the comedy theatre

Shakespeare names to name your child

Polixenes
Autolycus
Saturninus
Flaminius
Flavius
Doll Tearsheet
Bardolph
A Bear
Servillus
Alcibiades
Caska
Pistol
Egeus
Soothsayer
Canker Bolingbroke
Bassianus
Bushy
Bagot
Green
The Princess of France
Three Witches
Nick Bottom
Gonneril
Fool
Cesario
Andrew Aguecheek
Toby Belch
Senator 2
Fourteen Bras
Nurse
Hotspur
Patience
Moth
Speed

It’s World Theatre Day!

So as a celebration, I’d like to post a series of photos. A number of you have asked about shows I’ve done in the past, so here are some highlights:

Pharaoh, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:

Haberdasher, The Taming of the Shrew:

Laertes, Hamlet:

Oberon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

King Alonso, The Tempest:

Gordon (the Dead Man), Dead Man’s Cell Phone:

Antipholus of Syracuse, The Comedy of Errors:

Jack Worthing, The Importance of Being Earnest:

Mr. Wickham, Pride & Prejudice:

Alonzo, Cats:

And of course…

Wheatley, Portal 2: The (Unauthorized) Musical:

Why I love Shakespeare (and why you should too)

Have you ever read Shakespeare and thought, “This is stupid.  I don’t understand a word of this”? 

Hey, me too! The first work of Shakespeare I ever read was Romeo and Juliet as a freshman in high school, and I remember thinking, I know this is a classic story and all, but why do people think this is so good?  A couple of teenagers fall so madly in love in a matter of days that they make a bunch of stupid decisions that gets themselves and a few other people killed.  

Wow.  We should probably market this as the greatest love story of all time.  

I just didn’t get it.

Within the next few years I read Julius Caesar, which definitely impressed me more, and then I read Hamlet, which I legitimately enjoyed, but there was still something missing.  I’d come to appreciate Shakespeare, but I just couldn't love Shakespeare.  

And then something happened that made all that change.  Something that changed my outlook on everything I’ve ever heard about Shakespeare’s plays.

I saw one performed.  

I know, I know, revolutionary, right?  I saw a freaking play.  But here’s why it was so amazing for me.

To preface, I read the play beforehand, and wasn’t impressed.  The play I’m talking about is Comedy of Errors, which I’d actually never heard of before reading it.  It’s one of Shakespeare’s earlier works.  It’s a comedy about identical twins who happen to have identical twin servants who get separated basically at birth.  They take the same name, as do the servants who have been with them since birth, so you end up with two guys names Antipholus with two servants named Dromio.  They come to the same town (now adults) and everybody gets everybody else mixed up.  

Upon reading the play, I chuckled maybe a couple times, but it wasn’t all that funny.  Then I went and saw it, and it’s probably the second funniest play I’ve seen in my entire life.  I laughed so hard.  The whole thing was hilarious.  

And it was in that moment, walking out of the Globe theatre after my first Shakespeare production, that I started to love it.  

An epiphany of understanding: Think of it this way.  Imagine your favorite book.  A book that makes you laugh and cry and want to be a better person.  A book that inspires you.  Now imagine the sparknotes version of that book.  Raw, basic plot with none of the flourishes and nuances that make that book what it is.  Sparknotes will tell you what happens, but that’s it.  

If you read Sparknotes, would that still be your favorite book?  Probably not.  Mostly because it wouldn’t mean anything to you.  

Reading a Shakespeare play is like reading the Sparknotes version of a book.You get dialogue.  That’s it.  The bare basics with nothing that makes it truly incredible.  

No wonder so many people hate Shakespeare!  They have no idea what Shakespeare even is!

A few weeks after my wonderful first encounter, I returned to the Globe to see Julius Caesar.  Remember how I’ve read this one before?  I liked it before.  But just wait.  

I stand in the Globe as a groundling, just as a working class citizen would have in Shakespeare’s day.  Midway through the play, I lean against the stage in the front row and watch the fake blood flow as Caesar is stabbed again and again.  The conspirators, soaked to their elbows in blood, threaten Mark Antony, a supporter of Caesar’s who has walked in to see their heinous  act.  Antony claims to mean them no harm, and they leave him for a moment alone with Caesar, who lies dead in a pool of crimson.  The murderers exit, and Mark Antony stands alone on the stage.  He stumbles to Caesar’s body, falls to his knees, and weeps.  

“O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,” Antony whispers through his tears to Caesar, “that I am meek and gentle with these butchers.  Thou art the ruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of times.”

He raises his hands upward to heaven, now dripping with Caesar’s blood, his face streaked with tears. “Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!”  His voice echoes across the hundreds of silent people who suddenly feel as if they have intruded on this grieved and pained man as he weeps over his dead friend.  

A tear slides from my own eye.  

No longer words on a page, Shakespeare is alive.  The words are no longer ancient and out-of-date, but natural and beautiful.  

Shakespeare was not of an age, but for all time, as Ben Jonson said.  

I love Shakespeare.  I love Shakespeare.  Not because I’ve read most of his plays, which I haven’t.  Not because I’ve seen many of his plays, because I haven’t.  

I love Shakespeare because I’ve seen the plays come to life on stage in the way they were meant to.  Plays are meant to be seen, not read.  

So don’t hate Shakespeare because you don’t understand it.  Stop reading and start watching.  Maybe you’ll fall in love, too.  

Theatre Kids (Part 2)
  • Friend: Sometimes, you can just be totally weird.
  • Me: LET YOUR FREAK FLAG WAVE, LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY!
  • Friend: You've changed. You used to be normal, now you like musicals and Broadway.
  • Me: I'M BEING PULLED IN A NEW DIRECTION, AND I THINK I LIKE IT. I THINK I LIKE IT.
  • Friend: Anyway, what are you doing tonight? Maybe we can hang out?
  • Me: TONIGHT, TONIGHT IT ALL-
  • Friend: Never mind.
ID #14333

Name: Emily
Age: 15
Country: United States

Hello! I am Emily. I’m a incoming sophomore in high school. I love theatre, music, dancing, cartoons, and comedy. Defiantly identify as a theatre nerd, and the stage is a second home. I’m loud, very talkative and have fun carefree personality. I love living life to the fullest and making it as interesting as possible. I hope I can find someone to talk with, and a new friend.

Preferences: Someone under the age of 20, either than that, just anyone!

ashscented-revamped  asked:

Hi there, I have a question for you! I was discussing this with my Jane Austen professor today, and I wanted to know what you think: Does it bother you when people accept Jane as simply a "Romance Novelist" like, yes, her novels have romance in them but on what level is the romance circumstantial and satirical?

I think those people like to selectively ignore that Jane Austen herself can be quoted as distancing herself entirely from the “romantic” as it was known in her time, (“I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other motive than to save my life, & if it were indispensable for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No - I must keep my own style & go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.”) and also how unfair it is to then also consign her to the realm of “romance novels” in the modern era when she herself would have had no concept like unto our Harlequins and Mills & Boons. So on a genre-level, I do find calling Austen a Romance Novelist to be inaccurate and over-simplifying and downright lazy, because it’s people choosing to look at the fact that the focus of her novels are young women and that the only honourable provision for young women of that class was marriage, and so they end in marriage, but those marriages are funny, human, real, and, (we hope) happy–which was a pretty good ending, and not impossible, in Austen’s time. All her characters and plots could have been her contemporaries–her neighbours, her family, her friends. All the drama is entirely within the scope of normal human beings.

Under such a consideration, Shakespeare’s comedies are ‘comedies’ because they, too, end with marriages, and in the case of plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, they’re full of magic and fairies and extraordinary stuff, and yet they’re not dismissed as frothy romance the way Austen’s entire canon can sometimes be. (Which, if you ever get the chance, please go and see a period-reproduction of one of Shakespeare’s comedies at the Globe theatre, because there will be enough dick-, puke-, and fart-jokes to make you realize that Shakespeare was ALSO the seedy-drugstore-pulp-fiction-novelist of his day and he L O V E D it.) I know that The Tempest and other later plays are sometimes categorized as Shakespeare’s Romances, but that was a term assigned to them by a late-Victorian academic and certainly not due to the mere fact that there was love and marriage in the plays, but more on the basis of the plays’ spectacles and themes of faith and redemption, more in keeping with that particular era’s definition of Romantic and not romantic, but that is a whole ‘nother discussion in itself.

While it does bother me that people will insist upon categorizing Austen’s works as romances (doubtless due to how adaptations have brought general awareness of her work into the mainstream consciousness,) it is not because I have any particular distaste for romances as a form. We’re all pretty aware of the general cultural dismissal of any art that is produced by or for women in particular (”chick” flicks and lit being usually uttered with distaste or at the very least a very broad assumption about the content and character of the piece being just very generally Female and therefore lacking much substance or originality…meanwhile every minute some middle-aged man’s fictionalized sepia-tinted musings on his mid-life crisis is given beard-stroking acclaim for its raw power and fresh perspective.) And I think this is where I have a lot of problems with Austen being shoved into the romance category, because of how the world in general (academia included) treats romance and women’s fiction. There is bad women’s fiction out there, but I’m sure no more than there is bad men’s fiction, and to have a narrative which does encompass stories of finding love and happily-ever-after should not be considered a mark against it, by any means.

Essentially, my view of people calling Austen a Romance Novelist is, firstly, that they are far too lazy and ignorant to even be putting themselves forward to enter into a serious discussion of Austen’s work at all; and secondly, even if by some alteration of history and literature it turned out she WAS a Romance Novelist, after all…well, why on earth should that term be presumed degrading and dismissive? Romance is wonderful.