Upstart Crow (2016–…): Season 2, Episode 5 - Beware My Sting! - full transcript

Will is thrilled with his new play about a bright, strong-headed young woman crushed into submission by the man in her life, Kate and Anne less so. Will decides to test the theme of the play out on his stroppy daughter.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
Bottom, bring me a hammer and a cold chisel.
This pie crust be so tough, pixie cobblers could use the crumbs
to fashion the fairies' dancing shoes.
Could always try cooking a pie yourself, of course. Yes, Bottom.
Or a third way would be for me to employ a servant whose skill set
comes slightly closer to matching their job description.
Let me bring you a sharper knife, Mr Shakespeare.
Hold, sirrah! Parry! Advance! Hold!
Stage fighting is a key skill in the actor's armoury.
Hmm. Yes. For "skill",
read "two mincing preeners slowly circling each other
"while occasionally hitting their swords together with a big clang."
So exciting!
I know you long to play the ingenue
in my still unfinished teen romance,
but girls be banned from acting.
But it's so obvious that real girls would be better at playing girls.
Yeah, cos that's just really logical, isn't it? Um, yes.
Maybe you think we should get real kings to play the kings,
or real ancient Romans to play the ancient Romans.
That's not quite the same. Or real witches to play the witches.
I get what you are trying... A real St George
for St George and the dragon.
And a real dragon.
Real armies for the battles.
Real fairies for the enchanted woods.
Theseus and the Minotaur...
Where are we going to find a Minotaur?
Yes, all right, Bottom, I get it.
And you know I'm right, too.
Besides which, a girl on stage
would be nothing but a proslington and a whoreslap.
Ha! Another brilliant argument, Bottom.
Because delivering blank verse in the character of a dead queen
is obviously just code for,
"Hello, ducks, I'll fondle your fandangles for a farthing."
Dirty talk won't win your argument.
Finish your great teen romance, Mr Shakespeare.
Let me be your Juliet.
No, Kate. Quite apart from anything else,
I just don't think the public wants to see a love story.
Certainly not one like your Two Gentlemen Of Verona,
where the hero brazenly cheats on the heroine
and yet you have her marry the hornsome bastable anyway.
I needed a happy ending.
Well, it might have been nice
if it had developed out of plot and character
instead of simply being nailed on at the end.
I' faith, the maid is right. I did just nail it on at the end.
I canst only hope that the verse with which I nailed it
be so obscure that future generations,
trusting in my genius,
will just think they're being stupid and have missed something.
Look, I'm sorry, Kate. I know you want to play Julian. Juliet.
As I said, Juliet.
And I would love to see the play performed,
but, as you know, it's a work in progress.
I've got my double-death ending, but much else remains unwrit.
For instance, I need a lot more lines for the amusing nurse.
No! Don't do it, master.
Less lines, trust me. Kate read me a bit.
The nurse really gets on my nerves.
She could be getting a teeny bit irritating
with her endless clucky-duckiness, Mr Shakespeare.
Which is why she needs more lines.
You know my rule. If you're in a comedy hole, keep digging.
I'm not going to do it now.
It's a romance, and I can't risk
a kissy-wissy, gropey-pokey load of soply old mushington right now.
My next play must be a smasheroo. You know my dream.
To be recognised now and for all time
as indisputably the greatest writer that ever lived,
and to buy the second-biggest house in Stratford.
Exactly. That's it in a nutshell.
In a nutshell? What does that mean?
Oh, 'tis one of the numerous inspired phrases
which I am wont to coin
and which I'm confident will enter the common idiom.
Well, good luck with "in a nutshell",
cos I think it's stupid.
I mean, you couldn't really get anything at all inside a nutshell,
cos they are very, very small -
and also full of nut.
The clue is in the name.
Your observations, Bottom, are...neither here nor there.
Is that another one? Yes, just invented it.
When it comes to language, the world's mine oyster.
In fact, I'm so clever, I could end up with...too much of a good thing.
Maybe you should stop now. Can't.
They just pop up all of a sudden,
but give the devil his due,
there's method in my madness.
Really, stop it. Why?
'Tis a foregone conclusion that they'll leave you bedazzled
and in stitches
and before long you'll be demanding more with bated breath.
The world's your oyster?
Why would that be a good thing?
Tad obscure. What the dickens? I'll spoil my spotless reputation.
Must be tired. I didn't...sleep one wink.
If I'm not careful, you'll send me packing on a wild goose chase
and I'll vanish into thin air or be dead as a doornail.
Stop it!
I really mean it.
You're very clever, Mr Shakespeare, but you can be an awful show-off.
But with...a heart of gold.
No! Just a show-off!
Aye, there's the rub.
Stop it!
And actually, I happen to know you didn't originate the phrase
"dead as a doornail". I bloomin' did.
You bloomin' didn't. William Langland did
in his Middle English allegorical narrative poem Piers Plowman.
I' faith, the bothersome girl is right.
Filched have I some of my finest phrases from prior sources
and common usage.
I can only hope that as years go by,
the original derivation will fade from memory...
..and I'll get all the credit.
But never mind Langland.
We were talking about you writing a new play.
Yes, well, I'm sorry, but it's not going to be my teen romance.
I need to design a hit.
Women love theatre,
so of course I must write a heroine that will appeal to them.
Gutsy. I like that.
Tough and independent. Love that.
Witty and headstrong. Feisty!
Feisty, Kate? I know not what you mean. Be it a foreign term?
I'm doing what you do, creating a new word - feisty -
to refer to a gutsy, independent, headstrong woman.
Hmm. Not sure.
It's brilliant.
In fact, I'm a bit worried it'll end up overused
to the point of banality,
eventually being appropriated by any loudmouth harridan who seeks
to lend an empowering gloss to being a gobby bitchslap.
Hmm. Perhaps best leave new words to me, Kate,
because "feisty" just ain't going to fly.
However she is referred to, you are going to create
a strong woman who is both strong and a woman - bravo!
Yes. And then I'm going to crush, abuse and humiliate her.
Crush, abuse? But why?
Because while women may love the theatre, 'tis men who pay for entry.
And thus have I in mind a sort of battle of the sexes,
where a strong woman is tamed by a man.
I have no words.
Yes, well, luckily, Kate, that's my job.
I have come to see you, Mistress Lucy,
because you are a strong woman.
You have independence, your own business.
How did you do it?
I cut off the penis of the cur who enslaved me,
stole his gold, jumped ship at Tilbury and bought a pub.
I'm not sure any of that will help me get onto the stage.
Pah! Lady acting is against the law, Kate, because the law hates women.
Your only hope is to do as I did - use a man to get what you need.
Oh, ho! Will Shakespeare is your friend.
Why, you think I should cut off Mr Shakespeare's penis? No, no, no.
Just get him to help you.
Persuade him to write a sublime female lead and convince him
that only you can play it.
Oh, yes. But how?
Ah, ah, eh, eh, Kate.
You are a woman. A woman has special skills to move a man.
Wait, you think I should embroider him a cushion cover?
I suppose it might work.
Home am I, wife.
Let joy be unbounded. Father is returned.
Good journey, love?
Well, it's funny you should say that, Anne,
because you know how up until now I have never, ever had a good journey?
Well, amazingly...
..I still haven't.
I had to stand the whole way.
Two days with my face in the armpit of a man
who appeared to be actually sweating urine.
I am knackmangled.
Susanna, bring ale and pie.
Get it yourself! Leave me alone. I want to die. Shut up!
Don't mind her, Will. She is a bit more sensitive than usual.
She hath taken up that burden which every woman must carry
at the journey of each moon.
Oh, I see.
Mum says you've started your periods, Sue. Shut up!
What? What did I say?
God's bouncing boobingtons, husband!
For a bloke who reckons himself to be the world's greatest poet,
you've got about as much tact and sensitivity
as Mrs Moo-Moo's flatumungous arsington!
She's not talking about Susanna's women's business, anyway.
It's her character. The girl is totally out of control.
She is so gutsy and headstrong.
Oh, that's a really good word. A new one of yours?
Just trying it out.
Well, she is feisty all right.
And 'tis is not a goodling look for a maid.
You should never have taught her to read.
Women aren't supposed to be all sophisticated like us men.
And the thing is
our Judith be so sweet and kind that all do love her,
and it would be awful if Judith were married and Sue left an old maid.
Life is dangerous for a single woman,
particularly a clever one.
They be suspected of being witches.
Because most of them are witches.
Sue will need a husband.
But who will have the feisty little bitchington?
I am still here, you know!
Well, what about this for an idea?
If Judith be so pretty and popular
and Sue such a feisty little bitchington...
..then why do not I, a stern father,
announce that any young knave who doth tip his cap to our Judy
must first find another who will take our Sue?
Will, all the world is not a stage
and all the men and women ain't merely players.
Bit of a tortured image, my love.
Setting Sue up through Judy might work in one of your comedies,
but it won't work in the real world.
You're right. You are absolutely right. And it's brilliant.
Brilliant? I've just said your stupid plan
won't stop Sue ending up isolated, pitied, despised
and endangered for life.
Yes, but you also said that it would work in a comedy,
and it absolutely would.
I am sorry, Mr Greene.
I know you are anxious to see staged
a revival of your Bungay And Bacon.
Bacon And Bungay.
But we await a new play by Mr Shakespeare.
Shakespeare? Shakespeare!
Ever doth the upstart Crow peck at my botty buttocks.
Curse him for his feverish fertility,
but I will finish him yet.
Remember, sir, but I am Master of Revels.
Perchance when the oafish bum-snot delivers his play,
I will find excuse to deny it licence.
You overstep yourself, Mr Greene.
I am London's leading actor-manager and not without friends.
Unless William's new play be actual treason,
I will see you hanged before 'tis denied licence!
Oh, you actors think yourself so special, do you not, Mr Burbage?
You likewise, Mr Condell!
And me. I'm mad special.
You flatter yourself that you have social and political influence.
Well, ha!
You would do better to remember that you are naught
but preening lovey-kissies,
puffed-up, strutty, shouty boys
who people actually find quite irritating.
Do not make an enemy of me, sirrah. Good day.
Puffed-up, strutty, shouty boys?!
Preening lovey-kissies? Outrageous slur!
Well, you two are a bit.
Shut up, Kempe. Of course actors are special and influential.
Hugely special and influential.
Mad special and influential. Yes, it's a great burden,
a deep responsibility.
I feel it very deeply.
Yes. We have a duty to use our influence for good.
To point out, for instance, that poverty is horrid.
And that cruelty is cruel.
Actors have an enormous responsibility to point out
that poverty is horrid and cruelty is cruel.
Cos otherwise, who'd know?
I doubt it would occur to people. Of course it wouldn't.
So, we are in Padua, right? Where's that? Dunno.
Italy, I think, but I may have made it up. I left school at 14.
I don't do geographical detail.
You should watch that, Will. Centuries after you're gone,
people may use it to claim you were too thick
to have written your own plays.
Don't be absurd, Kit.
The idea that I never wrote my plays could only appeal
to the sort of naive fact-adverse fantasist who claims
that the monks sacked their own monasteries
to make Henry VIII look bad and that man never walked on the New World.
I don't believe he did.
I think Raleigh faked the potato in a garden shed in Catford
by crossing... crossing a turnip with a radish.
Then you are an insane, conspiracy-mad coatspotter
and I can only thank benign Providence
that ignoramuses like you will never wield political influence.
So, we are in Padua and Lucentio wants to marry Bianca -
beautiful, sweet, obedient and, of course,
as hot and steaming as a fresh cowpat in a frosty meadow.
I must say, I like her. My kind of girl.
You don't think it might be nice to give her a few tiny extra elements?
What elements did you have in mind, Kate? I don't know.
A character, maybe? A personality.
Kate, you weren't listening.
I told you. She is mild, sweet, obedient and hot.
How much character and personality do you want?
I must say, you are on to a winner here, mate.
Cool Lucentio falls for hot Bianca and marries her.
Perfect plot, job done. Let's go to the pub.
Oh, but I'm not finished. That's not all of it.
You've got enough. Quit while you're ahead. That's what I keep saying.
You do this all the time. Overcomplicate things.
You've come up with a perfectly nice plot of boy meets girl,
boy gets girl,
and then you ruin it with all your usual rubbish
of mistaken identities, absurd coincidences,
supernatural interventions.
People not recognising their own lovers
cos they are wearing tiny, tiny masks.
It's just daft.
Actually, I think Mr Shakespeare's plot be already too complex.
Really, Kate? How so? I've scarce begun it.
Well, boy meets girl, boy gets girl.
Why not just say boy owns girl and leave it at that?
Perhaps displaying your leading lady alluringly clad and in a cage?
Actually, that's not a bad idea.
Look, I don't need a new idea, or a new plot, complex or otherwise.
I've got a plot and it's brilliant. Lucentio loves Bianca.
But Bianca has a sister, Katherine, who be all that Bianca is not.
She be bold, assertive, opinionated, feisty.
Can I play her?!
No, Kate.
So, of course, no-one would dream of marrying her.
Well, obviously. You'd have to be insane.
Thus, Bianca and Katherine's dad declares
that none may marry sweet Bianca
until he has off-loaded bolingbroke-busting Katherine.
Now this is good.
Enter Lucentio's pal Petruchio,
a charming but feckless fellow.
Loving him already.
He needs a fortune and he doesn't care who he marries to get it.
What a rogue. My kind of guy.
He offers to take Katherine
and commences to break her spirit by starving her,
refusing her clothing and depriving her of sleep for days on end.
That's perfect!
And does Katherine cut this pervert's throat in the night
with a rusty knife?
No. She allows herself to be happily broken
and is soon hilariously agreeing with everything her husband says.
I have a lot of fun with that.
Driven to a compliance bordering on dementia,
Katherine accepts that the sun is the moon
and that an old man is a beautiful young maiden.
That's going to get a big laugh, that.
Bossy bird goes raving tonto. Love it!
I'm chuckling already.
Anyway, Lucentio marries Bianca and Katherine marries Petruchio,
and at the wedding, the reformed harridan
delivers a lengthy monologue about women being obedient to men.
What, there's even a moral? I don't know how you do it, Will.
Yeah, I've got to say, it's a winner.
It'll be your most popular comedy yet.
Mr Shakespeare, please, do not write this appalling story.
Too late.
Did it on the coach from Stratters. Burbage has it now.
It's called The Taming Of The Shrew.
Oh! Best title ever. End of!
I have invented a new phrase, Mr Shakespeare, especially for you.
Really, Kate? That's very flattering. Yes, it is.
For you are strong, as if made from chain,
exciting, like a pageant.
You have risen up from nowhere, as if a city on water.
You are a guiding light and the very heart of a man.
Your words move me, sweet Kate, but I would fain know their meaning.
Why, mail is made from chain, a pageant is a show.
The city on water be naught but Venice.
The light that guides is a star and the heart of a man is his soul.
Put them all together and you get...
I'll leave it with you.
Come, come, you wasp. I' faith, you are too angry.
If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting?
In his tail!
In his tongue!
Oh, I do think this is good. Yes.
It's his funniest thing yet.
Which is an insult to the person of Her Majesty!
An insult to the Queen? How be insulting, sirrah?
Why, by speaking ill of her sex, 'tis very treason.
I shall not even offer it up for her consideration.
This be not fair, Mr Greene.
The piece is a harmless comedy, and you know it.
You overstep your authority, sirrah.
Er, nuh!
I think you know what to do.
MUFFLED: Bacon And Bungay.
Good day.
Ah, morrow, Kate. Will home? He has gone back to Stratford, Mr Marlowe.
Oh, shame. Now his Shrew is in rehearsal,
I was going to have another stab at persuading him
to give me his Edward II?
He may need it himself.
Mr Greene refuses to show his awful, abusive play to Her Majesty
for fear of offending her with its dreadful attitude to women.
That bastable will use any excuse.
It seems to me that Mr Greene has done Mr Shakespeare a favour,
for Gloriana is a proud member of her sex,
and her wrath to see women so offended might have been terrible.
You think? Not sure.
Perchance you don't know much about women, Mr Marlowe.
Er, kind of do. Particularly queens.
Especially Ginger Liz.
Well, my love, all is not lost.
It occurred to me that I could at least use the work
I've done on my play to help our Sue. How so, husband?
Why, to tame her, wife, as Petruchio does tame the shrew.
I can't see how it can fail.
Tomorrow we begin the taming of the Sue.
Did you see what I did there?
I just came round to thank you for saving Will's life.
I mean, I know you hate his gutlings, so it was big of you.
Saving Shakespeare's life, Mr Marlowe?
I know not what you mean.
Why, by refusing to show the Queen his traitorous, seditious new play.
Traitorous? Seditious?
It be but a foolish sex comedy. Yeah.
About a strong, clever, determined woman who refuses to marry,
whilst all around would see her wed.
Remind you of anyone?
God's boobikins.
I catch your thought.
How did I not spot this?
I thought only to set aside his play for mine,
but now I see the Crow is truly in my clutches.
I will be done with him for ever.
Can I have another bit of bacon?
Mark me, wife - let the taming begin.
Bacon? Never. I will see thee starve.
What? You're so weird. Shut up. Give me bacon.
Why, sweet Susanna,
this bacon be not good enough for one so charming.
Is he pisslingtoned?
You are such an arse-mungel.
Arse-mungel, am I?
Kind Sue doth dub me arse-mungel.
Oh, that all the world would call me arse-mungel.
You're an arse-mungel.
It's going brilliantly.
The girl be all confused by my hilariously contrary manner.
Why has Dad gone all weird? Tell him to stop.
Why, daughter, look through the window.
Is it not the most beautiful moon you ever saw?
It's the sun, Dad. It's morning. Are you all right?
'Tis the moon, daughter, because I am your lord and father
and I say 'tis the moon!
All right, it's the moon. Who cares? Whatever! Why are you being weird?!
See, wife, it's working.
She doth own the sun to be the moon.
Was ever a girl so tamed?
Now, to trick her once again with my sparkling wit.
Susanna, spy you that pretty maid sat next to Granny?
Be she not a fragrant beauty?
You're right, husband. Our son be pisslingtoned.
You mean Grandad? Not Grandad, child.
For Grandad is a wrinkly old man
with a face like a slapped scroting sac.
'Tis a fresh-faced maid.
All right, it's a maid. Have it your way!
I don't care! Stop being weird!
A-ha! And so the shrew be tamed.
You no doubt all thought it passing strange that I be
so contrary with Susanna?
But now must own that by such tricks have
I cured her of her feistiness and made of her a sweet and pliant maid.
A girl who will agree with everything her father says
and thus also the husband who will one day replace me as her master.
Job done. God, I'm good.
You are the worst person in the whole world!
I know everyone else thinks I'm a gobby bitchington.
But I thought at least you respected me,
and now you're calling me a shrew?!
I hate you! I hate you! Don't ever talk to me ever again!
Well, that went well.
Yes, well...
It may be that the taming will require one or two more
witty contradictions before it takes full effect.
Morning, Mrs S, Mr and Mrs S Senior. Any ale and pie?
I've ridden overnight from London. Of course, Mr Marlowe.
Kit! What in the name of Titania's tiny toenails brings you here?
To tell you to get your sweet country arsington
back to the theatre.
I tricked Greene into showing the Queen your Shrew. Really?
How? He swore it would offend her.
Aye, coz, but I told him it would do worse than that.
I pointed out it could even be construed
as a call for Gloriana herself to be tamed and forced to marry.
Oh, my God!
That never even occurred to me. Well... You've condemned me.
Oh, don't get your puffling pants in such a twist.
She loved the play, as I knew she would.
But how could you be so sure?
William, Liz has been on the throne for 33 years,
daily making laws on everything
from what language can be used in prayer books
to what colour clothing people of different classes should wear.
And in all that time,
has she done one single thing to improve the lot of women?
I can't think of anything offhand.
A bit disappointing, when you put it like that.
Far from feeling solidarity with other birds,
Gloriana clearly loves being quite literally
the only woman in the country that matters.
She likes keeping the rest of her sex in their place.
I knew she would adore The Taming Of The Shrew, and she did.
She adored it? Really? Oh, yes.
And, in fact, I confidently expect history to record it was
one of her favourite comedies.
Can we get this pie to go, Mrs S? Wouldn't want to miss opening night.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband.
Hear, hear. It's brilliant. I think I'm going to be sick.
And when she is forward, peevish sullen, sour
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
Well, my Shrew is a huge hit, but I take little pleasure in it,
for it has cost me the good opinion of two women whose respect I value.
Yours, for one.
I still respect you, Mr Shakespeare,
for, although I think your play doth sorely insult women,
you are a creature of your times, and, in truth,
even now your misogyny be less offensive than most.
At least you take trouble to write your women some fine verse.
And you do realise that the last big speech in the play,
the one where Katherine calls on women to worship
and obey their husbands, it's supposed to be ironic?
I mean...
I mean, that-that's clear, isn't it?
Mr Shakespeare, please.
Did you really write it ironically?
Or are you hoping that in later, more enlightened ages,
scholars will try to get you off the hook
by pretending that's what you intended?
Well, you know...
..either way.
But intrigued am I.
Who is the other woman whose respect you fear you've lost?
Why, my lovely Sue.
She knows 'twas her who inspired my shrew and is hurt most mortally.
I would fain make amends, but I know not how.
Well, just because a girl is feisty and full of spirit, like your Sue,
doesn't mean she values not romance.
You should write another play,
one featuring a sensitive,
articulate, headstrong, tragic, beautiful, captivating,
feisty maid of Susanna's age.
All right, Kate, you win.
I'll finish Romeo And Julian.
Juliet. Juliet, yes.
I didn't find your Shrew play too offensive when I saw it.
I thought it was quite funny, actually,
if you just see it as a load of illogical, stupid,
potty old bolingbrokes.
Thank you, wife. That's a lovely thing to say.
And it's nice to have a stonking great hit raking in the cash.
Dad! Juliet's beautiful.
Really, daughter? I remember you once saying nobody talked like that.
I was 13, you know. I'm 14 now. I'm mature.
And I just love it!
The end not too sad? Of course it's too sad.
It's endlessly sad. Heartbreakingly, eternally sad!
I love it!
And you really based Juliet on me?
Well, yes, absolutely.
You know, you're a girl and Juliet is a girl, so...
Direct lift, really.