Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Sleepy Times Shakes

30 Jul

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Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open.

…Spent my blogging time working on a guest writing piece for a theatre company.

Conclusion: It’s weird writing for someone else. Going back to academic essaying legit vs the SWAL voice I’ve been talking in for the past year: also weird.

…I really need to branch out more. Like, in general.

Meanwhile…how about that Julius Caesar?! Shakespeare: a real ballbuster, am I right?!

~D

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Next!

11 Nov

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First weekend in the can, and our audiences mercifully gained in participation presence more and more with each performance. 

…Today’s matinee (a usually notoriously quiet crowd) was all in on the hijinks and drama…our best house yet.  And with the closing of our opening week, also finish the reviewers…hopefully good write-ups in all, and put in ink by Friday at the latest, in order to help boost ticket sales through what is now projected to be a cold and wet stretch into Thanksgiving.

…Meanwhile, the next show on my audition docket began today with open calls, and should be cast before next Monday, a week from tomorrow.  A hell of a drama, with lots of meat to chew…and a good balance, after a comedy like this one.

Could be a busy winter, with some interesting theme-play. 

…Need time ‘tween now and Thursday’s show to review the other script again and study up a bit.  Switching gears, switching time periods, switching head-space.  It’s a good exercise.  But will mean I’ll have to do some line-runs of “Twelfth” before show time, just to keep m’brain clear on where we are in the current game.

Meanwhile: to rest from last night…a cast gathering into the wee smalls, where we eventually dropped like rag dolls to the floor until the smell of Starbuck’s coffee and bacon grease revived us to the land of the living, in time for our first matinee.  Our Fabian graciously hosted, we graciously ate, drank, played and laughed until our bodies gave out.  Five cups of coffee later, I can feel me coming down off the high now, post show, and hitting those four hours of sleep like a brick wall with little buffer.

…Which reminds me that sometimes it’s not the greatest idea to sleep on a floor the night before you wedge yourself back into a steel-ribbed corset for the ninth day in a row. 

Good to know.

Tonight: I’m back home. The heater blaring on high, the fish fed, the Shakespeare infusion of DVDs…having done their job…now being put back into their places on the bookshelves. I’m done feeding the beast of royal obsession on all things Bard, and am now free to move onto other things…like “Once,” (as Marty seems very insistent about.)

And tomorrow?  A free day off in the name of Veteran’s everywhere.  As if what they’ve already done for us wasn’t wonderful enough.  Think I’ll clean house, and fest some War flicks in dedication.  Maybe read that book I keep meaning to start.

…For now, some hot cocoa, I think. Snuggle up in m’blankets, and play with some Netflix streaming, until I zonk out.

Good plan.  Wonder how far I’ll get before I…

— Zzzzzzzz…

~D

If Music Be…Play On

10 Nov

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Resting up for tonight’s performance. 

…Never quite got the extra punch of nerves like I usually do for Opening.  Kept waiting for it, but the ghost that visits us all, must have duped someone else in the cast on accident.  A smooth run, nothing of real consequence to note, or a moment that stood out any more than I thought it would.

Now: we are Open. 

Our greatest challenge is to keep up the energy,  (whether or not our audiences seem to understand the story that is happening before them), and to keep our eyes on the prize with consistency, intent, and joy.

…Based on our first two audiences, there is a very unfortunate pattern of wide-eyed blinking going on through much of the first half….wherein their brains do their best at processing what we are giving them, and they try to make some sense of it. 

It has been a long time since I last did a Shakespeare, and that was a drama…so obviously the “comedy” requires more of their participation.  And my mind is just blown with the truth we were told at the beginning: that we should expect very little feedback until well of 20-30 minutes into the show, as it takes that long for the audience to wrap their head around the lingo, period, and story plot.

…And I vehemently disagreed with this, based on the clarity of the performances being given up there…

…Until last night completely confirmed what Preview first handed to us.

Our comedy, which we have worked so hard on, is being blanketed with very thick quilts of silence as we struggle in our task not to over-sell or out-shout these moments to get SOME sort of response from the seating sections.  Quite deflating, actually, to just plug on in blind faith that at some point, it WILL click with them, they WILL suddenly have the (apparent) necessary breathrough of communication, and we WON’T look like idiots throughout the WHOLE of the performance.  Only one-quarter of it.

Here is where I struggle to concept the situation we find ourselves in:

Shakespeare is not new. 

…It is often done here…many times over…by many of our companies, some of whom specifically perform it solely.  Every season.  And someone fills those seats…time, after time, after time. And one presumes they are the same patrons who frequent other productions.  Enough, and at such a rate, as to keep the tickets selling, and the theatre’s continuing to mount more and more productions.  And I know that “math” has never been my particular forte, but even to ME, these audience reactions (or lack of) are not adding up.

…Which brings up another thought, based on a debate with The BFF (a highly educated, yet TOTAL anti-Shakespearean), on the relevance and necessity of keeping his works running in the theatres and classrooms. 

MY stance was that he (and ALL of the classics) will ALWAYS be relevant because they are about the human condition, and humanity never, fucking, changes. You will always relate to it because, sex and anger and love and despair and joy and pain, is like music to humanity’s bones…in that it has no language barrier, it has no class distinction, or rules, or regulations…it just IS and WILL BE, and we all understand it, because it is part of being human.

…HER stance was that they are dead stories, in un-relatable languages,  that are only done now because people think is it “the fashion” and want to appear smarter, so only go along with it because of a kind of glorified, “look at me: attending Shakespeare,” deal.

I cringe at the thought.

I can’t believe it.

…And if I don’t believe it, but am showed instances like these past two nights…how do I explain it?

How do they not understand? 

…They live these very lives themselves. 

…Is it an instance of trying to learn “Italian” in order to understand the “words” of the Opera they are watching? Do they not realize that the music itself and the emotion behind it, tells the story, and that if you surrender to it, it will carry you through and usher you where you need to go?  Is it because they have been taught not to “trust” it?  Is it because they were once told, “this is too far above you, you will never understand, it is for smarter people than you?”

…Because aside from the fact he was directly commissioned by the Queen of England to write his pieces, Shakespeare (a very modern man of his time) wrote his works primarily to and for the “Groundlings”…the stall owners…the pub keepers, the butchers and hayseed planters and brick layers and every “common” man out on the street.  These stories are THEIR stories, written for THEM.  Most of whom could neither read nor write.  And this language the plays were written in, was not a contemporary of their own, it was a heightened language even at the time.  It was (and is) poetry

…It is music.

…And they understood it, because Shakespeare was one of the most amazing composers in all of human existence.  The tune is pure: if you just listen.

…But how do you tell that to an audience, with furrowed brows facing you, whispering to one another in their seats: “What’s happening?  Who is this?  Why, that? I don’t understand…” 

Patience and it will come. 

Listen and we will tell you. 

We are doing the work FOR you. 

Just breathe. 

Don’t fight the words. 

Trust us. 

…We have this great, great thing to share with you…it’s been toured around the planet twice over-plus, the existence of this country.  If is was a bad “tune” it would have hit the top 40, and gone extinct a looooong time ago.  But it is still here!  Which means its a really GOOD fucking song.  You’ll like it.  I promise. 

Please, just come to the theatre and listen

The music will do the rest.

Signed,

A Disgruntled Player

~D

Intermission

9 Nov

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It is intermission of Opening night. As we cool off, chat of the audience and compare weird showisms thus far…I take a moment to post, as pledged.

…A short piece, for a long day’s night, in good company.

To the “Twelfth Nighters,” I say a most express thank you, and Happiest of Openings!

~D

Shakespearean Saturation

3 Nov

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Two evenings off, going into tech, and I’ve put The Bard on, in love story succession. 

Tonight: “Loves Labours Lost,” and “Much Ado.” 

…The words ring in my head…some sticking for a while to stay and rest there. Ideas and plot lines I know as well as the back of my hand, being reintroduced in new ways only cuz I’ve been living in the headspace of it for little over a month now.

…Great feats of wooing, and anger, lust, jest, mock, and clowning.  A sense of humor is necessary for the journey…and a balance of it and the drama.  Finding the perfect give and take to engage.  That, I think, is the secret and separation ‘tween “well done” Shakespeare, and “not.”

…Then: the lines.  Comparisons, metaphors, sworn oaths, and poetry…some set at a pace, some slow to chew…

…In Love:

“…And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were temper’d with Love’s sighs;
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world:
Else none at all in ought proves excellent.”
~ LLL

“I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.”
~ Much Ado

“I would forget her, but a fever she
Reigns in my blood, and will remembered be”
~ LLL

***

…In Anger:

“Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman?
O that I were a man! What, bare her in hand until they
come to take hands; and then, with public
accusation, uncovered slander,
unmitigated rancour,
–O God, that I were a man!
I would eat his heart in the market-place.”
~Much Ado

***

… In Metaphor:

“Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-piled hyperboles, spruce affectation,
Figures pedantical; these summer flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation: I do forswear them.”
~ LLL

“Is it not strange that sheep’s guts could hail souls out of men’s bodies?”
~ Much Ado

” He hath not fed of the dainties that are bred in a book;
He hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink.”
~ LLL

” Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
-One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.”
~ Much Ado

“Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.”
~LLL

“O, she is fallen Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again
And salt too little which may season give
To her foul-tainted flesh!”
~ Much Ado

“Therefor brave conquerors, for so you are
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world’s desires”
~ LLL

***

…In Insult:

“They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.”
~ LLL

“O, she misused me past the endurance of a block.
She told me, not thinking I had been myself,
that I was the Prince’s jester, and that I was duller than a great thaw,
huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance upon me,
that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me.
She speaks poniards, and every word stabs.
If her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her,
she would infect to the North star.
So indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.”
~ Much Ado

“He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.”
~ LLL

“Out on thee! Seeming! I will write against it:
You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamper’d animals
That rage in savage sensuality.”
~ Much Ado

“Your wit’s too hot, it speeds too fast, ’twill tire.”
~ LLL

***

…In Comedy:

“Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of
the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?
No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would
die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till
I were married.”
~ Much Ado

“A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it.”
~ LLL

“For which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?”
~ Much Ado

“The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As the razor’s edge invisible,
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen”
~ LLL

“I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
Another man is a fool when he dedicates his
Behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at
Shallow follies in others, become the argument
Of his own scorn by falling in love.”
~ Much Ado

***

…In Drama:

“Every one can master a grief but he that has it.”
~ Much Ado

***

…Cue-to-Cue tomorrow…(or today, by-the-clock.) A long weekend ahead, but the company is excellent, so onward into Hell Week…with gusto!

~D

Post On The Move

21 Oct

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I’m taking you with me today. Out into the streets and rehearsal and friend meets and pub hang time.

…Its a sunny fall day in the Metropolis. I’m currently sitting in the UW district, drinking hot vanilla bubble tea (minus the bubbles), waiting for “K” and “A” to meet up. They just finished a 5k for Charity. I just finished brushing my teeth and putting a hat over my gross unshowered hair. Clearly, they are better people than me. This has never been disputed.

…Also, they are more hip and adventurous.

…For instance, I would never suggest consuming Bubble Tea on purpose. Usually, when shit gets gelatinous and gooey at the bottom of a fucking glass, you don’t drink whatever’s in there, cuz its obviously gone bad. But “K” and “A” are like, “Fuck that noise, ya’ll! This shit is delicious! I love chewing what I drink!” (They don’t really talk that way, P.S…but in my head, when I “write” them, they do.)

…Ooo! Bonus! “J” and Mr. Cuteness are enroute as well, I hear!

***Later***

We sit, (they chewing, me drinking), our teas as Mr. Cuteness is passed hand-to-hand. We, all commenting on how big he’s getting, and how red, the red hair has become, now the peach fuzzes have disappeared. He gnaws on me with his sharp new baby teeth, and I keep interrupting the line of conversation to stop and smell him constantly.

…His smell is like nothing else more delicious on earth.

Every time we all get together, it gobsmacks me that for months across this time last year, we were all working on a show together, and he was merely a robust belly bump we all petted and talked to and admired daily. We know this boy more intimately than legit blood family babies. We are his Aunties, and dote and pinch and play and love on him (and Mama), by turn, to ridiculous levels of necessity. Because we cannot help ourselves.

…It’s good to know that kind of pure, total, instinctual love and devotion can exist, in old maidenish, never-want-to-have-children-of-my-own-in-a-million-years, people like me.

…I missed these guys. We gotta figure out our rehearsal schedules to fit in meets between. I only live one block from their theatre, so we should figure something out, I hope. Life gets so busy and complicated, and suddenly it’s two or three months since you’ve seen people that pass your door every day. We need to fix that somehow, I think.

***Later***

A walk. Too good out there to pass it up. I’m already dressed, (and prob’ly smell), so to hell with it! Grab the phone, cue up Pandora and get out it in. Breathe deep. Snuggle into the fleece, zip-up, launch out, crunch leaves and those strange pokey nut thing seeds that go three layers deep and roll all over the pavement, screwing with the joggers who try to step between them. Read the new poem post at that one house. Then back home to shower and motor to rehearsal for final Act 5 review (in which I do not figure largely, so will be all the more able to observe and report back to the yous.)

***Later***

Sun has gone way suddenly, and a spit shower starts. I turn around and speed up back towards home. Two fellas building a trellis stop their band saws and “Hullo” me with matchin’ grins. Brothers, very obviously. I nod back, marching and thumb typing on, wiping the screen by turn, as the smell of wet sawdust follows me on the wind’s breeze.

…Raining harder now. Away goes the phone, as I tug my knit hat down further and push on.

***Later***

Change of rehearsal schedule due to flu-deaths already peppering the cast. We are all in socks and slippers (because the stage floor is being diagrammed for an intricate painting process that we keep fucking up with our shoes.) “M” is in Snookie slippers, marching around being indignant in great swarthes of Shakespearean language, with cartoon feet. My god, I love her so much right now.

…In the lobby, eating cake and BSing on-call, perpetually. Plans have been made for La Palma eats after. And I’m totally ignoring them all in the corner to write this, but they keep wandering over, by turn, to see what I’m doing. Talkin’ shit, you guys. Talkin’ shit. About YOU. Oh the power I wield.

…Off to go play…

***Later***

Line runs to infinity. We are absolutely puking meter in brilliance right now…changing accents by turn, cuz we can. Midwestern, Bronx, Boston, variety of English, and cartoon voices. If theatre shows had outtake reels, they would be twelve times longer than the legit show. And funnier. And grosser. And sexually explicit. And politically incorrect. Which is why we do this shit to begin with. We are encouraged to do things at our job that other people get sued and fired for, at theirs. We may live off condiments and stale popcorn left over in concessions from last weekend’s show, but we have a good time, damn it!

***Later***

Pub time with cast-ies, after fittings. We all order different shit and eat off each other’s plates. The Fella (a particular Ninja check-paying master) grabs my dinner and drinks off the list before I even have time to take my card out. We set a gamer/pizza/movie night together with “M” for next Saturday, (post optional add-on rehearsal), and talk shop the rest of the night.

…By 10:30, I am home, contemplating PJ’s and face-washing. Maybe some book reading. Or I’ll just catch up on my subscription posts. Either way, it’s time for me to get outta these pants, and free-bird from m’bra…so, “Goodnight, say I to the yous.”

…Tomorrow is only a couple hours away, and it’s gonna take all I got, to pretend it ain’t.

Gawd, how I hate Mondays…

~D

The Crying Game

26 Sep

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So…there’s gonna be an issue with keeping a straight face in this show. 

…I’m pretty hard to break when I’m “in” it, but holy hell am I being set up to fail in this one. 

…Scenes where I either walk in all reprimanding because of loud party-going of frat-like proportons…or try to play jokes on an idiot who just DOES NOT understand what in the hell I’m doing….or have to stand straight-faced, while the audience (I promise you) will be peeing their pants and braying like donkeys over the TOTAL loss of dignity of the most love-to-be-hated character…are killing me at the moment.

I am so screwed.

…Also, we are all of two scenes into my own personal blocking and I’ve already been poked, pinched, sniffed, picked up, ass-grabbed, and motor-boated.

Comedy. Its a good thing.

…Except when you can’t react to it.

Then its “evil.”

Like now, for instance.

…Well, actually, “now” is the time that it doesn’t count. I can laugh NOW as much as I like. In hopes to get it all out before its time for other people to laugh at it. Which it good. Cuz last night I was ripping it so hard, I was ugly-faced-crying in the corner, up stage left, waiting for an entrance I seriously could NOT FUCKING MAKE, because I was afraid if I stood up from the crouched laughing position, I would just pee all over myself.

…Which, I think, (though validating to the other actors on stage), would not really be appropriate. ‘Specially as it isn’t “technically” our stage yet…it’s still borrowed until the current show closes. Explaining those kinda stains on the Sherlock set, might add a whole other layer of “mystery” than they are really intending.

…But so goes “theatre.”

Sometimes…its just hilarity. And unexplainable pee stains.

~D

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