An Ass’ Tale

Whilst on my Creative Writing course I was asked to write a piece on a Shakespearean play or character, adding a modern twist to it. I decided to write a 1st person piece on bottom.


Source Bottom


I am an actor. The moment I left my mother’s womb and was given the surname Bottom I was destined to put on an act. I saw it as a deterrent for any form of mockery from moronic adolescents who regarded their comments to be that of innocent merriment, unbeknown to them that each remark slowly chips away at my already fragile self-esteem. My passion for the performing arts came with some challenges. Coming from a working-class family I was forced to take up the skill of weaving, a profession that in the modern age is not in demand, but because it is a family business, I felt obligated to work there. I worked throughout the day, earning enough money to buy food and clothing, but at night I would attend an amateur dramatics class called the Mechanicals. We were asked to perform a play for the wedding of the Duke of Athens and his soon to be wife. I had the leading role of Pyramus, a role I felt perfectly displayed my acting abilities. This belief was not shared by my fellow performers who saw me as an interfering, pretentious twit. From the start this created barriers resulting in me being unable to voice an opinion or suggestions to help improve the performance. I was unsure if this was because of jealousy or just a general clash of personalities but it left me extremely frustrated.


The director asked us to accompany him into the woods which is the realm of fairyland. The surroundings provided the perfect atmosphere to allow our creative juices to flow. Rehearsals were going well, I was, in my mind, executing my lines perfectly. I left the stage and waited patiently for my cue to enter stage left. As I entered the stage full of confidence, I was greeted by screams, vile insults and finger pointing, like I had entered another dimension. My fellow actors turned and scampered, leaving me alone in this dense woodland. At first, I wondered if I had forgotten this part of the play, but I realise that this is part of a juvenile attempt to exclude me from the group, something you would expect to see in a school playground. They do this to make an ass of me, to fright me if they could. I would not give them the satisfaction of seeing me upset. I searched through my phone looking for Abba’s greatest hits. I was going to audition for a part in Mamma Mia this weekend so I needed to practice. I found a tree to lean on and sang aloud while I waited for their childish game to end.

Love at first sight

In the distance I see a silhouette of a figure making their way through the congested foliage. As the figure gets closer, fear consumed my being as I realised I was alone with no means to defend myself. The figure approached and the light from the moonlight unveils an angelic woman who later revealed her name to be Titania. She said that my enchanting voice attracted her to me, that she has fallen for me. I have never believed in love at first sight but reason and love keep little company. She was devoted to me and lavished me with affection for which I happily received. We rested by an old oak tree in each-other’s arms. I imagined what our life together will be like. How many children we will have. I also panicked as I was still living at home with my parents and had a very menial job so I wondered how long this would last for.

 The morning after

Turned out it didn’t last long at all. I woke to find her staring at me with a face full of regret like she had just had a drunken one-night stand and had sobered up. She accuses me of deceiving her, suspicious about how these things came to pass, for who would love something so hideous. I realise that this is another horrible trick that my fellow performers have played on me, leading me into a false sense of security, only to tear it away like taking a toy from a baby. I am furious, pacing around a small clearing in the woods thinking of ways to act my revenge on them. The ground is uncluttered apart from a thick root from a nearby tree that takes the ground from my feet. My head makes contact with the old oak tree which sends me spiraling into another deep sleep.

The third act

I awake from my collision with the tree. The blistering heat of the sun beats down on my exposed skin. I reach into my pocket for my phone to check the time and realised I have only a couple of hours before the play is about to start. I get to my feet using the trees and branches to keep me balanced as I make my way back to the theatre. When I arrived, I was welcomed with genuine concern for my safety. News of a monster, half man and half donkey was the primary talking point of the group, something I felt was ludicrous and could wait until after the performance.

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