It's "Stay Sane September"! That means I'll be sharing some of my "greatest hits" from social media and Patreon to keep you entertained while I take the month off in order to avoid burnout, take some theatre trips, and get caught up on various tasks and projects that I have been neglecting.
Today's installment features some comics I put together during my trip to the Stratford Festival two weeks ago. I deliberately didn't take my computer so that I wouldn't be able to work. However, once I got there I found myself wanting to document my theatre-going, so I downloaded all the official production photos, ran them through a basic comic app, and here they are.
First up was Timon of Athens, which I previously saw 13 years ago, when I was far too immature to appreciate this famously hard-to-appreciate play. Here's how it unfolded:
While I'm still not particularly fond of the play itself, I thought this was a great production - very clear and comprehensible, with excellent acting, especially by Joe Ziegler, who managed to somehow make me not lose all interest in Timon once he slid to the "UNRELENTINGLY BITTER" end of the spectrum.
I then saw Thomas Middleton's The Changeling. This was my first Middleton (not counting his possible collaborations with Shakespeare) and it was a doozy:
This was an intense play. I'm struck by how very different Middleton feels to Shakespeare as far as the language and characterizations are concerned. It all feels much more melodramatic, with the result that I empathize less with the characters involved, but enjoy all the horrible, over-the-top atrocities that occur.
Next up was Romeo and Juliet. We all know how this one goes, right?
Confession: I'm really really really sick of Romeo and Juliet. It's just done ALL the TIME, and it's always pretty much the same, and you can't seem to get away from it. However, this production managed to rekindle my interest in the play, thanks primarily to the ludicrously engaging performances of the two leads, Sara Farb and Antoine Yared.
Finally, I saw The Breathing Hole, a new play commissioned by the Stratford Festival. It goes like this:
I really loved this production, and not just because the bears are ADORABLE and PERFECT and LOVELY. Apart from the bears (who were adorable and perfect and lovely), my favorite scene was one in which two Inuit hunters meet and try to communicate with British explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew. It was perfectly written and acted.
Anyways, that's all for now! Tune in Thursday for another "Stay Sane September" installment!
TOMORROW: September 6: Stratford Festival Forum - Willy Shakes: Fanboy
WHO: Me! And also Conor McCreery of the Kill Shakespeare comic book series.
WHAT: Panel discussion on Shakespeare in pop culture and graphic novels. Part of the Stratford Festival Forum series of events.
WHEN: Wednesday, September 6, 10:45am
WHERE: Chalmers Lounge, Avon Theatre, Stratford, Ontario.
WHY: Because they asked me!
HOW: Buy tickets at the Stratford Festival website.
September 28: Cincinnati Museum Insights Lecture
WHO: Me! Again!
WHAT: Talk followed by Q&A on the development of Good Tickle Brain and approaches to making Shakespeare accessible to new audiences.
WHEN: Thursday, September 28, 7:30pm
WHERE: The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
WHY: Because they have a cool Shakespeare exhibit going on right now!
HOW: Reserve a FREE ticket at the Cincy Museum website!