Upstart Crow (2016) s02e04 Episode Script

Food of Love

1 I want to be a gentleman, I want to be posh.
You promised! All right, Dad.
I'll petition the College of Heralds again.
He's been on about that coat of arms for years.
As if they'd give one to him, who's been before the courts and shamed us all.
It was only a bit of fiddling.
They should go after the real criminals, the dodgy financial dealers.
Dad, it is a matter of public record that you manipulated wool prices, fixed interest rates and reneged on personal debt.
Exactly what part of "dodgy financial dealer" is it that you are not? He's a common thief.
Which, I admit, is not normally considered an impediment to ennoblement in England.
But in this case, it is, because Robert Greene, who doth hate my gutlings, is made Master Herald and Robert Greene would rather be personal hairdresser to a snake-headed Gorgon than do me a good turn.
I want a coat of arms! And I'll do my best, Dad, but I am quite busy, you know.
The public's demand for new plays is insatiable and I have not a single solitary second to spare.
I be like the springtime lark who must needs build her nest, feed her young, tend her delicate plumage, whilst all the while singing merry songs that the fairies may dance in the greenwood glades.
Is that you making the point that you haven't got a second to spare? Yes, absolutely, underlining it, so to speak.
I-I-I'm so pushed that I barely have a moment to illustrate my observations with extended metaphor and fantastical whimsy.
Theatre is booming and its demands are insatiable.
My Two Gentlemen Of Verona filled a gap but already Burbage needs another and out is it stressing me most vexingly.
Well, I know you're busy, love, but you absolutely cannot miss Hamnet's school Latin recitation.
Latin, still, at 11? Huh! In my day, we were onto Greek by then.
The whole curriculum's been completely dumbled down.
The other dads come.
"Where's your Bill?", the other mums say, and I have to make excuses.
What, like I have a life? That I exist independently of my children? How weird, how selfish.
What is it with modern youth that they canst not kick an inflated pig's bladder the wrong way up a sporting field, but that both parents must be a-standing on the sidelines, shouting, "Goodling, job, poppet.
Goodling job.
" - A father should take an interest in his children.
- Why? Mine never did.
That wicked old bastarble didn't so much as glance at me till I was 14 and he could put me to work.
I wasn't bloody interested.
He wasn't interested.
"Look to your son," I'd say.
And he'd say, "Who?" "Who?" I'd say.
Wasn't interested.
All I'm asking is for you to get involved sometimes.
- It's healthy for their emotional development.
- I don't think it is.
I think it's corrupting.
A whole generation is growing up, who, on reaching adult estate, will scarce be able to let loose a fartlebarthel without their parents shouting encouragement and promising to bottle it for Grandma.
April is in my mistress' face And July in her eyes hath place Susanna, will you please stop singing April Is In My Mistress' Face? Sing something else.
Now is the month of Maying When merry lads are playing But not Now Is The Month Of Maying or any other madrigal by Thomas bloody Morley.
Uh, Thomas Morley is THE best madrigal writer of the English Renaissance.
He is God, I would die for him, I'm a Thomatic.
He is not God, daughter -- he is a sugar-coated ditty guffer whose every song be two-thirds "Fa la la la la", and the other third some arsing porridge about merry maids in May, naughty nymphs in November or juicy jugs in July.
Never mind Thomas bloomin' Morley, what about my coat of arms? I'm working on it! Establishing a noble lineage is a process -- you can't fake 400 years of family history overnight.
Mr Shakespeare, heraldry is a complex discipline.
You can't fake 400 years of family history overnight.
- Well, how long might it take, do you think? - How long? Well, now, let me see.
In your case? Hmm, well, give or take a week or two, I'd say Eternity.
The Shakespeares will never be gentlemen.
But we-we could be tomorrow, if you'd just grant us that family coat of arms.
Yes, IF.
Such a tiny, mewling word and ever the lament of the turnip-chewing country bumshank.
"If only I were higher-born.
"If only I'd been to Cambridge University "instead of leaving the town duncing school at 14 "to work in my dad's glove shop.
" There is no terror in your threats, Greene, for I am armed so strong in honesty that they pass by me like the idle wind.
Of a small, somewhat constipated squirrel.
Hm, tails off a bit at the end, don't you think? It'll get there.
Probably just needs a couple of hundred more syllables.
Bottom, bring ale and pie Ah, I see 'tis laid.
Hello, Kit, are you here? I heard you were back, thought I'd drop in for a quaff and a gorge.
'Tis apple season, Mr Shakespeare.
Have a little fruit.
Allez-oup, allez-hazzah.
Allez-diddley-doo.
Juggling and such tricks are, as I'm sure you are aware, key skills for any theatre professional.
Kate, please.
I know you want to be an actor, but I'm not in the mood to watch juggling.
In fact, I'm never in the mood to watch juggling, an activity which I consider to be second only to mime in its somnambulistic tedium.
I love mime.
You do not love it, Kate.
You merely tell yourself you love it because you are kind and have a natural sympathy for the terminally deluded and the pathologically talentless.
I, however, are made of sterner stuff and would lock every mime in Christendom up in his imaginary glass box and throw away the notional key.
Good journey was it, master? Well, Botsky, it was dirty, overcrowded and late.
On the other hand, it wasn't diverted via Aberystwyth or cancelled due to unusually wet leaves.
So, I suppose within the very limited context of my minimal expectations, you could say that, in a purely comparative sense, yes, I had a good journey.
And I expect your family were pleased to see you? Not really, Kate.
'Twas all too brief and they complain I neglect them.
I'm just so overworked, I need more time.
I wrote a history on the coach -- The Tragical History Of Edward II.
It's a quite brilliant first draft, but it needs a lot more work.
Hang on, hang on.
Here's a thought.
I know how you can save yourself all that work.
Really, Kit? That'd be great.
Give the play to me and I'll just chuck it on as is.
I'm not proud.
And be fair -- you've had loads of hits.
Through talent and hard work! What I have, I have by merit.
- You say that as if it's a good thing! - Isn't it? Well, of course not! I mean, if all men advance by merit, what becomes of us stupid posh boys? Or do we not count? Never had you down as an elitist, Will.
Stop being such a snob.
Give us a play.
No, Kit, I am resolved and even an insanely convoluted argument such as that cannot sway me.
I've sent my Titus Andronicus round to Burbage, but I'm really not sure about it.
What do you think, Kate? You read it.
Too gory? Be absolutely honest, I can take it.
Well, since you ask yes, it was.
Well, thank you very much(!) That's very helpful(!) Nice to have your support, I don't think(!) Well, I'm sorry, but Titus Andronicus is a degrading orgy of abusive sex and unspeakable violence.
Sounds brilliant! I'd go.
Me too, love all that.
People's lives are filled with abuse and violence, Mr Shakespeare.
Surely, as an artist, you should be offering them something inspiring, uplifting, which brings joy and lightness to their existence.
What about that comedy of mistakes, misunderstandings and coincidences I was working on? I thought it was contrived.
Contrived?! How can you say that? Two identical twins, separated at birth and who happen to have been given the same name, with servants who are also identical twins, also separated at birth and also happen to have been given the same name, end up in the same town and mistakenly hook up with each other's girlfriends.
That could easily happen.
I just don't think it's a play, Mr Shakespeare.
- But it's not entirely irredeemable.
- Irredeemable? It's the most deemable thing I've written all week! Deemable is not a word.
It is if I bloody say it is, because in case you've forgotten, that's what I do.
It's got some nice madness about it, but the drama exposes its limitations.
You need to come up with a new art form which allows for such exuberant absurdity.
Some extra element which takes us to a heightened world, where we can accept such joyful nonsense.
A new style which defies dramatic logic and appeals directly to the senses, the emotions, the soul.
Gosh, Kate.
If I could do that, then all my problems would be solved.
I could get away with really stupid plots, while still delighting the crowds and running for years.
Yes! But no such extra element exists.
Theatres put on plays, there is no new form.
Meanwhile, I have bills to pay and a family to feed.
I need a show.
Well, when I'm really stuck on something, I find it helps to sing a happy song.
Yes, thank you, Bottom, I'm trying to concentrate.
Now is the month of Maying When merry lads are playing - Fa la la la la la la la la - I'm trying to think! Fa la la la la la lah.
I love Thomas Morley, he is a God! Oh, how does he do it? I mean, they're just so catchy! I mean, so many hits.
April Is In My Mistress' Face.
- My Bonny Lass She Smileth.
- Flora Wilt Thou Torment Me? I mean, hit after hit after hit.
Appealing directly to the senses.
- Oh, the emotions! - The soul! - Oh! Hang on.
Hang the futtock on! That's it! By Neptune's salty nipples, that's it! - What's it, Mr Shakespeare? - The new form! The key to getting away with really silly stories, while providing joyful, uplifting popular entertainment.
I must to the theatre -- a cultural revolution begins.
What is to be done? This Titus Andronicus be little better than pornography.
Titus kills Tamora's eldest sons.
Tamora has Titus's sons beheaded.
Tamora's sons gang-rape Titus's daughter and Titus cooks Tamora's sons in a pie and makes her eat it! I certainly shan't be recommending it to Mother.
I'm telling you, make it a comedy, like we should have done with his Richard.
Problem solved.
- I suppose it might work as a kind of dark pantomime.
- Except no laughter.
I thought you said play it for laughs.
I said comedy, mate.
Not laughs.
Laughing is anti-comedy.
I don't want to be told when to laugh.
Other people's laughter isn't telling you anything.
It's just an innocent expression of collective jollity.
Collective jollity? What's collective jollity got to do with comedy? Comedy should be exclusive and elitist.
If everybody gets it, then what's to get? - The joke.
- And there's your problem right there, Burbage.
In comedy, jokes are worse than laughter.
Mr Burbage, halt rehearsals, I've had the most brilliant idea.
A way to uplift and inspire, to fill our theatre with joy, to move people so much that they tell their friends and perhaps even return a second time themselves.
Oh, do not jest, Will.
For word of mouth and repeat business are the Holy Grail of the theatre owner.
For such things, we would sell our souls.
Then pop your soul in a bag, mate, and I'll take it with me, cos I've got the answer -- music.
Music? Oh, dear, Will, you really have lost your touch.
We already use music, had you not noticed? We strum our lutes at the beginning and we blow our pipes at the end.
And from what I've heard, Condell, you blow a few pipes at the interval too! Phobic, or brave and edgy? You decide.
Oh, God, he's doing his laugh again.
I thought you said you didn't like laughter, Kempe? Group laughter, mate -- everyone laughing together, that's never right.
But solo laughter? Ooh, me laughing? Very loudly and intrusively at something that nobody else finds funny? That's the mark of a comic genius.
Excuse me, I'm trying to tell you my brilliant idea.
I didn't just mean music at the start and the finish, Burbage -- I meant throughout.
For add music to theatre and what do you have? - Theatrical music.
- Yes.
No, no.
Musical theatre.
Oh, my God.
I love it.
Love what, Condell? Mr Shakespeare's scarcely begun to explain himself.
I don't care, I love it anyway.
Just those two words, "musical theatre" They speak to my soul.
Of course they do, but I'm talking about a play with songs.
- What's not to love? - Um, everything.
- Let me think this through, Will.
Are you suggesting that we find somebody to write songs to fit your plays? - Well, I thought that at first.
- Mm.
You know, work with a composer on an original score.
But then I thought, "No -- we need guaranteed hits, lots of them.
" And how do we get those? By using songs that are hits already! Yes! By St Bernard's buttered barm cakes, yes! I'm on fire today.
First, I invent the original stage musical, and then instantly make it obsolete by inventing the greatest hits musical.
Talk me through the detail.
Well, how does my Henry VI Part One open, for example? At the funeral of Henry V, Bedford, Gloucester, Exeter, Warwick, Winchester, Somerset are gathered to mourn the King.
Each speaks at length.
A soldier brings news that France is lost.
Further extended monologues ensue.
It's a very long scene.
- Very long.
- Like, mad long.
It is not long at all.
25 minutes at most, and it flies by.
But I admit that you don't exactly go home humming it.
But imagine if instead of opening with 15 pages of blank verse, we opened with Now Is The Month Of Maying.
- My God.
'Tis a thought.
- A brilliant, magical thought.
I love, love, love it.
I can see it now Act one, scene one, London, 1422.
The street is filled with lovable Cockney characters.
Cheeky street urchins, costermongers.
Pretty flower girls.
A perambulating toff or two.
- Enter the new king! - Strike up the players.
And the whole company sing Now Is The Month Of Maying! Two minutes later, the entire audience will be on their feet with their arms swinging in the air.
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la lah.
I must say how very kind it was of you to invite us to your beautiful home, Mr Morley.
Technical point -- it's not actually my home.
It belongs to a subsidiary branch of an offshore holding company incorporated in Liechtenstein.
Which is, I must stress, an entirely legal tax arrangement entered into on the advice of my accountants.
Yes, of course.
No doubt.
I just want to make music, man.
Absolutely.
And if you allow us to use your songs, then you might also make a great deal of money.
Yeah, technical point, not actually my songs.
The copyrights are owned by a subsidiary branch of an offshore holding company, incorporated in Baden-Eisenbach.
An entirely legal tax arrangement entered into on the advice of my accountants.
I just want to make music, man.
And I'm loving this new direction.
- Morley The Musical.
Very cool.
- Yes, it does have a certain ring.
- Sorry, Morley The Musical? - Or Tom.
Tommo.
Tomster.
- Tomster The Musical.
- You think the show should be called after you? Too on the nose? Could be.
What about Norwich Boy? - The story of a one-man hit factory.
- Yes Yes, I can see the groundlings flooding to see that.
I was just wondering if the show should be about you at all.
- Why not? It's my musical.
- Our musical -- I provide the script.
- Yeah, you or some other geezer.
- What other geezer? I don't know, anyone.
- I've got people.
- People? Yeah, people who sort stuff.
- Like creating original stories and sparkling dialogue? - Could be.
They're my people, they sort what I tell 'em.
Organise a few parties, drum up a few grouping slaps.
Write an original story with some sparkling dialogue.
That's why you have people -- to get stuff sorted.
You want the gig or not? Have a word.
Have a care, Will.
Mr Morley has created the most valuable back catalogue in Christendom.
And I've written three hits called Henry VI and a fourth called Richard III.
I admit that my Verona piece wasn't as big, but it's that difficult fifth play that isn't named after a numbered monarch, isn't it? The point is, I'm not going to write some tawdry hagiography designed to massage the ego of Thomas bloody Morley.
Then, with deepest sadness, I must needs commission some other geezer and you will have no play, no income and be at further from buying the coat of arms on which you've set your heart, so - Right, so Norwich Boy it is.
- I just want to make music, man.
Fellow poets, brother scholars, we meet today in the face of perhaps the most heinous attack on the high culture since the first clown showed his bottom to the mob.
I speak of Mr Shakespeare's plans to produce in London a greatest hits musical based on the smasheroo madrigals of that loathsome ditty guffer Thomas Morley.
We must stop this aberration.
Madrigals are popular music.
The theatre is no place for popular entertainment.
Quite so.
Mine own sublime Friar Bacon And Friar Bungay is well known as the most impenetrably obscure drama in all of literature.
We must destroy this heinous assault on our pre-eminence.
- But how? - How, sir? Why, in the manner by which an English pamperloin always gets what he wants -- abuse of privilege, gentlemen.
Abuse of privilege.
So, Norwich Boy -- The Tommy Morley Story told through his greatest hits.
Sounds brilliant -- I'd go.
You're going to make it a biography? Sounds a bit cheesy.
Well, strangely, Kate, I have a feeling that in musical theatre, being cheesy might turn out to be a bit of a plus.
But the whole idea was that music would provide the extra element for your comedy of mistakes, misunderstandings and coincidences.
But Morley insists that it be about him.
Thus must I chronicle the inspiring life struggle of the Norwich Boy, a mixed-up, wild-eyed loner with a crazy dream, a cute smile and a lute.
His thrill-packed journey from humble Norfolk chorister to chief organist at St Paul's.
Ooh.
It's not very thrill-packed.
During which Tommy, and his identical twin Tommy, plus their identical twin servants, turn up in the same city and mistakenly hook up with each other's girlfriends.
Oh, my goodness, Mr Shakespeare.
That's incredible! - Well, I think it'll fit.
- Fit?! It's uncanny! You said such a thing could happen and it turns out it has, and not only that, it's happened to the very person you are supposed to write a musical about.
I mean, that's just spooky! Tommy didn't actually have an identical twin, - I'm just going to say that he did.
- Well, that's dishonest.
Kate, I'm writing a celebrity biography.
What has honesty got to do with it? Well A dishonest and self-serving celebrity biog I hope you're not setting some kind of precedent? Ain't Mr Morley going to mind you giving him an identical twin? Of course not.
He gets double Tommy, he'll love it.
Now, where to start? Well, since Tommy's a composer, why don't you give him that line you showed me? The one about music and love.
If music be the food of love, play on.
Wonderful, that's perfect.
Yeah, that is quite good.
Give me excess of it that surfeiting the appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again, it had a dying fall.
Oh, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound that breathes upon a bank of violets, stealing and giving odour.
Oh Maybe just use the first bit.
- See, you always do that.
- What? Well, you come up with a brilliant one-liner and then ruin it by going on and on and on.
Speeches should be two lines, tops.
Make it a rule.
Anyway, let's get on.
In your comedy you have Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus Now Tommy of Norwich.
.
.
mistake his identical twin, Antipholus of Syracuse Now Tommy of Lowestoft.
.
.
for her husband, Tommy of Norwich.
Cue for a song -- Tommy of Lowestoft sings Good Morrow, Fair Ladies Of The May.
- That's brilliant.
Fits perfectly.
- Oh! Is it May? - It is now.
- Very well.
- Next in your comedy, you have the Syracuse - Lowestoft.
- .
.
twin falling for the Ephesus - Norwich.
.
.
twin's wife's sister, which shocks the wife because she thinks he's her husband.
Exactly.
She punches out the wrong Tommy and, on realising her mistake, - tries to revive him by singing Arise, Get Up My Dear.
- Oh! Brilliant.
That's one of me favourites.
I couldn't think how you were going to get it into the plot.
Well, that's the job, Bottom -- grab the hits and crowbar them in with a wafer-thin pretence at relevance.
Then reprise the lot at the end in a great, big sing-along.
Can't wait to see how you fit in Flora Wilt Thou Torment Me? Well, I thought about having a character called Flora whose love torments him.
Or I could just make it a song about hay fever.
Alone Cut off No friends, no shelter.
Do you think I have your voice, Mr Morley? Brilliant, geezer.
It's all so true.
I was down, I was out I mean, my parents were supporting me, obviously, but I had to take a summer job to buy my first lute.
Perhaps we could get to the end of the scene? Sorry, geezer, just loving it.
Enter Mr Condell as Flora, Tommy's childhood sweetheart.
My first bird was called Gladys.
In which case you might have thought to write a madrigal called "Gladys, Wilt Thou Torment Me?".
But since you didn't, we'll just stick to the script, eh? All right, geezer.
Just loving your work.
And music Two, three, four Arise, get up, my deere, arise My deere Make hast to be gone thee Lo where the bride Lo where the bride Faire Daphne, bright Where the bride faire Daphne bright tarries on thee.
I am loving this! Come on, London, one more time! Fa la la la la la la la la Fa la la la la la la lah Fa la la la la la la la la Fa la la la la la la lah.
More ale, Miss Lucy! The first preview was a smash, they loved it.
They certainly did, Mr Burbage.
Everyone says they are going to go again and again.
Ah-ah, eh-eh! You should do an Africa musical next.
Hey? My people have wonderful music using polyphonic ostinato.
Also, call and response choral rhythms.
Or you could do a story about a lion cub who can't wait to be king.
I can't really see people wanting to watch a story like that, Lucy.
Besides which, the theatre is full.
Norwich Boy will run forever! Hooray! Its run is already over, Mr Burbage.
Today's preview was the first and last performance.
And just how do you intend to stop us, Master Greene? Why, by abusing my power and my position, of course.
All men crave social status, particularly lowly artists.
Oh, I get it.
I'll handle this, Burbage.
So, Master Greene, you see that I have a hit and in your jealousy are come as Master of Heralds to offer noble rank in exchange for pulling the show.
Well, 'tis certain a GENTLEMAN could ne'er be associated with such an endeavour as this.
Sorry, Greene.
But it won't work.
I would love for my father to gain his family coat of arms, which is his dearest wish of all.
But sod him.
I will not cancel my greatest hits musical.
Hurrah! But, Mr Shakespeare, you misunderstand me.
This is not about you.
Sorry, geezer, I'm pulling the gig.
You can't use my songs.
But, Tomster, we have a hit.
Surely there is nothing that a rocking and a roistering popular music star wants more than a hit? Well, there is one thing, Mr Burbage.
And fortunately, I was able to recommend to the Queen that he gets it.
Was I not, SIR Tommy? Very nice.
Very tasteful.
Lovely man.
Knighted? Him?! But the bloke's a shameless tax avoider.
I've done a lot of work for charity.
Yes, the knighthood is principally for Sir Tommy's charity work.
Which I have done a lot of.
What? What bloody charity work? We never get told, do we? A couple of posh galas for the orphans, the occasional sumptuous dinner for the starving.
So you've been knighted for avoiding tax and showing off? Yes, I think that is generally considered to be the proper heraldic process.
God, I hate this sceptred bloody isle! Sir Tommy understands the way of the world, Mr Shakespeare, because, you see, he is a gentleman -- something nor you nor your father will ever be.
Good day.
I just want to make music, man.
Will, we canst not let the theatre go dark.
We'll be ruined.
Well, we could just do the play straight with lengthy monologues instead of songs.
I suppose we have no choice.
But what would you call it? A Comedy Of Mistakes, Misunderstandings And Coincidences.
Basically, it's just a comedy of errors.
Errors? Oh, I like that! That's good.
I'll use that.
A Comedy Of .
.
Mistakes, Misunderstandings, Coincidences And Errors.
Brilliant.
God, it's good to be home! Home to the gentle welcoming bosom of my family.
You missed Hamnet's Latin.
You didn't get my coat of arms.
Guilty as charged, but I did get something for Susanna.
It's an undershirt signed by Tommy Morley.
Don't like him any more.
He sold out.
How so, my love? He did a musical.
Well, we've put on A Comedy Of Errors without songs, and, despite everyone's doubts, it's actually a big hit.
That's nice.
Maybe you were just a bit ahead of your time trying to invent the musical.
You're probably right, wife.
Still, it was fun for a night.
People gathered together, singing, laughing, waving their arms in the air, just having a joyful night out.
- What's wrong with that? - What indeed? I hope that one day, in some future age, London will be full of theatres and they'll all have musicals in them.
'Tis a joyful dream.
Or a living nightmare.
Yes.
I suppose opinion will always be divided on that one.