Monday, February 25, 2008

Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World

From the "you never know where life will take you next" files:
Today was our first performance of Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World. It's a 45 minute piece that Kevin wrote which mixes information about Shakespeare's life and times with scenes and monologues from his plays, tracing his development as a writer and some of the themes that weave throughout his works. There's also a whole lot of silliness, as you might imagine. We'll be touring it around to schools this spring (it's not the tour of Midsummer that is wending its way across New England from S&Co; this is the education artists from the spring elementary and middle schools teams, plus the guy who was dressed like a Mountie in Servant of Two Masters, for those of you who saw that show during our NITS summer.). There are six actors playing multiple characters we also do the narration.

It was a little frightening to be performing again (Outside of NITS, I haven't been on stage since high school), and it's a little intimidating to be part of a cast where everyone else is a trained actor, but rehearsals have been fun because everyone is so nice and I can already tell how much the experience of performing is going to help me when I'm back to directing kids. Today's audience was with the show the whole time. There were a few little kids in the audience who laughed at all the slapstick comedy stuff and squealed in disgust and horror when I (as Beatrice) kissed Benedick. Ah, it feels good to know that I am frightening children... After the show, some old ladies came up to us and said "we wanted to see scenes from Taming of the Shrew! And we wanted to hear the dirty jokes!" This is in reference to a section where the narration says "if anyone ever tries to tell you that Shakespeare's low comedy and bawdy characters were only for the no class, low class groundlings...Just mention that Queen Elizabeth loved a dirty joke as much as anyone. Certainly more than the Puritans. Probably more than your parents." During this narration, the actor who plays Shakespeare whispers a dirty joke in my ear (I'm playing Queen Elizabeth) I'm supposed to laugh and slap Shakespeare for being so naughty. Of course, the actor never actually tells a dirty joke, and never tells a joke with the timing to land at the moment where my laugh cue is, but I like thinking that those old ladies were imagining all sorts of scandalous things!

There is a little bit from Julius Caesar in the show, and since I don't have any lines in that section, I took that moment today to think about our Caesar scenes out on the Rose stage. It's strange to think how unexpected some of the twists and turns of life can be, and just how far out of my comfort zone I am on this project. But surviving it! I hope you all are well and are continuing the wonderful work you do with your respective students.


At 6:55 PM, Blogger Holbrook said...

I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that I would gladly murder 100 random strangers to see you in this show. Do us proud, Meg!

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Meg O'C said...

I'll do my best to make you all proud.

In the meantime, let's keep Craig away from pointy objects, eh?


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