Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Comedy of Errors: Finished 2009.07.17

Finished Re-read 2009.07.17.
Began Re-read 2009.06.30


Fun, fun, fun! However, reading CoE definitely challenges one's ability to suspend disbelief. But, as is always the case with Bill, he wrote for the stage, and in watching Comedy I truly see in it the Marx Brothers and Three Stooges comedic inspiration/muse! But and typically of Bill, he cannot not write some poignant and powerful stuff — stuff stuck in the middle of completely ridiculous comedy. For example, when Luciana powerfully and with great sophistication pleads with the man whom she thinks is her sister's husband:

Act III Scene ii
And may it be that you have quite forgot
A husband's office? Shall, Antipholus.
Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
Then for her wealth's sake use her with more kindness:
Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness:
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator;
Look sweet, be fair, become disloyalty;
Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger;
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted;
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
Be secret-false: what need she be acquainted?
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
'Tis double wrong, to truant with your bed
And let her read it in thy looks at board:
Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
Ill d eeds are doubled with an evil word.
Alas, poor women! make us but believe,
Being compact of credit, that you love us;
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife:
'Tis holy sport to be a little vain,
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.
(And Jennifer Lines, in this year's Bard-on-the-Beach emoted it as good as I have ever seen it — it was magical.)


It happened that this play was the one I opted to advertise for the department's annual outing that I organize. I had an excellent subscription this year, in that in total 16 people committed themselves to an evening of entertainment. As is my wont, I arranged for a pair of excellent door prizes to be awarded to the best reading of not less than 20 lines. Sounds simple — sort of — except that the reading occurs after dinner in a restaurant! Ouch! As usual, we ate at the Epicurean Delicatessen Caffè. Well, as it turned out, 5 of the 16 had the courage enough to stand up in a small Italian deli/cafè and read out loud. My hat goes off to them! The winners were Trish & Tom (reading Dromio's description of Nell). Runner up was Sherrill who read with Carol cold, both of whom found the courage extemporaneously after satiating their appetites.
I was challenged, by Trish, to read cold Dromio's ''Gold' quoth he' exchange.

Act II Scene i
I mean not cuckold-mad;
But, sure, he is stark mad.
When I desired him to come home to dinner,
He ask'd me for a thousand marks in gold:
''Tis dinner-time,' quoth I; 'My gold!' quoth he;
'Your meat doth burn,' quoth I; 'My gold!' quoth he:
'Will you come home?' quoth I; 'My gold!' quoth he.
'Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain?'
'The pig,' quoth I, 'is burn'd;' 'My gold!' quoth he:
'My mistress, sir' quoth I; 'Hang up thy mistress!
I know not thy mistress; out on thy mistress!'
Quoth who?
Quoth my master:
'I know,' quoth he, 'no house, no wife, no mistress.'
So that my errand, due unto my tongue,
I thank him, I bare home upon my shoulders;
For, in conclusion, he did beat me there.
Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.
Go back again, and be new beaten home?
For God's sake, send some other messenger.
Back, slave, or I will break thy pate across.
And he will bless that cross with other beating:
Between you I shall have a holy head.
Hence, prating peasant! fetch thy master home.
Am I so round with you as you with me,
That like a football you do spurn me thus?
You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither:
If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.


As always, the performance by the Bard-on-the-Beach troupe was magical, creative and innovative and very, very funny. Twas a fun evening, had by all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Secret of the Golden Flower: Begun 2009.07.16

Great Find!
Stumbled across The Secret of the Golden Flower, ISBN 0-15-679980-4. I didn't find on the web the cover of this 1962 edition, hence the lack of cover art. (I will arrange for it to be scanned, soon.)

Began 2009.07.16. Unfortunately, this is an extremely busy time in my life, and my reading it is rather slow. And, of course, there are all those other books to read, too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Comedy of Errors: Begun - 2009.06.30

Edited by Charles Whitworth. ISBN 0-19-281461-3

Began 2009.06.30

This is one of the four plays our exquisitely beautiful Bard on the Beach is presenting this year. I have arranged a departmental outing to it. And for great door prizes to be awarded to the best presentation of 20 lines from the play. So, time to bone up and get my tongue working.
Wish me luck.

For those of you unfamiliar or disenfranchised with Shakespeare (most likely because of inadequate teaching of it in high school), this play is a great slapstick-like farce in the same genre as The Marx Brothers or The Three Stooges. For example, a past production here at Bard-on-the-Beach blew down the house down with a very broad flatulence joke. Its all about mistaken identity taken to extreme. Absolutely unbelievable, in the best sense of great farce, and completely engaging.