Saturday, October 3, 2009

More plays than you can shake a spear at

I got my share of Shakespeare this summer. It started with The Comedy of Errors at the summer Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City with Michael and Angi. It continued at BYU with a condensed version of The Tempest with Matt and Tricia. And the most recent addition was last weekend, viewing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Fall Shakespearean Festival with Daniel and Meagan.

Since we didn't know quite what to expect for this play, I read synopses of all the plays I wasn't familiar with the day before. We all brought our copies of The Complete Works of Shakespeare and on the trip down, we reviewed all the plays on the way down. We did really well on the comedies and okay on the tragedies, although I must say that I had never heard of Titus Andronicus before, and it has perhaps the goriest plot I've ever read about. But that's probably not saying much since the number of PG-13 movies I've seen is pretty small, and that's generally the goriest I get. Then we got to the histories and we were swimming in a lot of plot that we weren't sure about. But we felt like we had a decent hand on it by the time we rolled into Cedar City.

We were a little dismayed to discover that the playwright of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) thought that part of the hilarity of Shakespeare that needed to be included in the play was his sexual jokes that are often so buried in Elizabethan English that modern audiences don't pick up on it- which was rather disappointing and took a good deal of the enjoyment out of it for us. I know Shakespeare put a lot of that in his work, but I for one do not mind that it goes right over my head in the originals. I did enjoy their retelling of Romeo and Juliet and their five-minute version of Hamlet, followed by the one-minute version of Hamlet, followed by the five-minute version backwards. The comedies were all compiled in one super-comedy, since so many of them have similar elements- big storms, identical twins, cross-dressing, people falling in love with the wrong people . . . it's not too hard to get them confused. And the histories? Played out as a football game. These guys were clever. And I did enjoy it overall.

We also took a look around at the gift shop and we found this special gem (if you can't read the box, click to enlarge):

That's right, unicorns versus narwhals. You didn't know the unicorn had a natural enemy in the narwhal, did you? It makes sense- the land-based unicorn going at it with an arctic whale? I guess since they with have one horn, they each feel the other is a threat. Or something. But apparently this rivalry has been going on for a while, as you can see on the back:

This time . . . it's personal. If the kit had been a little cheaper, I would definitely have come home with this prize. As it was, we just took pictures so we can enjoy the memory.

We also tried on the Renaissance hats they had there to help us get in a Shakespearean mood:

We also explored the themed statue garden and tried our hand at impersonating different characters. Daniel does a mean King Lear:

My statue was labeled as Juliette. As a sappy, overhormonal thirteen-year-old, she's not my favorite Shakespearean heroine, but Meagan pointed out that I could pick out any other heroine I wanted- after all, what's in a name? So, this is me being . . . Beatrice. Although the pose is all wrong for Beatrice. It probably fits Miranda better. Or Ophelia, but I think I'd like to be Ophelia even less than Juliette. In any case, I posed, and Daniel took the picture.

Meagan and I agreed that the best thing we got out of this trip was an increased desire to learn more about the Bard's plays and see more well-done, traditional Shakespeare. After all, he did write a good many plays that I've never seen or read, and sicne I do own his complete works, I need to get a move on!


Angi said...

Natural enemy! I was so happy when you showed me that picture. Please come play any day. I promise to try harder to be nicer like Louie.

Gabe said...

1. Narwhals vs Unicorn is the best rivalry I have ever heard. I've got my money on the Narwhals.... since they actually exist. Just saying...

2. I was just skimming your post about Juliette, and I thought I was getting the general gist of things until I saw the word "Heroine" and I thought. "Woah! Either my skimming skills are really bad, or Maria just pulled one on me and went from shakespeare to addicts!" Then I got it. English is wack yo.