All the world's a stage, and now I am a player
At first sight it looked like a battle scene from Shakespeare's Henry V with the piles of English dead lying around.
But, in fact, the bodies laid out on sleeping bags were actors trying to grab some sleep before they made their next entrances.
It was 29 hours into a non-stop charity Bardathon featuring the complete and uncut works of Shakespeare organised by the University of Leicester drama society, the LUTheatre.
The actors were recovering from their first overnight stint.
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Actors in costume or T-shirts were sitting around, scripts in hand, learning lines while chewing on high energy bars and guzzling drinks laden with caffeine.
Some were sorting costumes in a gazebo erected on the piazza in front of the David Wilson Library to protect them from the weather.
Others were rehearsing scenes ready for their call to go on stage.
The comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona was in the fifth and final act.
Event co-ordinator Roger Scoppie thrust a copy of the play into my hand.
I had volunteered to take a bit part at the generous invitation of the players.
He said: "I have not slept for four days. You are Sir Eglamour. You're on in about seven minutes."
Sir Eglamour is a self-proclaimed hero from the Duke of Milan's court commissioned to protect the Lady Sylvia from outlaws and deliver her safely to her true love.
But, like many of Shakespeare's bluff comedy figures, his bravery is a myth and it rapidly evaporates when his own skin is in danger. He gallantly scarpers when the outlaws appear, leaving Sylvia to her fate.
However, before my act of treachery, I grabbed the opportunity to impress. I seized a prop sword and declared that if the Lady Sylvia stuck with me we should make it to the forest and safety. I belted out my lines with much bluster and commitment, largely to the indifference of the other actors and puzzlement to people passing by.
Fortunately, although outlaws do seize her, she does get to safety and it all ends well as she marries Valentine.
The trusting Sylvia was played by Sara Slack, 23, an alumni who had taken a week off work in Oxford to take part in the event.
Sara, who had directed many productions in the past, said: "I could not pass up the opportunity of coming back and taking part.
"I am performing in all the 40 plays and I am kept going on lots of caffeine."
Taking back his copy of the play, Roger said tactfully: "You have to project to be heard. You certainly did that. Well done."
However, I was not asked back to complete the remainder of the 28-line part.
About 70 people are taking part in the event, which is raising money for the University of Leicester appeal to raise money to equip a £12.6million Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glenfield Hospital.
Society social secretary Cynthia Onyilimba, 19, said: "It is going very well and we have about a core of 12 people. The weather has not been too bad and we have managed to stay out. But I think we forgot we were in England. It was freezing last night. It was so cold."
They expect to finish by 4.30pm on Friday, 106 hours after they started.
Details on the actors and when each play will be performed can be found at:
Donations can be made through the university's website: