Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Comedy. Love. And a Bit with a Dog.

"That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman."

The Two Gentleman of Verona, 3. 1

Difficult to summarize our 24 hours of Stratford, faithful readers, but trust that all proceeded majestically according to some higher plan. We were not in the city a few hours when a few girls studying at the British American Drama Academy in London were serenading us with Shakespearean sonnets in a bar. These new found friends, invited to sit at our table while we cheered on Scotland's rugby side in vain, were but the first of many dramatic moments. For upon arrival in the city, the tickets for the Saturday evening performance (the main purpose of our Stratford visit, mind you) were sold out. So, after exchanging phone numbers with the London students, off we went to queue for returns and hope for good fortune.

Success came quickly, for though we had to pay top price to sit on the ground floor, the kind lady at the box office proceeded to inform us, inexplicably, that the returns were originally purchased by none other than the British American Drama Academy. And so the traveling gods of randomness struck us with laughter once again. Happily, since our other option for the evening was a 5-hour, 45 quid "paranormal investigation" at a dodgy outfit called Falstaffs Experience.

The production itself was magnificent. Setting the show in the 1930s proved a stroke of genius, and the language certainly stands the test of time. "Comedy. Love. And a Bit with a Dog. That's what they want," Geoffrey Rush's character in Shakespeare in Love insists, and these wise words apply as much today. Neither of us had read nor seen Two Gentlemen, but such was our delight with the witty dialogue that Tim bought the play at intermission. The rest of our audience were likewise engaged, even booing the duplicitous Proteus at one point. Hilariously, the BADA student beside me proceeded to give him the finger, certainly a first in my theatre-going experience. Launce and his dog Crab do steal the show to some extent, but so many characters get to flaunt wit about the stage that to say so is almost unfair.

Following the show, we headed off toward the nightclubs, but not before I almost walked right into Valentine. We quickly changed plans to follow, ending up at the "Dirty Duck" where the actors congregate following performances. Wonderful to see the players in their street clothing and stripped of character, enjoying well earned pints and entreating girlfriends on their mobile phones like any other civilian. From there, it was off to a club, the absurdly named "Bureau", and chaos descended from there. The next morning saw us pay our respects to the Bard at his house and grave, before a quick exit. Looking forward to Twelfth Night in May.


Blogger Red Hot Sexy Papa said...

great read! Will visit often.

6:38 AM  

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