Chaos Attraction

Much Ado

2014-08-02, 9:29 a.m.

So I finally did my little performance yesterday.

I've been rehearsing it for three weeks. I never did have it 100% memorized, I'm sorry to say--I don't know how actors do it. Memorizing this amount of dialogue is different from just having to memorize short test questions, that's for sure. I'd have some paragraphs down--the more memorably snarky ones--but the duller ones talking about business, well, I just had a harder time remembering them. I figured out yonks ago that I memorize better if I am walking around while doing it, so I was working on it while walking to work and during breaks, and at least a couple of days a week I was hiking the entire back end of the arboretum. Yesterday was particularly boiling hot to be doing that particular activity, but it was nice because hardly anyone else was out there, so I could read it aloud with impunity. That was fun.

I wasn't totally sure as to what the hell was going on with it when I arrived there. The previous time I'd seen a green show, it was out on the lawn, but nobody was on the lawn or anywhere to be seen when I arrived, no table was set up, nothing. this still going on? The theater door was unlocked, so we went in, and of course there's nobody in there to ask and Mom wants to know what is going on and I'm kinda quietly freaking out there. Around 7:30 I figured I should call Dawn to let her know what was going on (she wanted to stop by for my performance), but she was arriving as I was calling her house. (The ensuing message must have amused her when she got home.)

Eventually a few of the theater folks came in and I got to talk to them. I actually met the fellow I've been e-mailing, so that was cool. They eventually had me do the green show performance indoors, which was a much better venue (plus AC) in the end. A girl I hadn't met before introduced me as a poet and writer--she didn't know me at all, but I found this amusing, so what the heck.

I should probably post the text of it online somewhere--I have been looking into whether or not I can get some kind of annotation set up for it because that would be fun to put in.

It went well, people seemed to pay attention and the like. Dawn was a great laugher at it, which helped. One guy told me about when he went to jury duty afterwards, which was fun for me. Mom loved it and ah, recorded it on her camera and then wanted to play for me afterwards. I kept trying to avoid that, but I could overhear it in the apartment anyway. It sounded good, thank god.

I'm not sure how I feel about performing, I didn't get a super buzz off of it, but acting out stuff is fun... I think you just can't act out what you are saying as pointedly IRL, you need to be on a stage and that's the fun of it. You can't act things out quite as amusingly until you are in a live performance. I think I just want to be a ham, basically.

I liked the performance of Much Ado, but it was pretty clear that my mom is not into Shakespeare. (And doesn't get the language, which doesn't help. I had to explain the plot a lot.) I felt kinda bad about that, but oh well. She tolerates it because I drag her to shows. She especially doesn't like Dogberry, but I pointed out that well, most people aren't into that whole thing because it was kind of the Elizabethan Three Stooges level of humor and entertainment. (Though Nathan Fillion's Dogberry does get good reviews, because he plays it as a dignified idiot who doesn't know he's an idiot. Not really the case here, I have to say.) I did like this article I found online about how Dogberry is there to provide humor again after the so-called comedy has suddenly gotten very serious and dire. So good point there.

I liked the staging of it--it seemed to be taking place in a vineyard and people were wandering around with wine, which reminded me of the Whedon one again, hah. They had the Benedick-hides and Beatrice-hides scenes taking place in the vines, which worked great. Even though he was played by the fellow I mentioned meeting above so I might be biased, I really enjoyed drunken Borachio.

I also was privately amused at the character doubling a bit-- they had Margaret and Verges played by the same actress, so she does the "hey, nonny nonny" song both well done at the start as Margaret and terribly as Verges. Interesting meta commentary on that. Ditto having Dogberry and Don John played by the same actor--huge departure there, the guy is barely recognizable when he changes roles-- so at the end one guy essentially arrests himself! The expressions were great. I also enjoyed the switchup of the actors. The couple that played Georg and Amalia in She Loves Me play Claudio and Hero in this, and the couple that played Illona and Kodaly (a less successful couple) play Beatrice and Benedick in this one. I especially got a kick out of Benedick saying "She loves me" by singing it like the song from the other musical. Delightful.

The last few times I've been to the festival shows, I've been pondering playwriting. I am thinking about my next NaNo novel, which is going to be a mashup of Much Ado (seriously, Much Ado is playing everywhere this summer and it's on my brain) and another book, taking place on islands on another world/in the future/something like that. But while I was there, I was thinking, "wouldn't it be awesome to do a modern-day mashup of Shakespeare plots?" Picture it: Much Ado and Taming of the Shrew would go great together into one plot, and Hamlet with Macbeth could be a slam dunk, and you could do something interesting if you combined The Tempest and The Merchant of Venice....

I don't do playwriting because there's no point to doing it if you have no way to put on the show, but I was daydreaming about asking these folks if I could write them a play or something. But....that's not how real life works, I do not have the theater connections I suddenly think I do, and how the hell would they sell tickets to a non-established show? Or give the job to a girl they barely know and don't really know the writing of and pretty much doesn't have theater experience? I'd tell me no if I were them. So yeah, that can't happen and I just wish. But the mashup idea is still fun for NaNo and my own amusement, I guess.

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