lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
[personal profile] lareinenoire
First, a shortish report on last night, when I joined [ profile] cisic and [ profile] sadcypress for a production of The Comedy of Errors at Baltimore Shakespeare Festival.

It's one of the plays that I just don't know very well at all, and may not even have read in full. All I knew about it going in was that there were two sets of identical twins whose parents quite idiotically gave them the same name. As in, one set of twins named Antipholus, and another set named Dromio.

This, naturally, led me to spend most of the evening wondering what sort of failure of logic led to that state of affairs. Also, why the twin who knew he had a twin and was in fact searching for said twin, would not immediately realise, when he wandered into a town and everybody seemed to think they knew who he was, that, oh, maybe, just maybe, they were referring to his identical twin. But apparently Shakespeare was riffing on Plautus and you're just supposed to go with it.

The performance itself was quite entertaining in spite of 50% humidity (everything around us was soaked with condensation by the end) and the fact that all the actors were speaking extremely slowly. I do understand that outdoor Shakespeare is a tricky beast and you have to be careful of enunciation (having been in what was meant to be an outdoor production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, I do know how difficult it is). However, this was paired with over-emphasis on each and every single joke -- as if every line was supposed to be a punchline. Adriana was a particular problem in this regard, and we couldn't help but think that, shrill as the performance was, we couldn't necessarily blame anyone for trying to avoid her. That being said, everybody seemed to tone it down in the second half and that helped a lot.

It was a perfectly enjoyable production all round, even if the René Magritte references were a bit unnecessary. Yes, we get that being mistaken for your twin brother is unsettling and surreal, but we don't need a giant comb onstage to illustrate that (I'd much rather have seen Antipholus of Ephesus use the giant comb to try to batter down the door to his house, for instance). The final scene, where the cast of nine used Magritte-inspired cardboard cutouts of other characters (faces obscured by random things, i.e. apples) to recreate a stage full of people was fairly clever.

And today's Shakespeare meme response.

Day #7: Your favourite clown

Hmm. Clowns are hard. No, seriously, they are. In my case, the primary problem is that it is very hard for me personally to grasp them on the page. Some people can -- and I'm envious of them. So I almost need to restrict myself to plays I've either seen or performed.

Falstaff is tempting, but I really don't think he's a clown as such. I'm not sure why this is the case -- and please feel free to argue it if you'd like! -- but in my head, he's something else altogether.

I may need to ultimately go with Feste. He was the first clown I legitimately liked after seeing the Trevor Nunn film where he was played by Ben Kingsley. As I grew to know the play better, especially after being in a production in undergrad, I realised how callous and cruel a clown Feste actually was, but that does in a way seem to be the purpose of a clown. To stand aside from the rest of the characters and turn them into laughingstocks for the audience's pleasure. [ profile] angevin2's choice of Bottom overturns this quite a bit, making himself the butt (ha) of the joke more often than not. And I do like Touchstone in As You Like It as well, but there's just something about Feste's comic distance that I find oddly fascinating and even a little bit sad; that all his wit and verve is almost too sharp to be comfortable.

Day #1: Your favourite play - Othello and Richard III
Day #2: Your favourite character - Lady Elizabeth Grey in 3 Henry VI and Richard III
Day #3: Your favourite hero - Othello
Day #4: Your favourite heroine - Juliet from Romeo and Juliet and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
Day #5: Your favorite villain - Richard of Gloucester
Day #6: Your favourite villainess female villain - Joan la Pucelle
Day #7: Your favourite clown - Feste from Twelfth Night
Day #8: Your favourite comedy
Day #9: Your favourite tragedy
Day #10: Your favourite history
Day #11: Your least favourite play
Day #12: Your favourite scene
Day #13: Your favourite romantic scene
Day #14: Your favourite fight scene
Day #15: The first play you read
Day #16: Your first play you saw
Day #17: Your favourite speech
Day #18: Your favourite dialogue
Day #19: Your favourite movie version of a play
Day #20: Your favourite movie adaptation of a play
Day #21: An overrated play
Day #22: An underrated play
Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play
Day #24: An actor or actress you would love to see in a particular role
Day #25: Sooner or later, everyone has to choose: Hal or Falstaff?
Day #26: Your favourite couple
Day #27: Your favourite couplet
Day #28: Your favourite joke
Day #29: Your favourite sonnet
Day #30: Your favourite single line
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