Pictured above: my creative process on one of its less successful days.
I just can't get away from Hamlet without calling your attention to a line that is a particular favorite of mine (and of P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster).
"Fretful porpentine" just flows off of the tongue.
(P.S. - It's a porcupine.)
It's that infuriating time of year when shows at the Stratford Festival in Canada (which I have been patronizing since the extremely early age of three) start opening. I say "infuriating" because I'm not going to be able to see any of these shows until my family vacation in August, and so for the next few months I have to enduring tantalizing hints on social media as to how cool these shows are going to be. It's like giving a starving man a plate of wax fruit.
(If anyone from the Festival reads this and feels like giving me free tickets to come up earlier, I should state that my schedule is extremely flexible and I have my own transportation. I also wasn't able to fit Anne Frank and Possible Worlds into our August trip, so if you have any spare tickets lying around for those shows in particular, that would be... I'm sounding a bit desperate, aren't I... sorry... sorry... carry on...)
Anyways... here is the line-up for the Stratford Festival's current season, with the theme of "Discovery: That Eureka Moment".
Things that Hamlet discovers: (a) his uncle killed his father, (b) plotting revenge is more complicated than he thought, (c) don't stab random curtains.
Things that Maria discovers: (a) seven is a lot of children, (b) curtains make great play-clothes, (c) most of life's problems can be solved if you just sing a lot.
Oh Carousel... You're so problematic... So very problematic...
Things that Billy discovers: (a) armed robbery is not a career opportunity, (b) killing yourself doesn't actually make things easier for your family, (c) you can steal stars, which hitherto we had thought were giant balls of flaming gas, but are actually cute little sparkly things symbolizing hope and reconciliation and stuff like that.
Things that Anne discovers: (a) even in the darkest times, the human spirit remains indomitable and free, (b) it's not always easy living in very close proximity with people for two years.
Oh Taming of the Shrew... You're so problematic... So very problematic...
Things that Petruchio discovers: (a) ... I can't actually write anything here because, depending on directorial interpretation, he could either discover that that his grubbing pursuit of money has, in fact, led him to discover true happiness with a soulmate who is his intellectual and emotional equal, or he could discover that marrying a woman for her dowry and then emotionally and physically abusing her is a great way to get rich quick. Or anything in between those two.
Things that Kate discovers: (a) upper-class English men are idiots.
....sorry, I've never seen this play before, that's all I've got.
Things that Mobius discovers: (a) when you're hiding out in an insane asylum, you shouldn't be surprised if things get a little bit crazy.
I've never seen this play either. There are some fun plot developments in it that I've tried not to spoil. (SPOILER: HIS UNCLE KILLED HIS FATH-- no wait, wrong play.)
Things that Face and Subtle discover: (a) people are essentially gullible idiots, (b) when people stop being gullible idiots, you had better run for it.
This will be only the second Ben Jonson play I have ever seen! I am so very excited.
Things that the boys discover: (a) don't make impetuous vows of celibacy, (b) don't write incriminating letters proving that you're planning to break your impetuous vows of celibacy, (c) don't try to fool the girls, because they are much smarter than you.
I've seen a lot of Love's Labour's Losts recently and am becoming very fond of it. Looking forward to this production.
Things that Oedipus discovers: (a) he murdered his father, (b) he married his mother.
End of story.
Things that George discovers: (a) that he's actually [SPOILER]
I haven't seen this one either. I'm digging its Star Trek vibe, though.
OK, this is a TOTALLY NEW PLAY that will be making its debut at the Festival this season, so I obviously haven't seen it or read it or even been able to look up its summary on Wikipedia. It appears to be a contemporary account of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. So I have no idea what Kate discovers.
Things that Pericles discovers: (a) he shouldn't throw people overboard without making sure that they're dead, (b) he shouldn't leave his daughter with dubious babysitters and then never go back to pick her up.
Come on, Pericles. Get your act together.
So anyways, that's my round-up of the Stratford Festival's upcoming season. If you've followed my stuff for a while, you'll know that I'm very fond of the Festival, and that they reliably put on very high quality productions of both classical and contemporary plays, so if you're anywhere near Ontario you really should make an effort to stop by and see a couple shows.
(I should note that the Stratford Festival is not bribing me to shamelessly promote their season. I genuinely think they're awesome and super-fun.)
This week is going to be a three-panel week. I've done three-panel version of all of Shakespeare's plays, plus his narrative poem Venus and Adonis. That just leaves his other narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece.
It turns out it's impossible to make The Rape of Lucrece funny. That being said, here's what happens in it:
Sadly, Shakespeare's poem ends before Tarquin is brutally murdered in revenge for Lucrece. Which is a pity, because I'm pretty sure that's the bit everyone wants to hear more about.
A whole slew of (hopefully funnier) three-panel plays are coming on Thursday!
Thanks for putting up with my twin passions of Shakespeare and musical theatre. We shall resume non-musical Shakespearean service next week. Until then... so long... farewell... etc.
Non-singing exposition scene #1. This really should have appeared with last Thursday's installment, but it didn't occur to me.
Non-singing exposition scene #2. Cut me some slack, there's a lot going on in this final scene. But now, inevitably, let's have one more round of "So Long, Farewell"!
As they say... "Well, that escalated quickly."
Everyone's dead, but what's a proper musical without an upbeat final chorus? Tune in on Thursday for the closing number of The Sound of Hamlet!
OK, remember when I said I was a musical hipster and that my two favorite Sound of Music songs were the ones cut from the film adaptation? This is the second one of them. IT'S SO PEPPY and it's about Nazi collaboration. Who says The Sound of Music isn't edgy?
Tune in next Tuesday for the final, bloody week of The Sound of Hamlet!
It's Sound of Hamlet time again! Musical theatre loves its reprises, so today we have two back-to-back reprises as we try to move the story along to its inevitable final number.
I have to admit it... "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" is a lot more fun to write parody lyrics for than I had anticipated.
Tune in on Thursday, when Hamlet will sing a duet with a certain skull!