Twelfth Night: Act 3, Scene 2

THE PLOT SO FAR: Olivia is busy mooning over Cesario, which has upset Sir Andrew, who is only hanging out and drinking with Sir Toby because Sir Toby has convinced him that he can successfully woo Olivia. He can't, because he's an idiot, but nobody wants to tell him this. 

Let's be honest... Sir Andrew is one of those people who would look up if you told the someone had written "gullible" on the ceiling.

Dramatis Personae | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.5, part 1 | 1.5, part 2 | 1.5, part 3|2.1 | 2.2 | 2.3, part 1 | 2.3, part 2 | 2.4, part 1 | 2.4, part 2 | 2.5, part 1 | 2.5, part 2 | 3.1, part 1 | 3.1, part 2 | 3.2

The Ohio Light Opera 2016 Season in 3 Panels Each

We take a break from our regularly scheduled romp through Twelfth Night for a musical interlude!

OK, OK, I'm a big Shakespeare person. Shakespeare Shakespeare Shakespeare. But honestly, if you excavate the layers of my theatrical soul, the bedrock and very foundation of it is operetta, and nothing fulfills my operetta yearnings quite so much as a week at the Ohio Light Opera. As of tomorrow, all seven of their shows, ranging from operetta to early American musical, will be open, and I will be traipsing down there with my family next week to SEE ALL THE SHOWS. 

"But what shows are these?" I hear you ask. Well.. let me tell you...

Our first show is one that will be familiar to most Shakespeare fans. With lyrics and music by Cole PorterKiss Me Kate is a wonderful blend of Shakespearean send-up and back-stage antics. One of my favorite musicals.

SAMPLE SONG: Brush Up Your Shakespeare.

I've never actually seen Annie Get Your Gun (with lyrics and music by the marvelous Irving Berlin) but I know at least half the songs already and can do a terrible Ethel Merman impression whilst singing them.

SAMPLE SONG: Anything You Can Do.

OK, let's get this out of the way: I am a person of Asian extraction who loves Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Yes, a Victorian comic opera set in Japan is problematic. I see both sides of the issue, but, at the end of the day, I grew up with this music and I love it. Gilbert and Sullivan is in my blood. 

SAMPLE SONG: Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day.

Have a Heart is one of several collaborations between composer Jerome Kern and lyricist (and general literary wit) P.G. Wodehouse. It debuted in 1917, is hardly ever performed nowadays, and, as far as I can tell, has an incredibly stupid plot typical of this era of musicals.

SAMPLE SONG: Couldn't find one on YouTube, which is a pity. There's a song called Napoleon which sounds wonderfully stupid. 

Ah! Now this one I have seen. La Vie Parisienne, with music by Jacques Offenbach, has (wait for it) an incredibly stupid plot. I've seen it before at least twice (once at the Ohio Light Opera and once on film) and the only thing I remember is that some guy sings about being from Brazil and another guy's coat splits down the back when he bows over.

I have a Sadler's Wells English recording and it has a song with the immortal lyrics "Her petticoats go frou frou frou, her little feet go tok tok tok, her petticoats go frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou." Which tells you all you need to know about Offenbach, really.

SAMPLE SONG: Votre Habit √† Craqu√© Dans le Dos (Your Coat is Splitting Down the Back)

This here is classic, self-indulgent, melodramatic light opera plot stuff here. I'm looking forward to it mainly because it's by Welsh songwriter and (later) movie star Ivor Novello, whom you may recall was played with great panache by Jeremy Northam in Gosford Park. I mostly know Novello from his famous World War I song Keep the Home Fires Burning.

SAMPLE SONG: I Can Give You The Starlight.

I have to say, one of my favorite operetta composers is hipster's choice Emmerich Kalman. His Countess Maritza remains one of my favorite operettas of all time. You can always count on Kalman to have a spirited gypsy csardas somewhere in his work. I know absolutely nothing about The Little Dutch Girl except it sounds like such a typical operetta plot and I'm assuming there will be gypsies involved somehow.

SAMPLE SONG: I have no idea! 

And that's the Ohio Light Opera's 2016 season! If you're at OLO, keep an eye out for me and come say hello! I'll be there throughout the symposium week, soaking up all the light opera goodness.

Twelfth Night: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 2)

THE STORY SO FAR: Olivia has fallen in love with Cesario, who is actually Viola dressed as a boy. Viola is in love with Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, who refuses to take "no" for an answer, and everyone is just really confused.

Oh Olivia. You're adorable. 

Twelfth Night: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 1)

With all the excitement over Malvolio's letter last week, you'd be forgiven for forgetting the "main" plot of Twelfth Night is about this girl dressed as a boy who is wooing a woman who is in love with him/her on behalf of the man who she/he secretly loves.

Got it? 

Poor Sir Andrew just can't win. 

Dramatis Personae | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.5, part 1 | 1.5, part 2 | 1.5, part 3 |2.1 | 2.2 | 2.3, part 1 | 2.3, part 2 | 2.4, part 1 | 2.4, part 2 | 2.5, part 1 | 2.5, part 2 | 3.1, part 1

REVIEW: "Breath of Kings" at the Stratford Festival

Here is my review of the Stratford Festival's productions of Breath of Kings: Rebellion and Breath of Kings: Redemption. They're essentially two halves of the same production, so I'm lumping them together. This is what the general story is:

And here's what I thought of it:

EXTRA THOUGHTS (because I can't fit them all into a comic):

I have been deeply immersed in Shakespeare's history plays for decades now, so I am completely incapable of figuring out how accessible and understandable this production is to people unfamiliar with the plays and the history behind it. I thought that Abbey's adaptation was very clear in highlighting the important beats of the story as it unfolded, but at this point I could see these plays in an entirely foreign language and still know what was going on. If you saw this production and weren't that familiar with the history plays, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

There are lots of great performances in these plays, particularly Tom Rooney as Richard II (bringing Richard's wry, self-deprecating, and theatrical sense of humor to the forefront), and Geraint Wyn Davies as Falstaff (one of those casting notices where you nod your head and say "Yep. That was the right choice.") However, I just wanted to give a special mention to Carly Street, who plays a handful of characters including Thomas Mowbray, Lady Percy, the Douglas, and the Archbishop of York, and was unspeakably badass as all of them. A good subtitle for these plays would be "Carly Street Yelling At Men And Showing Them How To Behave", and it's all glorious. 

The set probably deserves a mention. For Rebellion, the stage is covered in a brown mulch that looks like earth, which is progressively scarred, disturbed, and tossed around as Richard's reign decays, revealing an interlocking stone floor beneath it. In Redemption, large chunks of the this stone floor are physically uprooted throughout the action, until, after the battle of Agincourt, the stage resembles the aftermath of an earthquake. It was a bit fussy at times, but very visually striking. 

It is (understandably) very rare to be able to see all four of these plays performed in the same season with the same cast, which is a pity as they are inextricably linked together. The Breath of Kings adaptation is a great way to see them all placed within their proper context, without having to sit through twelve straight hours of history plays. While obviously a lot of text has been removed, it has been by and large done in a very elegant and rational way, and the resulting plays are well worth watching. 

Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 5 (part 1)

THE COMIC SUBPLOT SO FAR: In order to get revenge on Malvolio for being a stuck-up and pretentious jerk, Maria plans to drop a fake love letter from Olivia somewhere where he will find it...

Don't ask me who Fabian is. He is introduced purely to be a third wheel in the Malvolio subplot, substituting in a way for Feste, who disappears from these scenes until the dark room bit much later on. Fabian is fairly extraneous, but he also has one of my all-time favorite groan-worthy punchlines, which we'll get to later. 

Dramatis Personae | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.5, part 1 | 1.5, part 2 | 1.5, part 3 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.3, part 1 | 2.3, part 2 | 2.4, part 1 | 2.4, part 2 | 2.5, part 1

Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 4 (part 2)

THE STORY SO FAR: In her disguise as Cesario, Viola has gone to woo Olivia for her master, Orsino (with whom Viola is secretly in love). Olivia says she can't love Orsino, but Orsino is kind of a jerk and won't take no for an answer. For some reason, Viola still loves him. 

The "Patience on a monument" monologue is another one of Viola's famous speeches. If you didn't make it through the whole episode of Playing Shakespeare that I shared with you on Tuesday, here it is again, so you can hear Dame Judi's take on it (around the 48-minute mark).

I'm not even joking when I say I watching bits of the Playing Shakespeare series when I'm feeling down. I enjoy it so much. 

Dramatis Personae | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.5, part 1 | 1.5, part 2 | 1.5, part 3 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.3, part 1 | 2.3, part 2 | 2.4, part 1 | 2.4, part 2