LSW: Junior Inter-ACT
Venus & Adonis Act-Out WitSling Segment
for Children 5 to 12 Years of Age

Dramatis Personae:   Narrator   Adonis  Venus

This piece is acted out in a performance size which would have been familiar to the theatres of the nineteenth century and is not unknown in 21st Century Pantomimes.  As prompted by the narrator, the youths take an active part in the entire preceding.  A brief rehearsal of their choral responsibilities is offered immediately prior to the commencement of the segment, and then, upon its completion, they are given a copy in print from which, in tandem with the actors of more senior age and split into mixed groups of three or four, together choose a line which speaks to them from without the text as a source for their communal WitSling.

EVEN as the sun with purple-colour'd face
Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn,
(sounds of shock)
Adonis (cheers - A enters on horse)
hied him to the chase; (hunting sounds)

Hunting he loved, (cheers) but love he laugh'd to scorn;
(Adonis: Evil laugh)
Venus (cheers) makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo him.  (applause)

'Thrice-fairer than myself,' thus she began,
'The field's chief flower, sweet above compare,
'Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed.
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses;

Adonis: AHHHHHH (runs away on horse)

She runs and seizeth on his sweating palm, (cheers)
The precedent of pith and livelihood,
And trembling in her passion, calls it
Venus: balm,
Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good:
Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force
Courageously to pluck him from his horse. (cheers and applause)

So soon was she along as he was down,
(they fall to
the ground) (cheers)
Each leaning on their elbows and their hips:
Now doth she stroke his cheek, (applause) now doth he frown, (hiss)
And 'gins to chide, but soon she stops his lips;
(they kiss) (applause)
And kissing speaks, with lustful language broken,

Venus with mouth on partner: 'If thou wilt chide, thy lips shall never open.'
'Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine,--
What seest thou in the ground? hold up thy head:
Look in mine eye-balls, there thy beauty lies;
Then why not lips on lips, since eyes in eyes?

Adonis: Fie! 

Were I hard favour’d, foul or wrinkled old
Then mightst thou pause for then I were not thine.
But having no defects, why dost abhor me?

Forced to content, but never to obey,
Panting he lies and breatheth in her face; (OHHH. Yuch!)
She feedeth on the steam as on a prey,
And calls it
Venus: heavenly moisture, air of grace; (OHHH. Yuch!)
(Adonis struggles to get free. He pushes himself around the floor still enveloped by Venus)

Sometimes she shakes her head and then his hand, (applause)
Now gazeth she on him, now on the ground;
Sometimes her arms infold him like a band: (cheers)
She would, (cheers) he will not in her arms be bound; (hiss/boo)

And when from thence he struggles to be gone,
She locks her lily fingers one in one. (cheers)

Still she entreats (Venus) and prettily entreats
For to a pretty ear she tunes her tale.
Still he is sullen,
(Adonis) still he lours and frets
Twixt crimson shame and anger ashy-pale.

Look how he can, she cannot choose but love
And by her fair immortal hand she swears

             (like in a church, Venus raises hand: I swear.)
From his soft bosom -

             (Venus repeating with hand raised: From his soft bosom)
Never to remove -

            (Venus again repeating with hand raised: Never to remove)

He burns with bashful shame: she with her tears
He saith she is
(Adonis) immodest, blames her (Adonis)'miss;
What follows more she murders with a kiss. (kiss) (cheer)
(Adonis to crowd):

Look how a bird lies tangled in a net
So fastened in her arms Adonis lies.
Pure shame and awed resistance made him fret
(Venus) Which bred more beauty in his angry eyes.

And now Adonis, with a lazy spright
Souring his cheeks cries:
Fie, no more of love’.   (boo/hiss)

‘Ay, me’ quoth Venus, ‘young and so unkind.
What bare excuses makest thou to be gone!
I’ll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind
Shall cool the heat of this decending sun. 

 Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
Like a dive dapper peeping through a wave,
Who, being look’d on, ducks as quickly in,
So offers he to give what she did crave; (applause)
(they approach to kiss)
But when her lips were ready for his pay,
He winks , and turns his lips another way. (boo)
(Venus in shock lets him go)

Adonis: That sun doth burn my face. I must away. (he runs but does not leave) (hiss)

Now which way shall she turn? what shall she say?
Her words are done, her woes are more increasing;
The time is spent, her object will away,
And from her twining arms doth urge releasing.
'Pity,' she cries, 'some favour, some remorse!'
Away he springs and hasteth to his horse.  (hiss/Adonis departs)

Thus weary of the world, away she hies,
And yokes her silver doves; by whose swift aid
Their mistress mounted through the empty skies
In her light chariot quickly is convey'd;
Holding their course to Paphos, where their queen
Means to immure herself and not be seen.
(Venus sadly slumps into her departing corner, away from that of Adonis)


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