this?
Now -- Now you see the hell of having a false woman, eh?
My bed will be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation done.
Oh, the devil himself has not such a name.
Page is an ass, a foolish ass.
He will trust his wife.
He will not be jealous.
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.
Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
Cuckold, cuckold, cuckold!
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!
[ Applause ] -I pray you now, good Slender's servingman and friend Simple by your name, which way have you looked for Doctor Caius, that calls himself a physician?
-Marry, sir, the Petty-ward, the Park-ward, every way but the town way.
-I most vehemently desire you will also look that way.
-I will, sir.
-[ Laughs ] -Bless my soul, how sick I am and trembling of mind.
I shall be glad if he has deceived me.
Oh, how scared I am.
Why does Doctor Caius want to fight me?
Why would he do this, o?
Lord, please, bless my soul.
♪ Amazing grace, where are you now?
♪ ♪ I need you here with meeee ♪ ♪ I've said a prayer ♪ What?
Can't you hear?
♪ Lord, please show up for me ♪ Mercy on me, I am very much about to cry.
-Hey, look out here!
He's coming this way, Pastor Evans!
Heaven prosper the right.
-By gar, he is the coward jack-priest of the world.
I pray you bear witness.
He is no come.
-He is the wiser man, Dr. Caius.
He is a curer of souls, and you a curer of bodies.
If you should fight, you go against the hair of your profession.
-Is it not true, Mr.
Shallow, you have yourself been a great fighter, though now a man of peace.
-Eh, by God's body, Mr.
Though I now be old and of the peace, if I see a sword out, my finger itches to make one.
[ Sighs ] Though we are justices and doctors and churchmen, Mr.
Page, we have some salt of our youth in us.
We are the sons of women, Mr.
-Ah, sweet Anne Page!
-Oh, sweet baby Jesus!
-Good Pastor Evans, put away your weapon.
-So do you, good Doctor Caius.
-By gar, you are the coward, the Jack dog, the rat!
-Don't hold me back!
-Don't hold me back!
-Jesus, take the wheel!
[ Both shouting ] -Pray you, let us not be laughingstocks to other men's humors.
-You are the laughingstock!
-I will prescribe a beating to you, Doctor!
[ Both shouting ] -I desire you in friendship.
-Why did you send that letter?
-I just want love to win.
[ Both grunting ] -Oh!
-P-e-e-e-e-eace, I say!
[ Chuckles ] Hear me.
Am I a schemer?
Am I subtle?
Shall I lose my doctor?
He gives me the potions and the motions.
Shall I lose my pastor, my priest?
No, he gives me the proverbs and the no-verbs.
Give me your hand, so.
Give me your hand, so!
Your hearts are mighty, your skins are whole, and let spilled wine be the issue.
-[ Sighs ] Pea-ce.
[ Cheering ] -Follow me, brothers of peace!
That Anne Page.
She is so fine-fine.
Look at what she's doing to my heart.
[ Applause ] -Well met, Madam Page.
Where are you going?
-To see your wife.
Is she in?
-As idle as she may hang together, for want of company.
[ Chuckles ] You two -- I think if your husbands were dead, you would marry.
-Be sure of that -- two other husbands.
[ Laughs ] -[ Laughs awkwardly ] -Your wife is there, indeed?
-Indeed, she is.
-By your leave, sir.
I am sick till I see her.
[ Door bell jingles ] -Has Page any brains?
Does he think?
Good plots they are laid, and our revolted wives share damnation together, hey.
Well, I will show him, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so-seeming Madam Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and willful cuckold, and to these violent proceedings all my neighbors shall cry aim.
The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search.
There I shall find Falstaff.
Let me see.
-Well met, Mr. Ford.
-I have good cheer, and I pray you all go with me.
-I must excuse myself, Mr. Ford.
-And so must I, sir.
I have an appointment to dine with the dazzling Anne Page, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.
-We have lingered about a match between Anne Page and my nephew Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.
-I hope I have your good will, Father Page.
-You have, Slender.
I stand wholly for you.
-[ Clears throat ] -But my wife, Doctor Caius, is for you altogether.
-Ay, by gar, and your daughter is in love-a me.
-My nurse-a Quickly tell me so mush.
-I ask heartily, some of you go with me.
Besides your cheer, you shall have sport.
I will show you a monster.
Dr. Caius, you shall go, and you, Pastor Evans, and you, Mr.
I will show you a monster!
[ Applause ] ♪♪ -Chiagozie?
Is the laundry-basket -- -I warrant.
What, Chiagozie, I say.
-Come, come, come.
-Here, set it down.
-Give her the charge.
We must be brief.
-Marry, as I told you before, Chiagozie, be ready here, hard by, in the back, and, when I suddenly call you, come forth.
And without any pause or staggering, take this basket.
That done, trudge with it in all haste, and empty it into the muddy ditch close by the river.
-You will do it?
-Marry, I have told her over and over.
Go, and come when you are called.
Madam Page, remember your cue, eh.
-I'll remember, but if I do not act it, hiss me.
Go to, then.
[ Door bell jingles ] [ Giggles ] [ Chuckles ] Oops!
[ Laughs ] Oh.
[ Door bell jingles ] [ Chuckles ] -♪ Hooooo, ooh-hoo, hoo ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ooh ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh, ooh, hooooo ♪ -[ Sniffs ] -♪ Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel?
♪ ♪ Why, now let me die, let me die, hunh ♪ ♪ For I have lived long en-o-o-ough ♪ ♪ This is the period of my ♪ [ Breathes deeply ] ♪ Ambiti-o-o-o-o-on ♪ ♪ O, O, O, O, O, O, O ♪ ♪ This blessed hour ♪ ♪ I love ya, baby ♪ -[ Laughs ] Oh.
O, sweet Falstaff.
-Oh, Madam -- Madam...Ford, I cannot cog.
I cannot prate, Madam Ford.
But now shall I sin in my wish -- I would your husband were dead.
And then, I would make thee my woman.
I should be a pitiful lady.
Ooh, oh, the shoulder.
Oh, the shoulder, the shoulder.
[ Chuckles ] Ooh!
What made me love thee?
Let that persuade thee that there's something extraordinary in thee.
I cannot duplicitously say... -Duplicitici-what?
-...that thou art this or thou are that.
♪ But I do love you, and no one but you ♪ ♪ And you, and you ♪ -[ Gasps, laughs ] -♪ And you, you gonna love me ♪ -[ Laughs ] -♪ Love me, love -- ♪ Ooh!
Well, heaven knows how I love you, and you shall one day find it.
Keep in that mind.
'Cause I'mma deserve it.
-Nay, I must tell you, so you do, or else I could not be in that mind -- [ Knock on door ] There's Madam Page at the door!
-She shall not see me 'cause I will hide myself.
-Pray you, do so.
She's a very tattling woman.
[ Door bell jingles, door closes ] Why, what's the matter?
-O Sista Ford, what have you done?
You are shamed, you are overthrown, you are undone forever!
-What's the matter, Ekua?
-O well-a-day, Nkechi, having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion.
-What cause of suspicion?
-You say what?
-[ Groans ] How am I mistook in you.
-Why, alas, what's the matter?
-Your husband's coming, woman, to search for a gentleman that he says is here now, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence.
You are undone.
-'Tis not so, I hope.
-Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here.
But 'tis most certain your husband's coming to search for such a one.
I come before to tell you.
If you know yourself clear, why, I am glad of it.
But if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out!
Be not amazed!
-[ Gasps ] -Call all your senses to you, defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life forever!
-What shall I do?
There is a gentleman, my dear friend... -[ Gasps, cries ] -...and I fear not mine own shame so much as his peril.
-Shame on you, o!
-Shame on me, o!
-Your husband's here at hand!
O, how have you deceived me.
My friend, adulteress -- why, o!
-Look, here is a basket.
If he is of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here, and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to washing.
It's bleaching time.
-He's too big to go in there.
What shall I do?
-Let me see it!
Let me see it, let me see it!
-[ Gasps ] -Eee!
-Let me in, let me in!
Follow your friend's counsel.
Let me in!
-Are these your letters?
♪ ♪ Is it me you're looking for?
♪ -Call Chiagozie, Sista Ford.
You dissembling, foolish man.
Take the basket -- quickly, quickly!
[ Door bell jingles ] -Pray you, come near.
If I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest, I deserve it.
Whither bear you this?
-Why, what have you to do whither he bear it?
You were best meddle with laundry washing.
Anyway, gentlemen, I have dreamed tonight.
I will tell you my dream, eh?
Here be my keys.
Ascend my chambers.
Search, seek, find out!
I'll warrant we'll unkennel the fox.
Let me stop this way first.
So now, escape, you adulterer.
-Good Mr. Ford, be contented -- you wrong yourself too much.
Up, gentlemen, heh?
You shall see sport now-now.
Follow me, gentlemen.
-This is very fantastical humor and jealousy.
-Let's follow him, gentlemen, see the issue of his search.
[ Both laugh ] -Is there not a double excellency in this?
-I don't know which pleases me better -- that my husband is deceived, or Falstaff.
-What a taking was he in when your husband asked about the basket.
[ Both laugh ] -I think my husband has some special suspicion of Falstaff being here, for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.
-I will lay a plot to try that, and we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff.
His dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.
-Shall we send that crazy Mama Quickly to him, and excuse his throwing into the water, and give him another hope, to betray him to another punishment?
-We will do it.
-Let him be sent for tomorrow around 8:00 to have amends.
-I cannot find him.
Maybe the scoundrel bragged of that he could not compass.
-Did you hear that?
-You use me well, darling, do you?
-Eh-heh, I-I-I do so.
-Heaven make you better than your thoughts.
-You do yourself mighty wrong Mr. Ford.
I-I must bear it.
-If there be anybody in here, heaven forgive my sins on the day of judgment.
-Aye, by gar, nor I, too -- there is nobodies.
-Look here, Mr. Ford, are you not ashamed?
What spirit, what devil suggests this imagination?
-It is my fault, Mr.
I suffer for it.
-You suffer for a bad conscience.
Your wife is as honest a woman as I will desire among five thousand, and five hundred, too.
-Aye, by gar, I see this as an honest woman.
-I pray you pardon me.
I will hereafter make known to you why I have done this, eh?
Come, wife, come, Madam Page.
Walk in the park?
The -- The -- The park?
-[ Sucks on tongue ] -Hey-ya!
-I do invite you tomorrow morning to my house for breakfast.
After, we'll go to the park for some bird watching together.
Shall it be so?
-If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
-If there be one or two, I shall make-a the turd [third].
-Pray you go, gentlemen, eh?
[ Applause ] ♪♪ -[ Grunting ] [ Breathing heavily ] Oh, sorry.
[ Grunting ] Ugh!
He's so heavy.
Oh, my goodness.
[ Grunting ] Pardon, pardon.
[ Breathing heavily ] [ Grunting ] Aah!
-Son of a bitch!
[ Water splashing ] [ Cheers and applause ] -I see I cannot get your father's love.
Therefore no more send me to him, sweet Anne.
-Alas, how then?
-Why, thou must be thyself.
Your father doth object and tells me 'tis a thing impossible I should love thee.
So you think he tells you true?
No, God so speed me in my time to come.
-Then seek my father's love.
Seek it now.
-Break their talk, Mama Quickly.
My nephew shall speak for himself.
-Excuse me, Slender would speak a word with you.
-I'll come to him.
-And how does good, Fenton?
I pray, a word with you.
-This, Slender, is my father's choice.
He is perfectly nice and is as handsome as his worth.
And while I vow to always do the right thing and make my father proud, it is Fenton who has my heart today, tomorrow, and forever.
-Oh, she's coming -- to her, nephew.
O, tell her about your father.
-I had a father, exquisite Anne.
-[ Chuckles ] He was so funny.
My uncle can tell you good jests of him.
Pray you, good uncle, tell Anne Page the jest how my father stole all this toilet paper from the store.
[ Chuckles ] -Beautiful Anne, my nephew loves you.
-Yes, that I do, as well as I love any woman.
Um -- -[ Grumbles ] He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
Shallow, let him woo for himself.
-Marry, I thank you for it.
I thank you for that good comfort.
She -- She calls you, nephew.
[ Chuckles ] Ah.
I'll leave you.
Slender... -Now, good Anne Page... -What is your will?
[ Chuckles nervously ] God's heartlings, that's a pretty jest, indeed.
I haven't made my will yet, I thank heaven.
I am not such a sickly creature, praise God.
Slender, I mean what do you want from me?
-Truly, for mine own part, I would want little or nothing from you, except your -- -Hey!
Your heart, of course!
Your father and mine uncle have made motions on my behalf.
If it be my luck, that's, um, fine-fine.
Um, if not, may fate reward the lucky man.
They can tell you how things go better than I can.
You can ask your father, or -- Oh, look -- here he comes!
-Now, Slender... [ Laughs ] ...love him, daughter Anne.
Why, how now?
Why is Fenton here?
You wrong me, thus still to haunt my house.
I told you, my daughter is disposed of!
Page, be not impatient.
-Good Fenton, come not to my child.
-She is no match for you.
-Sir, will you hear me?
-No, good Fenton.
-Come, Shallow, come, son Slender, in.
Knowing my mind, you wrong me, Fenton.
-Speak to Madam Page.
-Good Madam Page.
For that I love your daughter, in such a righteous fashion as I do, perforce, against all checks, rebukes, and manners, I must advance the colors of my love and not retire.
Let me have your good will.
-Good mother, do not marry me to that fool.
I seek you a better husband.
-That's my boss, Dr. Caius.
I'd rather be set quick in the earth and beaten to death with a bag of cocoyams.
Trouble not yourself.
Good Fenton, I will not be your friend, nor enemy.
My daughter will I question how she loves you, and as I find her, so am I affected.
Till then, farewell.
She must go inside.
Her father will be angry.
-Farewell, gentle Madam.
Farewell, dearest Anne.
-This is my doing now.
I told her, I said, "Madam Page, would you set your child up with a fool or a physician?
Look on Fenton."
Oh, this is my doing now.
-I thank you.
And I pray, at some point tonight, give my sweet Anne this ring.
-There's for thy pain.
-Now heaven send you good fortune.
A kind heart she hath.
One would run through fire and water for such a kind heart.
[ Gasps ] But yet I would that my boss had Anne Page, or I would Slender had her, or, in sooth, I would Fenton had her.
[ Gasps ] I will do what I can for all three of them, for so I have promised, and I will be as good as my word, ay!
Well, I must of another errand to Falstaff from the two madams.
What a beast am I to slack it.
♪♪ -[ Groaning ] [ Strains ] [ Gasps ] [ Coughing ] [ Grunting ] I'll call you guys tomorrow!
Have I lived to be carried in a basket like a box of rotten meat and to be thrown in the river?
In the river.
I mean, you may know by my size I have a kind of alacrity in sinking.
I mean, if the bottom were as deep as hell, I should have drowned.
A death I abhor, for water swells a man, and what a thing should I have been when I had been swelled.
I would have been a mountain of mummy.
By your leave, I cry you mercy.
Give your worship good morrow.
I come to you from Madame Ford.
I've had enough of Ford.
I was thrown into the ford.
My belly is full of... [ Groaning ] [ Vomits ] ...Ford!
-[ Coughs ] Alas the day, good heart.
That was not her fault.
She does so take on with her men.
They mistook their "erection" -- pardon, direction.
-So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's promise.
-Well, she laments, sir, for it, that it would yearn your heart to see.
Uh, her husband goes this morning birding, and she desires you once more to come to her, between, uh, 8:00 and 9:00, sir.
I must send word to her quickly.
She'll make amends with you, I promise you.
-Well, tell her I will visit her.
But tell her to think what a man is.
Let her consider his frailty, and then judge of my merit.
-I will tell her.
Between 9:00 and 10:00, you say.
-No, no, 8:00 and 9:00, sir.
-Okay, well, be gone.
I will not miss her.
-[ Laughs ] Peace be with you, sir.
-I marvel I hear not of Mr. Brook.
He sent me word to stay within.
I like his money well.
[ Ringing ] Oh.
-God bless you, brother.
-Here he comes.
[ Buzz ] Mr. Brook, you come to know what has passed between me and Ford's wife.
-That, indeed, is my business, Falstaff.
-I will not lie to you, Mr. Brook.
I was at her house the hour she appointed me.
-And how did it go?
-Very ill-favoredly, Mr. Brook.
-Why so, sir?
Did she change her mind?
But her husband, dwelling in a continual state of jealousy, came to me in the instant of our encounter.
I mean, after we had -- You know, we embraced, you know?
I mean, we ki-- We kissed.
You know, we protested.
I mean, you know how you protest?
-[ Laughing ] Yeah.
-We spoke the prologue of our comedy, and, at his heels, a rabble of companions who were provoked and instigated by his distemper and, therefore, followed to search for his wife's lover.
-Well, and -- well, and while you were there?
-While I was there, fam.
-And -- and -- and -- and -- and did he search for you and could not find you?
-C-C-C-C-Can I finish?
As good luck would have it, Madame Page comes in and gives intelligence of Ford's approach, and in her invention, and Ford's wife's distraction, they conveyed me into a laundry basket.
-A laundry basket?!
-A laundry basket.
Man, I was crammed in with foul shirts, socks, smocks, foul stockings, and greasy napkins.
Man, when I tell you, that was the rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended a nostril.
-And -- and -- and -- and how -- how long were you in there?
-Let me tell you, Mr. Brook.
Let me tell you, Mr. Brook, 'cause whew!
What I have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your good.
I was crammed in the basket, and then one of Ford's knaves, his hinds, was called forth by his wife to carry me, and met the lunatic knave at the door.
He asked once or twice, "What's in the basket?!"
And I quaked for fear, lest the lunatic fool would have searched it, but fate protected me.
On went he for a search, and away went I in foul clothes, half stewed in grease, thrown into the river.
It was a miracle to escape suffocation.
Think about it, Mr. Brook.
-Think about it, Mr. Brook.
-Think about it, Mr. Brook!
-[ Crying ] -Oh, God!
It was so stinky!
-Oh, in good sadness, sir, me sorry that for my sake you have suffered all this.
M-M-M-My suit, then, is desperate, heh?
You will undertake her no more, huh?
Well... you know, her husband has this morning gone bird-watching.
I have received another embassy of meeting from her.
Between, uh, 8:00 and 9:00 is the hour.
-But it's past 8:00 already, sir.
Okay, I will address me to my appointment.
Okay, come to me at your most convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed.
And the conclusion shall be crowned with "Playa!"
-[ Laughs ] -With your enjoying her.
See you soon, fam.
You shall have her, Mr. Brook.
Mr. Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.
-[ Laughs ] -Alright.
You know what?
-I'mma need all those, 'cause it's gonna be a long night.
[ Both laugh ] -Hey, God, is this a vision?
♪♪ Is this a dream?
Do I sleep?
Mr. Ford, awake.
Awake, Mr. Ford.
This 'tis to be married, this 'tis to have linen and foul laundry baskets!
Well, I will now take the lecher.
He cannot escape me.
It is impossible that he should.
But lest the devil that guides him should aid him, oh, I will search impossible places.
Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not shall not make me tame.
If I have horns to make one mad, hey, let the proverb go with me.
I shall be horn-mad, oh!
-♪ Unh ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ ♪ And me holiday ♪ ♪♪ ♪ And I don't know what to do ♪ ♪♪ ♪ Johnny boy, Johnny boy ♪ ♪ I'm looking for my John ♪ ♪ Where is my Johnny?
♪ ♪ Johnny boy ♪ ♪ Do you know Johnny?
♪ ♪ Question ♪ ♪ If I no see my Johnny ♪ -♪ Johnny ♪ -♪ Ah ♪ ♪ Looking for my Johnny ♪ ♪ I'm looking for my honey ♪ -♪ Yeah, yeah ♪ -♪ Tellin' me this, tellin' me that ♪ ♪ They say this is not for me ♪ ♪ Johnny, Johnny ♪ -Oh.
-♪ He's doing me this, he's doing me that ♪ -[ Laughs ] -Oh!
Oh, it's Johnny!
-[ Laughs ] Madame Ford, your sorrow has eaten up my suffering.
I see you are obsequious in your love.
I profess requital, Madame Ford, not only in the simple office of love, but in all the, uh... accoutrement... and the compliment... and ceremony of it.
But are you sure of your husband now?
-He's bird-watching, Johnny.
-[ Laughs ] -Okay.
-[ Laughs ] Giddyup!
Sista Ford, hello!
Step into the back, Johnny.
-She's always wrecking my flow, man!
[ Bells jingling ] -How now, Nkechi?
Who's here besides yourself?
-Why, none but mine own staff.
-Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.
-What do you mean "why," woman?
Your husband is in his old tricks again.
He so takes on yonder with my husband, so rails against all married mankind, so curses all Eve's daughters, and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying "Look out, oh!
But I am glad that that Eiiii Obolo is not here.
-Why, does he talk of him?
-Of none but him and swears he was carried out, the last time they searched for him, in a basket.
Protests to my husband he is here now and draws him and the rest of their company from their sport to make another experiment of his suspicion.
But I am glad that Falstaff is not here.
Now he shall see his own foolery.
-How near is he, Sista Page?
-Hard by, at street end.
He will be here soon!
-[ Gasps ] Dear God!
I am undone!
He is here!
[ Crying ] -Shame, shame, shame!
-Away with him, away with him.
Better shame than murder.
-Which way should he go?
How should I bestow him?
Should I put him into the basket again?
I'll come no more in the laundry basket.
May I not go out before they come?
Three of Mr. Ford's brothers watch the door with weapons, that none shall issue out.
-Oh, what shall I do?
Shall I creep up onto the fire escape?
-He will seek there, on my word.
-Creep into the storage closet.
-Well, where is it?!
There's no hiding you here.
-And if you go out in your own semblance, you die, Johnny, unless you go out disguised.
-How might we disguise him?
I don't know.
There is no garment big enough for him.
-Good hearts, please devise something, anything.
-My auntie's uncle's cousin... the old man of Benin, has some clothes in the back.
-On my word, it will serve him.
-He's as big as Falstaff is.
And there's his big dashiki and matching walking cane, too.
Run in and hide, Johnny.
-Go, go, sweet Johnny.
Madame Page and I will look for those things for you.
Hey, I would my husband would meet him in this shape.
He cannot stand the old man of Benin.
He swears he is a soothsayer or witch doctor or something-something and has forbade him from coming here.
He has even threatened to beat him.
-Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards.
-But is my husband coming?
In good sadness is he, and talks of the basket, too, howsoever he has had intelligence.
I will bring the basket straight.
We cannot misuse him enough.
We'll leave proof, by that which we will do.
Wives may be merry and yet honest, too.
Here, take the basket again.
[ Laughs ] Your boss is hard at the door.
If he bid you to set it down, obey him, eh?
[ Bells jingling ] -Ay, but if it prove true, Mr.
Page, have you any way, then, to unfool me again, huh?
Have you, now?
Set down the basket, villain!
Oh, somebody call my wife.
O, you panderly rascal.
There is a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy against me.
Now shall the devil be shamed.
What, wife, come!
Come, I say!
What honest clothes you send forth to bleaching.
-Why, this passes?
Mr. Ford, you are not to go loose any longer.
You must be caught.
-Indeed, Mr Ford.
This is not well, indeed.
-So say I too, sir.
Madame Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, oh, oh, the virtuous creature -- ha!
-- that has the jealous fool to her husband.
I suspect without cause, do I?
Hey, hey, hey!
-Heaven be my witness you do, if you suspect me of any dishonesty.
Well said, brazen-face.
Hold it out.
Hold it out.
Come here, girl.
-Are you not ashamed?
Let the clothes alone.
-As I am a man, there was one conveyed out of this basket yesterday.
Why wouldn't he be here again, heh?
I am sure of it.
My intelligence is true, my jealousy reasonable now.
-If you find a man in there, he shall die a flea's death.
Ah-- Here's no man.
-This is not well, Mr. Ford.
This wrongs you.
-Mr. Ford, you must pray and not follow the imaginations of your own heart.
This is jealousies.
-He's not here I seek for.
-No, nor nowhere else but in your brain.
-Help me to search one more time.
-If I find not what I seek for, satisfy me no more, eh?
Let me forever be your table-sport, huh?
Show no color for my extremity.
Satisfy me once more, huh?
Search with me once more.
Come you and the old man out.
My husband will come into the back.
What old man is that?
-Why, it is my auntie's uncle's cousin, the old man of Benin.
The witch doctor!
-Have I not forbid him and his family from here?
My -- my -- my property, my place of business?
Nkechi, why... Hey!
[ Indistinct shouting ] Out, I say!
-Nay, good sweet husband, no!
-I'm an old man.
I'm such an old man.
Out of my door, you witch.
[ Indistinct shouting ] [ Thud ] -Oh!
[ Thud ] Oh!
[ Thud ] -Oh, my gow!
-Watch out, fam!
Old man coming through!
-Are you not ashamed?
I think you have killed the poor man.
-Nay, he will do it.
'Tis a goodly credit to you.
-By yea and no, I think the man is the old witch doctor of Benin, indeed.
Yet, there was something different about him.
I cannot put my finger on it.
-Will you follow, gentlemen?
I beseech you, follow, see but the issue of my jealousy.
If I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust when I open again.
-Let's obey his humor a little further.
[ Both laugh ] -Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
-Nay, by the mass, he did not.
He beat him most unpitifully, I thought.
-I'll have the cudgel hallowed and hung over the altar.
It has done meritorious service.
-♪ Oh, ommm ♪ [ Both laugh ] What do you think?
May we, with the warrant of womanhood and the witness of good conscience, pursue him to any further revenge?
-The spirit of wantonness is sure scared out of him.
-Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?
-Yes, by all means, if it be but to scrape the memories out of your husband's brains.
-I warrant they'll have him publicly shamed.
-Come, to the forge with it, then shape it.
We need to strike while the iron is hot.
♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] -You didn't expect to see me over here, did you?
Neither did I.
[ Chuckles ] You know what?
It's been a long, hard year, y'all.
Y'all know what I'm talking about.
I mean, it's been a long, hard year.
If y'all know what I'm talking about, let me hear you say, "Hell yeah."
Couldn't go to the clubs.
Couldn't hit up the bars.
Liquor stores closed all early.
Just stuck in the house, eating snacks, watching Netflix, HBO Max, bored out my got-damned mind.
If y'all what I'm talking about, let me hear you say, "Hell yeah."
-So can you blame me for wanting to get with Madame Page and Madame Ford?
They some merry wives, man.
Just as fine as they wanna be.
[ Cheers and applause ] Yeah, yeah.
Don't even think about it, my Caucasian friend.
They'll have you stuck out here like me, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
And, no, I ain't going down there because they got raccoons down there.
I mean, look, if y'all understand me, if you sympathize with my situation, let me hear you say, "We feel you, Falstaff."
-We feel you, Falstaff!
Got me out here in the middle of the park dressed like I'm some ol' Black Dumbledore.
[ Bells jingling ] Oh, shoot!
-And after that, Chiagozie rolled him into the river.
And that is what we did to catch him.
-That is the most impressive plan I've ever heard.
-And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
-Within a quarter of an hour.
-[ Laughs ] [ Clears throat ] [ Laughs ] I pray you, pardon me, wife.
Henceforth, do what you want.
I rather will suspect the sun with cold than you of wantonness.
Now doth thy honor stand, in him who was of late an heretic.
As firm as faith.
-Fine, fine, fine.
Be not as extreme in submission as in offense.
[ Both laugh ] But let our plot go forward.
Let our wives yet once again, to make us public sport, appoint a meeting with this portly fellow, where we may take him and disgrace him for it.
-There is no better way than that they spoke of.
-How, to send him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight?
Fie, fie, he'll never come.
-You say he has been thrown in rivers and has been grievously beaten as an old man.
I think there should be terrors in him, that he should not come.
-So think I, too.
-Devise but how to use him when he comes and let us two devise to bring him thither.
-There is an old tale goes that Abeeku the Hunter, sometime a keeper here in the park, doth all the summertime, at still midnight, walk 'round about an oak with great ragged horns.
And there he blasts the tree and takes the wild animals and makes a drink out of their blood in a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit.
-Yes, there are many who fear in deep of night to walk by this Abeeku's oak.
But what of this?
-Marry, this should be our plan -- that Falstaff meet us by the oak tree, disguised like Abeeku, with huge horns on his head.
-Let it not be doubted but he'll come.
-And in this shape, when you have brought him thither, what should be done with him?
What is your plot?
-That likewise have we thought upon, and thus -- three or four, we'll dress like spirits, traditional bright tapers on their heads and rattles in their hands.
Upon a sudden, as Falstaff, she, and I are newly met, let them from forth a sawpit rush at once with disorienting song.
'Pon their sight, we two, in great amazedness, will fly.
Then let them all encircle him about, and, spirit-like, to pinch the unclean fool and ask him why, that hour of spirit revel, in their so sacred paths he dares to tread in shape profane.
-Until he tells the truth, let the supposed spirits pinch him sound and burn him with their taper!
[ Cheers and applause ] You know, to scare him good, oh.
-The truth being known, we'll all present ourselves, dishorn the spirit, and mock him home.
-That will be excellent.
-my Anne shall be among the spirits, finely attired in a mask of white.
-That I will go buy.
And in that time shall Slender steal my Anne away and marry her.
Go, send to Falstaff straight.
-Let us about it, oh!
-Go, Madame Ford.
Send now-now to Johnny Falstaff to know his mind.
♪♪ I'll speak to Caius.
He has my goodwill, and none but he to marry my daughter.
That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot.
And he my husband best of all affects.
The doctor is well moneyed, and his friends all powerful.
He, none but he, shall have her, though 20,000 worthier come to crave her.
[ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ -I would all the world might be deceived, for I have been deceived and beaten, too.
If it should come to the ear of everyone how I have been transformed and how my transformation has been washed and cudgeled, they would melt me out of my fat drop by drop.
I warrant they would whip me with their fine wits till I were as lifeless as a dried pear.
Well, if I were in better shape, I would repent.
Now, where did you come from?
-From the two parties, forsooth.
-The devil take one party, his dam the other, so they shall be both bestowed.
I have ssss...ssss...ssss... suffered more for their sakes, more than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.
-And Madame Ford and Madame Page, have they not ssss....suffered?
-What about me?!
I was like to be apprehended for an old-man witch doctor.
Yet, my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old man delivered me.
-Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber.
You shall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content, here -- here is a letter that explains things somewhat.
Good hearts, what I do is to bring you together.
-Well, come up to my chamber.
[ Mumbling indistinctly ] -Talk not to me.
My mind is heavy Fenton.
-Yet hear me speak, Pistol.
Assist me in my purpose.
I'll give you $100 more than your loss.
-I will hear you.
And I will, at the least, keep your counsel.
-From time to time, I have made it known to you the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page, who loves me, too.
So far forth as herself might be her chooser, even to my wish.
Tonight at Abeeku's oak, around 12:00 and 1:00, must my sweet Anne be presented as a spirit, in which disguise her father has commanded her to slip away with Slender, immediately to marry.
-And she has consented.
-And it gets worse.
Her mother, who doesn't care for Slender and is firm for Dr. Caius, has appointed that he shall likewise shuffle her away to the church, where a pastor attends, and straight marry her.
Now thus it rests -- her father means she shall be masked in blue, and when Slender sees his time, he shall take her by the hand and bid her to go with him.
Her mother has intended for her to go with the doctor.
And they will all be masked and vizarded, and when the doctor spies his vantage ripe, he will pinch her by the hand, and Anne will go with him.
-Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
-Both... -...to go along with me.
-To go along with you.
And here it rests -- that you'll get the pastor to stay for me at church, between 12:00 and 1:00, and, in the lawful name of marrying, to give our hearts united ceremony.
-Bring you Anne Page, you shall not lack a pastor.
-So shall I evermore be bound to thee.
♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] -Go, I'll hold.
This is the third time.
I hope good luck lies in odd numbers.
They say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.
I don't know.
I'll provide you a chain and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns.
-Away, I say.
♪♪ -Here -- we'll couch in the ditch till we see the lights of our spirits.
Remember, son Slender, my daughter is wearing -- -Look here.
I have spoken with her, and we have a code word for how to know one another.
I'll go to her, where she'll be in a blue mask.
And I'll cry, "Sugar," and she will cry, "Cane."
And by that we will know one another.
-That's good, too.
But what needs either your "sugar" or her "cane"?
The blue mask will decipher her well enough.
It has struck 10:00.
-The night is dark.
Lights and spirits become it well.
Heaven prosper our sport.
No man knows evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns.
-[ Laughs ] ♪♪ -Dr. Caius, my daughter is masked in white.
When you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the church, and dispatch it quickly.
Go into the park.
We two must go together.
-I know what I have to do.
-My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter.
But it doesn't matter.
Better a little chiding than a great deal of heartbreak.
-Where is Anne now and her troop of spirits and that silly pastor?
-They are all couched in a pit hard by Abeeku's oak.
-This cannot choose but amaze him.
-Against lewd people and their lechery, those that betray them do no treachery.
-It's almost time.
To the oak.
To the oak!
♪♪ -[ Whispering ] Come, spirits.
♪♪ Come, spirits!
Remember your parts.
Be bold, I pray you.
Follow me, and when I give the signal, do as I bid you.
-Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!
[ Rhythmic clapping ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Insects chirping, animals howling ] -The clock hath struck 12:00.
The minute draws on.
[ Laughs ] Who comes here?
Art thou there, my deer, my male deer?
-My doe with the black short tail.
[ Both laugh ] Let the sky rain plantains!
Let it thunder to melodious tunes!
Let there come a tempest of provocation!
I will shelter me here.
-Madame Page is come with me, sweetheart.
-[ Laughs ] Okay.
Divide me like a roasted goat, each a large portion.
[ Laughs ] My sides I'll keep to myself, my shoulders for the fellows of this walk, and my horns -- ha-ha!
-- I give to your husbands.
[ Laughs ] Am I a woodman?
Now, Cupid is a child of conscience.
He makes restitution.
As I am a true spirit, welcome!
What is that noise?
-Heaven forgive our sins.
-Uh...what should this be?
-[ Screeching ] Spirits black, gray, green, and white, you moonshine revelers and shades of night, you orphan heirs of fixed destiny, attend your office and your quality.
I'm calling all you, oh!
-These are spirits.
He that speaks to them shall die.
I'll wink and wait.
No man their works must eye.
-♪ Spirits, oh, I call on you to come about ♪ ♪ All of you spirits, both within and out ♪ For we have made it through the greatest of storms, and new days of love, joy, and freedom born.
We lived a time where we were pushed inside, not a hug or held hand was felt worldwide.
Now many have joined you spirits above, honored forever in dignified love.
New meaning to life we all understand, that love is present wherever we land.
Spirits, help guide us in this time anew where we recognize the reckoning due, for our hues and lives matter, full stop.
[ Cheers and applause ] Here, here in the forefront not a backdrop, call forth those in power to make room now to do as they have promised and vowed.
Now is the time for the reformation.
Now is the time to rebuild the nation.
Tonight, dear spirits, we thank you for life.
No more pain or hurt of living in strife.
Be with us whenever to guide our path, now and forever.
-To guide our path, now and forever.
But till 'tis 1:00 spoke, our dance of custom 'round 'bout the oak.
I smell a man... [ Sniffs ] ...of the Earth.
-[ Whispering ] Heaven, defend me from these spirits she called on.
-Vile worm, thou was overlooked even when you were born.
♪♪ -With trial-fire, touch me his finger end.
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend and turn him to no pain.
But if he start, 'tis the flesh of a corrupt heart.
Will this wood take fire?
-[ Screams ] -Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
Get him, spirits.
Sing a scornful rhyme and, as you trip, still pinch him in your time.
♪♪ -♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ ♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ ♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ ♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ -Aah!
-♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ ♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ -Aah!
-♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ -Aah!
-♪ Pinch him, pinch him ♪ -Nooooo!
[ Laughter ] -See you these, husband?
Do not these fair horns become the forest better than the town?
[ Laughs ] -Now, who's a cuckold now?
"Mr. Brook, Ford's a knave.
A wittolly, cuckoldy, foolish knave."
[ Imitates slapping ] "Here are his horns, Mr.
[ Laughter ] -Johnny, we have had ill luck we could never meet.
I will never again take you as my love, but I will always count you my deer.
-I do begin to perceive that, uh, I am made an ass and these are not spirits.
I mean, I was, you know, three or four times in the thought that they were not spirits.
But, um, the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief that they were spirits.
See now how wit may be made a dummy when it is upon ill employment.
-Falstaff, serve God and leave your desires, and spirits will not haunt you.
-Well said, Spirit Evans.
-Leave you your jealousies, too, I pray you.
-I will never again misdoubt my wife.
-Son, how now, oh?
Have you, eh, settled the business?
Would I were killed or else.
-I came yonder to marry Anne Page, but somehow, it was not Anne Page, and I kissed the wrong girl.
Married the wrong girl.
Have I acted unholy?
-'Pon my life, then you took the wrong.
-What need you tell me that?
I think so, when I took another girl for some other girl.
-Why, this is your own folly.
Did not I tell you how you should know my daughter by her garments?
I went to her in the blue mask and I cried, "Sugar."
And she cried, "Cane."
But it was not Anne Page, but a post-master's daughter.
But me, I'm happy.
Look at her.
-Kwame, please don't be angry.
I knew of your purpose, masked our daughter in white, and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the church, and there married.
Thank you so much.
-Oh, good Dr. Caius.
Pray you, tell me, did you take the one masked in white?
And it was un garçon.
I love that you surprise me.
You know me so well.
-Well, this is strange.
Who hath got the right Anne?
-My heart misgives me.
-Here comes Fenton.
How now, Fenton?
♪♪ Now, Anne, how chance you went not with Slender?
-Why went you not with Dr. Caius, Anne?
-You do amaze her.
Hear the truth of it.
I... -Let me.
Mother, father, I ask your forgiveness.
I know that you wanted all the best for me, but you would have married me 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.
-The offense is holy that I have committed, and this deceit loses the name of craft, of disobedience, or unduteous title, since therein I do shun a thousand irreligious cursed hours which forced marriage would have brought upon her.
-And I wanted to marry for love.
-Yes, for love.
-Stand not amazed, eh?
Here is no remedy.
In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state.
What cannot be eschewed must be embraced.
Welcome to the family, oh.
-Well, we must muse no further.
[ Applause ] -Thank you.
-Well, let us muse no further.
Fenton... and my darling Anne, heaven give you many merry, merry days.
-Thank you, Mom.
-Husband, let's all go home and laugh this sport over.
-[ Clears throat ] Hey!
-Even Falstaff can come.
Because tonight, oh!
Tonight, we party!
[ All cheering ] ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ -♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ It's okay ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ -♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, move body ♪ ♪ Make you ring alarm ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ ♪ Them girls just dey feel me now ♪ ♪ 'Cause I get money, them dey feel me now, ah ♪ ♪ Back then, they do me anyhow ♪ ♪ I don get money, they wanna get down ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ Them wan know where I come from ♪ ♪ I dey run things from Lagos to London ♪ ♪ All the blessings and love I dey see just dey make me dey shout hallelujah, eh ♪ ♪ I say all the blessings and love I dey see just dey make me dey shout hallelujah, eh ♪ ♪ Them hold me for ransom ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm young and I'm rich and I'm handsome ♪ ♪ Them wan hold me for ransom ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm young and I'm rich and I'm handsome ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, move body ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ Make you ring alarm ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ All the blessings and love I dey see just dey make me dey shout hallelujah, eh ♪ ♪ I say all the blessings and love I dey see just dey make me dey shout hallelujah, eh ♪ ♪ Them hold me for ransom ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm young and I'm rich and I'm handsome ♪ ♪ Them wan hold me for ransom ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm young and I'm rich and I'm handsome ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ Oh, yeah, move body ♪ ♪ Make you ring alarm ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ Na designer I wear now ♪ ♪ I dey take all the girls unaware now ♪ ♪ Ah, I'm the Man of the Year now ♪ ♪ And my music dey blow everywhere now ♪ ♪ Ah, all the way from KD ♪ ♪ The whole world now just dey hear me ♪ ♪ Ah, haters just fear me ♪ ♪ And nobody fit double-dare me ♪ ♪ All the blessings and love I dey see just dey make me dey shout hallelujah, eh ♪ ♪ I say all the blessings and love I dey see just dey make me dey shout hallelujah, eh ♪ ♪ Them hold me for ransom ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm young and I'm rich and I'm handsome ♪ ♪ Them wan hold me for ransom ♪ ♪ 'Cause I'm young and I'm rich and I'm handsome ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, move body ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ Make you ring alarm ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah, shake body ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause continue ] ♪♪ -To find out more about this and other "Great Performances" programs, visit pbs.org/greatperformances.
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