The London Merchant
- Venturewell, a London merchant, fires his apprentice Jasper, who is in love with Venturewell's daughter Luce.
- Luce and Jasper plot to run away together.
- Another suitor, Master Humphrey, who has Venturewell's approval, begins to woo Luce.
- Mistress Merrythought, Jasper's mother, refuses to give Jasper her blessing or money. She gives both to her youngest son, Michael.
- Master Merrythought defends his hedonistic lifestyle and gives Jasper his blessing and what little money he can. Mistress Merrythought vows to leave her husband.
- Venturewell gives Humphrey his blessing to elope with Luce.
- Mistress Merrythought and Michael begin their flight from Master Merrythought.
- An unexpected character enters their story.
- Theatrical anarchy and mirth ensue.
The Knight of the Burning Pestle
- Not satisfied with The London Merchant, an audience member stops the action and demands that the players add a character to represent working-class citizens, "I will have a grocer, and he shall do admirable things."
- Nell, the audience member's wife, joins her husband George on stage.
- The players, startled by this interruption, protest they have no other actor to portray a grocer. Undeterred, George and Nell bring up their apprentice, Rafe, to play the role of the grocer.
- On stage and swept up in the thought of heroic quests, Rafe transforms his grocer character into a fantastic knight-errant (whoever's heard of a "grocer-errant?" Rafe asks). Thus, the Knight of the Burning Pestle (enthusiastically improvised by Rafe) is thrust into the plot of The London Merchant.
- The Knight enlists two players to portray his trusty squire and dwarf.
- The Knight sees "a gentle lady flying" and instructs his dwarf and squire to help him help her.
- The Knight finds a beaten gentleman and vows to avenge him; another gentleman arrives and beats the Knight.
- The dwarf tells the Knight that they have arrived at a castle; a tapster welcomes them in for the night.
- The Host demands payment from the Knight; George the grocer pays the bill.
- The Host tells the Knight of a giant monster, Barbaroso, who clips hair.
- The Knight fights the giant, meets a princess...oh, never mind, lots of ridiculous things ensue.
Note 1: Beaumont's text is filled with lyrics from songs that would have been familiar to his audience; in trying to capture the spirit of that original staging notion, we have selected pieces of songs with which our modern audience might be familiar. All other language (with the exception of play titles and perhaps a few ad libs from the acting troupe) is from Beaumont's play.
Note 2: The emblem of the Grocer's Guild was a mortar and pestle. Anything else suggested by the pestle is now (and was then) in the eye of the beholder.