It's another looooong post today, folks, but that's because I just haven't been able to stop reliving my dream trip to the Folger Shakespeare Library. This is the last one, though, and wraps up the highlights of my Free Folger Friday talk on April 29. Thanks to everyone who came!
First, I had to show up early before the talk for a sound check.
You see... about a year ago I was daydreaming about being interviewed about my comic and thought "Oh gosh, if anyone ever asks me what my favorite speech from Shakespeare is, I'd better have a good answer." So I went out and memorized one of the most notorious monologues in the entire canon, the Salic Law speech from Henry V 1.2. I've always had a soft spot for this speech, despite its reputation as a horrible, rambling, brain-twister of a speech that is almost always cut down in performance. In case you're interested, here's one of my favorite renditions of the speech, courtesy of the great Tony Church:
Anyways, when Brandon, the Folger Theatre's sound guy, asked me to talk so he could adjust the levels of my mic, I seized the opportunity to finally deliver the Salic Law speech on stage and, more importantly, in front of a captive audience who couldn't run away. It was glorious.
The talk itself was a conversation between me at Kate Pitt, who works with the Folger's public programs unit and is an absolutely lovely human being. We chatted about how I got into Shakespeare (my dad's fault, mostly), how I started drawing stick figures (literally cannot draw anything else), and, most excitingly, the future of Good Tickle Brain.
Actually, I'm really excited about going full-time on Good Tickle Brain. There are SO many projects I want to work on, and now I can at least pretend that I'll have enough time to get to all of them. (If you're interested in supporting me, please visit the Good Tickle Brain Patreon page, which I've just launched. More on that later...)
Then it was time for Q&A with the audience!
To be perfectly honest, I've only seen Timon of Athens once in my life. It was a brilliant production with some devastating performances, but much-younger-me totally failed to engage with the material, which crucially didn't involve people running around hitting each other with swords. I'd actually genuinely love to see Timon again and give it another chance, now that I am older and pretending to be wiser.
Anyways... if you're in the DC area you should totally go see the Folger's production of Timon of Athens next year because (a) it doesn't get performed very often and who knows when you'll have a chance to see it again, and (b) it's probably going to be awesome.
After the Q&A, a large whiteboard was rolled out and I did some live-drawing. It wasn't my best work, artistically, because I've never drawn my stick figures that large before, but it got the point across. The point being "STICK FIGURES ARE NOT HARD TO DRAW".
I then asked the audience to give me a secondary character from Shakespeare's plays, about whom I would then draw an impromptu three-panel play. Someone (sorry, I can't remember your name!) shouted out "Toby Belch", so I got to work.
Here's the final comic, cleaned up from its whiteboard incarnation:
It may not be my best work, but it's the first time I've tried improv comic-ing, which was quite a lot of fun!
Anyways, a HUGE "thank you!" to everyone who showed up to my talk and to everyone who stopped by afterwards to chat and get things signed. You were such a great audience, so warm and welcoming, that I complete forgot to be a nervous wreck at the prospect of speaking for the first time in public about my comic.
Thanks (again) to the Folger for inviting me to come play in their wonderful playground, and thanks (again and always) to Kate Pitt for masterminding everything and geeking out with me about how awesome Emilia is. I can't wait to come back.