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Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

Sorry, Shakespeare

I was so excited to learn that LiFT, Little Falls Theatre Company is going to do William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost this summer, I sat right down to read the play (actual lounged right down, because I was reading in bed). I decided on my first reading (I intend to read it at least three times before auditions) I would just read straight through, not pausing to check the footnotes and end notes (the edition I was reading has both). I felt comfortable with this decision, because half the time I look at the footnote and think, “I could have figured that out by myself.” Not that I am so clever (sometimes I think I am); it’s just that the footnotes are sometimes kind of condescending.

Be that as it may, I thought I would make a blog post about my impressions of the play on one quick reading. Full disclosure: I have actually started my second reading of it as I write this. Fuller disclosure: it is fun for me to write this sort of thing.

The play starts out with the King and some of his guys all taking an oath that they will study for three years with no women. The King is actually pretty mean about it, because he says he will cut the tongue out of any woman who comes into the castle. I guess that goes back to the age-old contention (mostly of men) that women talk too much (don’t get me started on that, because I will).

One courtier demurs, saying “Dat’s crazy talk!” But, you know, in Shakespeare speech. Apparently when he agreed to study, he didn’t realize about the no women part. But I guess he agrees to go along with it (who can say no to the king?).

Then there is this Spaniard, Armadio, I think his name is, who must be the comic relief, and he is in love with Jacquenetta. There is some funny stuff between Armadio and Moth, which I probably would have got more out of if I had also read the footnotes. Incidentally, I did read an end note which said “Moth” was pronounced “Mote.” Good to know.

Next the Princess shows up with her girls and some guy attending them. They have some dialogue about how beautiful the Princess is, what her girls have heard about the guys in the castle, some other stuff I missed (reading fast, remember?).

Eventually the King and his guys come out. The King tells the ladies they are welcome but they can’t come in. He wants them to go camp out in some field and he will visit them there. I guess that is not a strict violation of his No Women While I Study oath, but I personally am skeptical. The Princess is not impressed either, but she does not hightail it back to France as I would have done, or maybe to some other country with a friendlier, non-stupid-oath-taking king. Hell, she’s a princess; she doesn’t have to put up with this kind of cavalier treatment!

There follow a couple of scenes with the guys and girls together. I think the guys give the girls tokens then leave. I was feeling pretty tired when I read that scene so am not sure. I was more awake when I read the next scene, where the girls naughtily switch tokens and mask up (to disguise themselves, not due to COVID, or I guess the plague at that time) (and let us not once again go into how easy it is to disguise oneself in plays, movies or TV; let us just accept that it is so) (for one reason, this post is getting kind of long). It works like a charm: the guys come back and all make love to the wrong girl. This is not the sort of thing that would have amused me when I was dating, but then, nobody is writing a play about me.

The guys leave and comeback again and some other stuff happens (I’m sure it will look better on stage). Just when everybody is in a fair way to getting engaged to the right person, a messenger comes on to tell the Princess that her father is dead. Wait, what? i thought this was a comedy? What the hell, Shakespeare?

So all the girls tell all the guys (one at a time, so it takes a while) that they will marry them if they wait a year. Well, that only makes sense, really. A year of mourning, isn’t that standard? Still, it seems a lot to ask. Or is it? In the first scene, weren’t the guys all ready to forgo fun in the sack for thee years just to study? I don’t think anybody mentions the discrepancy.

Be that as it may, the guys all agree, and everything ends happily. I guess.

Nobody needs to tell me that I probably got it all wrong, but feel free to do so if you are so inclined. Remember, I plan on reading it three times.

It’s All About Me, and The Tempest

 

In lieu of my usual Friday Lame Post, I thought I would continue my theme of All Tempest All The Time and plug tomorrow’s show at the Utica Zoo.  They have a nice little amphitheater.  Last year we performed Much Ado About Nothing there.  That had the charm of rhyme:  Much Ado at the Zoo.  Well, we can’t have everything.

We rehearsed at the zoo on Wednesday.  Did you know they block off the Parkway on Wednesday nights for the Utica Roadrunners?  Kim and I had to take a little walk to get to the zoo.  Oh well, I needed the exercise.  Alas, I did not bring my Tablet so have no pictures of rehearsal.  I just don’t imagine I will be able to get any of the performance either, because, you know, I’ll be acting.

The show at the Utica Zoo begins at 2  p.m. and is free with admission to the zoo. Cue jokes about animals in cages and on stages (I won’t make any of those jokes myself, because it still is Lame Post Friday, you know).

I’ll close with a couple of pictures from our dress rehearsal at Caroga Lake, where we performed Aug. 5.  Naturally I chose pictures that included me, because, as you know, it’s all about me.

That’s me with my arms upraised, you know, acting.

 

I chose this one, because I thought it would be nice to include one with swords out. I’m hoping for some actual sword fights in next summer’s Shakespeare play.

For more information about LiFT Theatre Company, you can visit their Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

Out of the Frying Pan into the Friar

I think I need theatre detox or one of those 12-step programs.  I just can’t stay away from the stuff!

I thought it would be an easy matter to take the summer off from working on a play (except, of course, for the one I’m writing).  Ilion Little Theatre doesn’t have a summer show. LiFT Theater Company in Little Falls is doing Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (should I feel silly putting “by William Shakespeare”?  Because I do), but I carefully stayed home from auditions.  When a friend, who did audition and was cast, mentioned that Matt Powers, the director was still looking for people, I was tempted.  However, I reminded myself that I had decided to take a break and to use my summer for other projects.

Then I got a Facebook message from Matt, asking me was I interested in being the Friar.  Oh NO!  Of COURSE I was interested!  And so flattered to be asked (I know, he may have asked forty people before he asked me; the fact remains that he did ask me).

Still, I dithered.  I messaged back asking questions about dates and times.  I pondered and thought.  Then I realized that I had stalled for a couple of days during which Matt could have been asking someone else.  How rude to say no now!  Oh, who am I kidding?  We all knew I was going to do it.

And yes, if anyone was wondering, it was the friend mentioned previously who suggested Matt ask me.  I told her I didn’t know whether I should thank her or shake my fist at her, but we all know I’m happy about this.  For one reason, it will give me something else to write blog posts about.

Look, I’ve already started.  My question now is: was today’s post better or worse than my usual Lame Post Friday schtick?

 

Horrible History or The Humpbacked Murderer

I’m making bold to write about another horror movie, because it is Halloween week. Steven and I watched three this past Sunday. I do love to write about horror movies. Some may protest that The Tower of London (1962) sounds more like history than horror, but I think it veers more into the horror genre.

I knew I would be in for some spurious history, because the movie is about Richard III and the princes in the tower. However, Vincent Price as a hump-backed murderer, what’s not to like?

Richard III, many historians now say, did not have a hump and did not murder his nephews in order to seize the throne. These stories were commissioned by Henry VII, who defeated Richard III and became king himself, thus proving the adage that history is written by the winners.

Full disclosure: I may have that wrong or I may be quoting some controversial revisionism. I may look up some more information on Richard III and get back to you. Right now I want to write about a horror movie.

I feel no spoiler alert is necessary, because a voice-over at the beginning tells us what is going to happen: Richard Plantagenet is going to murder people who are going to come back and haunt him. I believe at the time this picture was made everybody believed the hump-backed murderer story, so perhaps the filmmakers figured people knew that already anyways.

I, of course, know all about what “everybody knows” about Richard III, because I saw a production of the play Richard III by William Shakespeare. I kept comparing what I remember about that play to this movie, and I was a little disappointed that Richard never said, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer…” (That’s all I remember of that speech.)

After the spoiler voice-over, the movie gets right down to business with Richard having a hunchback and looking evil. I could see where Mel Brooks got the idea for Igor’s movable hump, because Price’s prosthetic is not real consistent. Then again, my memory may be at fault and I only think the hump changed. If I watch the movie again, I’ll take hump notes (anyways, why would I not include a reference to Young Frankenstein if I thought I could get away with it?).

One of my favorite aspects of watching an old period piece like this one is the hats. I don’t know what they kept putting on Price’s head, but as far as I was concerned it didn’t do enough to cover his bowl haircut. At times I thought he looked like a Pilgrim from the neck up. Oh well, Thanksgiving is coming.

The women’s hats were more fun. One lady sported the traditional princess hat of a cone with a filmy scarf hanging from its point. Richard’s wife Anne had the best headgear. I’m not sure if the costume designers got them from paintings of the era (or within a couple hundred years; you know Hollywood) or from a deck of playing cards. Perhaps the Queen of Hearts, because in this picture, Richard truly loves his wife. She is a good wife, too, all encouraging his evil ambitions and to hell with everybody else. It’s sad what happens to her, which, spoiler alert or not, I won’t share here.

So almost right away, Richard starts murdering and almost immediately following, he starts to be haunted by the ghosts of his victims. You’d think he would repent his evil ways after the first ghost, but, no, after bouts of tremulous madness, he gets his evil mojo back and continues his blood-strewn path to the throne.

He is helped along the way by some henchman whose name I didn’t catch. I kept waiting for the henchman to turn on him or come to a bad end himself, but if it happened, I missed that part. I’m sure some people think that if I’m going to write about movies, it would behoove me to watch them with more attention. Well, I’m not apologizing, because I was roasting pumpkin seeds. It is Halloween week, after all.