Wrong Play (But I Can Understand The Confusion)

Fun bit of Shakespeare Geekery on Reddit today when I spotted too late this “Tip of My Tongue” post:

In it there’s a specific scene in which all the characters repeat how they feel about each other a bunch of times with all of them stating how they feel affection for one of the people in the group who does not feel for them.

One of the characters may have an injured arm and I think one of them kept on ending the repeating cycle of lines with something like “and I for no man”

I think I remember one of the characters MIGHT have been a girl dressing up as a guy but I’m not completely sure

By the time I spotted this post somebody had replied, “Twelfth Night?” to which the original poster said, “Solved! That’s the one.”  He even shot down suggestions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing as not being the correct answer.

Astute geeks will no doubt see the problem. He is describing, to a T, that other cross-dressing romantic comedy, As You Like It.  Orlando has entered with a broken arm, Rosalind is dressed as a boy, everybody declares their love for the wrong person, and Rosalind is the one who keeps “ending the repeating cycle of lines” with, “and I for no woman”:

SILVIUS
It is to be all made of sighs and tears;
And so am I for Phebe.

PHEBE
And I for Ganymede.

ORLANDO
And I for Rosalind.

ROSALIND
And I for no woman.

SILVIUS
It is to be all made of faith and service;
And so am I for Phebe.

PHEBE
And I for Ganymede.

ORLANDO
And I for Rosalind.

ROSALIND
And I for no woman.

It’s getting so you can’t tell one girl dressed as boy comedy from the next! 🙂

 

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No Icicles Yet! Also, Not a Dutchman

For No Shave November this year I did promise some update pictures, so here you go!

It’s Thanksgiving morning (though you’re no doubt seeing this on Friday), I’m in New England, and I’m waiting in the car before the big football game. It’s going to be record breaking cold out there.

None of my kids play football, mind you. One of my girls is a cheerleader.  So I will be sitting in the stands, watching her stand on the sidelines.  Our team’s not even really very good – I think I saw two wins this year.

All of this reminds me of a Shakespeare beard reference:

…you are now sailed into the north of my
lady’s opinion; where you will hang like an icicle
on a Dutchman’s beard, unless you do redeem it by
some laudable attempt either of valour or policy.

This one’s from Twelfth Night. One of Shakespeare’s better similes (…pause to recall high school English….tries to remember whether it is a simile or metaphor that uses like or as …. going with simile).

<time passes>

Ok, I spent about 15 minutes in the stands watching my daughter cheer and now I’m back in the car with a newfound appreciation for Dutchmen. Still not sure I’ve got icicles on my beard but man, those metal bleachers are cold. At least our team scored first.

So where were we?  Ah yes icicles in Dutchmen’s beards. I’m not completely sure what the quote means – is an icicle in a Dutchmen’s beard something that he’s just so used to that he ignores it? Or is it an annoying thing that he wishes to get rid of?  I take “sailed north” to mean “You’re gone, you’re out of her thoughts now until you go something to get back into them.”

Since Bardfilm sent me an article on the topic, I learned that it’s actually a reference to something specific, not just one of those hyperbolic hypotheticals, like “colder than various parts of a witch’s anatomy.”

For, the expedition of Bardendsz and Heemskerck which spent the winter of 1596/97 in the Arctic Circle appears to have appealed so strongly to the English imagination that references occur over a period of many years.

(Bardfilm, can you help me give proper credit for that quote?  Even if I copy down random words that look like the right names I’m sure to get the format wrong.)

I still don’t fully understand the context (the article goes into a discussion of scientific discovery dating back to Galileo and the cuts over to Hamlet, but I didn’t make the connection back to Twelfth Night). I’m guessing that it means, “When these dudes decided to sail north, everybody thought that’s it, they’re done, they’re never coming back.”  Then they actually did something important or learned something important, so when they returned those same people were all, “Dude, that was awesome.”

To my ear it sounds like, with a little shuffling of words, that “icicle in a Dutchman’s beard” could be looked at like a trophy.  I imagine these guys, who everybody thought as good as dead from their own stupidity, suddenly bursting into the local tavern, beards all full of icicles, making it more like a trophy of an important journey well taken.

Maybe not my finest analysis but did I not mention I’m sitting in my car in the parking lot? I’m lucky I’ve got wifi.

Speaking of beards, I’m trying to be part of No Shave November this year to raise some money for cancer prevention awareness.  This year I’m celebrating the holidays with three relatives in various stages of their own personal cancer battles. I hope none of you have to experience that.  Please consider a donation if you haven’t already.  Thanks as always for your continued support!

 

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Bet I Can Predict The Future

Which character was he supposed to be?

Finally, finally, my oldest gets to participate in a dedicated Shakespeare course this fall. I don’t have the title in front of me but it’s basically Shakespeare and Modern Film.  Given that my bestest online Shakespeare pal is a dude whose actual name is “Bard Film” I can’t wait until she gets homework.  (“Daddy, can I please do my own homework for once?”  “It’s ok sweetie, Bardfilm and I have got this.”)

Anyway, we had to order textbooks and I see they’ll be studying Othello, Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night. Folger editions, for the curious.

Hmmm.  Anybody else seeing a pattern there?

I’m calling it right now – I’m going to have my daughter watch O, 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s The Man before school starts because I’ll bet you anything that’s what they’ll be doing in class. I never thought I’d say this but I’m glad Hamlet’s not among her required texts. If they had her watching Lion King I don’t think I could stand it.

 

 

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He Was A Good Fellow, That Robin

I recently talked myself into reading the biography of Robin Williams. It wasn’t a question of whether I’d enjoy it. I loved the man’s body of work. It was more a question of whether I was prepared for the inside story of his end.

But we’re not there yet, I’m less than half way through. I want to talk about his Shakespeare.  I think anybody that followed the man knew he had some Shakespeare in him. He attended Julliard, for starters, and was known to drop Shakespeare references throughout his improvisations:

He also, of course, played Osric in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet.

What I did not realize is that he *started* with Shakespeare. His Malvolio received rave reviews.  I did a little digging, and look what I found!

This image is from 1971. I only wish I could have found the complete review!  I did get a pointer to it, but it was behind a subscription paywall so I gave up on that idea.

But then! I found something even more exciting.  The book talks about a Western production of Taming of the Shrew that Williams was part of. I won’t say “starred in” because it looks like he played Tranio, not exactly a major role. And guess what?  There’s video! Unfortunately, there’s no audio so all you really get is Robin Williams in a cowboy hat standing around in the background.

I’m about halfway through the book now, well past Mrs. Doubtfire and Dead Poets’ Society, so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to see any more live Shakespeare credits. But I was very excited to learn about a few that I never knew!

 

 

 

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Most Dysfunctional Marriages in Shakespeare

I love it when Shakespeare comes up at lunch.  We were talking about with a coworker who’d been in Midsummer, and I asked whether his production had been on the light and glitzy side, or touched on some of the darker bits.   This might be the play that kindergarten kids get to dress up as fairies, but it’s also the play where a husband drugs his wife and sends her off to be with an animal until he gets everything he wants.

Which led to this question. I’ve seen “Best Marriage in Shakespeare” done before (and we’ve done it here), and the Macbeths often win that one. They’re made for each other.

So how about the most dysfunctional? Define that however you like.

I am going to go ahead and disqualify Othello right off the bat. If you actually kill your wife during the course of the play then it’s just too easy.  And that goes for both Othello and Iago in that one. Claudius gets a pass because that was an accident.

Kate and Petruchio?  Whether or not you intrepret the play’s ending as happy doesn’t necessarily mean that their relationship is a healthy one. What about the Twelfth Night couples?  When you realize that the person you married isn’t the person you thought you were marrying, can you just roll with it and end up happy?

 

 

 

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