Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Other Shakespearean News...

My blogging has suffered this past week due to a couple of distractions. I absorbed Jim Henson's The Storyteller on Netflix streaming and so I went to the library and checked out a plethora of books of fairy tales which are mostly awesome. I also had food poisoning and then decided to put on Kung Fu Hamlet in June at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. 
I still managed to read The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was a nice accompaniment to the fairy tales since Act V is all about duping Falstaff into believing that he is being attacked by fairies. But I'm not posting about The Merry Wives just yet.
I decided that in addition to reading all Shakespeare's plays this year, I should try to see as many of them on stage as I possibly can. And of course that means I want to read any of the plays I'm planning on seeing before I go, so that I can be a superior audience member. And by superior I mean snooty.
So far these are the productions I know about:

1. The Merry Wives of Windsor set in the Old West at the Lyric Theater in LA, I will be attending on Saturday January 23.

2. Hamlet from the Porters of Hellsgate, I'm not sure yet when or if I'll be able to make any performances of this one.

3. Much Ado about Nothing by A Noise Within on Friday March 5th

4. Titus Andronicus... but I'm still waiting on performance dates and all for this one.

So please let me know if you hear of any Shakespeare productions in and around LA. I'm especially interested in going to see some really bad high school productions of Romeo and Juliet or a Midsummer Night's Dream. That would bring me great joy.

Onto something totally different now. 
I was helping my sister Cassie with an essay last weekend and she was making some analogy, saying that a Theater director was like a General and had to understand what it was to be a soldier before he could be leader of soldiers. I told her it was too bad that she hadn't read Henry V cause she could have pulled some great quotes about "we happy few, we band of brothers" and she said... well, here's exactly how the exchange went:

me: well
  this might be fake
  since you haven't read it
  but you could quote shakespeare
  Henry V
  is a general
  but he leads his men
  he's in the battle
 cassie: I've seen the show, does that count?
 me: you've seen henry V??!?!
 cassie: yeah, new york
 me: really?
5:47 PM cassie: yup
 me: tell me what happens
  and I'll give you the quotes
 cassie: well, it was really boring
 me: ugh
 cassie: haha
  okay, this is what I got
  there was a war
  and there was this lady from..france or something and couldn't understand henry
5:48 PM but they were engaged
  lots of henry's men died
  the end
 cassie: hahah
  is that even right?
 me: Yes
5:49 PM cassie: sweet

Despite her nearly perfect summary of the play, Cassie decided against using the Henry V quote. I think she thought it would be academically disingenuous or too obvious to employ a Shakespeare quote in an essay about theater. 
When I was writing essays in high school, the internet was barely accessible, and when I was in college web resources were still scattered and unreliable. But if you're writing an essay these days, it's easy to find impressive quotes and summaries of great pieces of literature without actually reading or comprehending books or whatever the source material is.
Nearly all of human culture has been reduced by the internet to Educational McNuggets that we swallow one after another after another. And we start to feel full, but then you go to the bathroom, and all those McNuggets pass out of your system without leaving behind nutrients or vitamins or proteins.  Cause they're not good for you. They're not made of real chicken. They're delicious and they come with great sauce, but that's a poor diet for your brain.

So kudos to Cassie for passing on my attempt to dress her essay in golden breading and BBQ Sauce. I probably wouldn't have done the same if I were in college today.

A proper response to The Merry Wives is coming... as is more information on Kung Fu Hamlet.
Until then, watch The Storyteller if you have the time. You'll love it.

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