Finally got to Stratford for our first show of the year. Often I’ve seen shows as early as May but this year because of my busy June & the rotation of Festival matinee options it wasn’t until August that the stars aligned and off we went.
Lost is replete with disguise, mistaken identities, misdirected letters, men who can’t live without women and love at first sight – who needs a plot with all these theatrical tropes in action – the play nearly writes itself. Someone dies and the play ends with a song.
drama over the Shakespeare Pie Shop
It is ultimately a play about language period. Shakespeare displays his ability to capture different class levels of humour and word play from the common to the learned to the pious. Each voice is very distinct and each understandable. Understandable once you realize all the word play is ‘suggestive’ – the subtext is always ‘man wants woman’, or even more bluntly ‘men want sex’ & think they can talk their way into it – the male tongue being the power muscle.
drama over Stratford
The cast is invested, comfortable with the various uses of pun, meter and tease. Ruby Joy & Mike Shara are good but as is often the case the minor characters steal the show: Brad Rudy as the nearly wordless Blunt, Josue Laboucane as the smart talking Costard, & Juan Chioran as language mangling Spaniard Don Adriano.
The production opens in my favourite way – stage lights up and actors walking on stage as if there is no audience, dialogue and then lights dim. I also love live music on stage & this production takes us from guitars to brass quartet easily without drowning out the moments.
Perth County sky drama from a moving car
I particularly enjoyed the competitive nature of the word play. What an idea – poets sprouting sonnets at each other to score accolades from each other – in other words a slam – all that was missing was judges holding up scores cards. There was a couple of toe-t- toe dissing passages as well – like a 30 second slam, as the chapters try to outdo each other with insults or sexual innuendo. Stichomythia goes back to Greek drama so hip-hop battles have a real history.
The last act gets crammed with what were clearly audience pleaser moments – the Muscovites – the Nine Worthies – which to me drained away some of the energy of the production itself. A great show that I’d recommend if you aren’t into slam 🙂
shall I compare thee to a hand
severed from a corpse
an unidentified left hand
isolated insulated in ice
not yet murky with drifting pinks
lit from below by a cool blue
as blue as your eyes
when you concede
that even though you are right
you will never get your way
so this wild wound
will howl at the afternoon sun
fearful of losing its shadow
in the comfort of my affection
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chasing the rainbow