Friday, July 5, 2013

Checking in - 3 plays read

Here is an updated version of my schedule:

1. The Two Gentlemen of Verona  READ
2. The Merry Wives of Windsor  READ
3. As You Like It  READ
4. Alls Well That Ends Well
5. The Winter's Tale
6. Pericles, Prince of Tyre
7. The Two Noble Kinsmen
8. King John
9. Henry VIII
10. Troilus and Cressida
11. Coriolanus
12. Timon of Athens
13. Antony and Cleopatra
14. Cymbeline

I'm surprised that I've read this much and pleased. I've had good momentum on the bus to work each morning.

What I've seen so far from these 3 comedies is a lot of humor, sort of silly conflicts, and complete resolution, like a Hollywood movie, at the end of the plays. All three of them might have ended in a group wedding.

I'm enjoying reading the comedies in a row, and as I move through the next four I'll be looking for more similarities between the genres.

I scanned over a few of my previous posts. I know this is online and is a blog but I'm sure it won't be too helpful to anyone but myself, but for me it is serving as a good guide.

On to Alls Well...

As You Like It, ACT FIVE

Sc1 - Touchstone yells at William, a forest boy who likes Audrey. William leaves.
Sc2 - Oliver loves Celia after just meeting her and tomorrow the two will marry. This makes Orlando happy and sad, for he longs to have what his brother has, a real Rosalind. Hearing this Rosalind promises that she can make the real Rosalind appear. Phone us and Silvius enter, and everyone begins professing their love to the next, but none in return. Rosalind speaks to everyone and tells them to meet her tomorrow, when she will solve all problems.
Sc3 - Two of the good duke's pages since song for Touchstone and Audrey's wedding. Touchstone says they lost time, because he lost time in spending it listening to their song.
Sc4 - Rosalind enters and makes a promise. The duke must accept the real Rosalind, Orlando must wed get, and if Phebeus says no to her, then Phebeus must wed Silvius. She goes off and returns shortly as her real self, everyone is happy and married. Touchstone has a quick speech about court mannars. A messenger enters to say that the new duke has become religious and the old duke is restored. Rosalind gives the epilogue.

As You Like It, ACT FOUR

Sc1 - Orlando comes to Rosalind to play woo her, which he does, but when he leaves for dinner she realizes she is so in love with him that she can't be out of his sight.

Sc2 - A deer is killed and a song is sung while the deer is brought to the king.

Sc3 - Silvius delivers Phobeus's nasty letter to Rosalind. Rosalind is sure it was written by a man, and doesn't trust that Silvus did not do it himself.

Oliver enters with a bloody handkerchief. He tells the story of how a lion trapped him in the woods but his brother saved him and was bit in the process. That is why he was late to meet Rosalind and where the blood came from. Oliver suspects the blood is what makes Rosalind swoon when she hears this story.

As You Like It, ACT THREE

Sc1 - The brief meeting between Oliver and Frederick, where Frederick siezes Oliver's money and lands and threatens banishment for Oliver if he can't find Orlando.

Sc2 - Probably the best scene in the play, for the interplay between characters, usually two at a time. 

First we see Orlando who is craving poems to Rosalind on the branches and trunks of the forest trees.

Corin and Touchstone enter and there is a funny dialog where Touchstone tangles Corin up in witty turns of a phrase. Touchstone states that if Corin has never been to court then he has no manners, with no manners then he is wicked, wickedness is a sin, and sin leads to damnation. Corin gives up and Touchstone adds the final blow saying that a man shouldn't give up when he realizes he is dammed.

Rosalind enters reading one of the poems and Touchstone exits echoing it to make fun of its simple rhyming and changing the meaning to insult rather than flatter Rosalind.

Celia and Rosalind talk about the carvings they have seen all over the forest. Celia knows who it is but refuses to tell, creating drama while Rosalind waits to hear the answer. Celia reveals that the messenger is Orlando.

Orlando enters with Jaques and the two ladies overhear. Jaques tries to match wits with Orlando who shuts him down. Jaques gives up but speaks frankly asking Orlando to stop carving into the trees.

Orlando and Rosalind have a wonderful exchange where Rosalind (in disguise) continuously make Orlando reprove his love to Rosalind. In the end Rosalind proposes that to cure himself of his love sickness Orlando should come to her everyday and woo her as if she were the real Rosalind.

Sc3 - Touchstone has found a maid, Audrey, who he wants to marry. The priest shows up but there is no man to give Audrey away. Jaques steps forward to volunteer his services, but before allowing the marriage to happen he pulls Touchstone away to offer him council.

Sc4 - Orlando is late to his appointment with Rosalind, so Celia and Rosalind talk about his infidelity. Celia argues that perhaps he is not in love, and Rosalind doesn't want to accept the idea, but she is sad at the talk. They are called away to witness a quarrel between two lovers.

Sc5 - Silvius and Phebe are talking. Silvius loves Phebe but she does not return the love. Rosalind enters and tells Phebe that she is stupid to not return the love of such a devoted lover, because Phebe is not too attractive and just not to appealing to men. Phebe is angry but after Rosalind's talk she sees Silvius in a slightly better light.

As the ladies leave Phebe recognizes how angry she is at Rosalind's angry words, and she finds that she herself is in love with Rosalind. She writes an angry letter to Rosalind and says she will have Silvius deliver it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

As You Like It, ACT TWO

Sc1 - Duke Senior, Amiens, and three lords in Arden. The rule eloquently describes their free but banished life in the forest. A comparison is made to the Duke as usurper of the deer's lands, just as Frederick ursurped the old duke's lands. A quick story is told about Jacques, who lamented the death of a wild boar very poetically, as he watched the boar dying by the forest brook. The old duke asks to be taken to Jacques, as the old duke believes Jacques to be full of sense when he is in this kind of mood.

Sc2 - The girls are missing from the palace and no one saw them leave. The fool is also missing. One servant did overhear the girls talking about Orlando, so Oliver is sent for. The duke plans to make Oliver search for his brother.

Sc3 - At Orlando's home Adam is upset. Oliver heard of Orlando's triumph at wrestling and now is angry and wants to burn down Orlando's home, or otherwise kill him. Adam has some gold saved from working for Orlando's father, so with this the two set off. Adam quickly laments the 17 years he spent living here, but sees it is better to die well than in debt to his master.

Sc4 - Celia and Rosalind are tired from walking and in need of food and rest. They have made it to Arden. They see and old land and a younger man walk by talking. The younger man, Silvius, talks to Corin about missing his love and being away from here. Overhearing the conversation Roslind is struck with a pang of familiarity.

Almost fainting, Celia offers to buy Corin's house and land.

Sc5 - Amiens sings to Jaques to try and cheer him. Jaques appreciates the song, then offers another verse which seems to call any man who leave all his wealth behind a fool. The two prepare to head to the old duke's banquet, which has been set.

Sc6 - Adam too in dying from lack of food. Orlando urges him to stay alive and promises to bring back food or prperish himself during the search.

Sc7 - Orlando comes to the feast, reveals his relations, and he and Adam are both welcome and fed. In this scene there are 3 or 4 speeches by Jacques that seem to comment on the fools place. I had a difficult time fully understanding them, but I think they say that the fool must be free to speak what he wants to who he wants, sort of like free speech. I could be way off.

As You Like It, ACT ONE

Moving on to As You Like It, another comedy I'm not sure how much of I've read. I know the name Rosalind because I think it was mentioned in one of Bloom's lectures, but I can't think of anything more.

Sc1 - We meet five new characters and set some of the scene. Orlando is the younger son and he has been kept home and sheltered by his older brother, Oliver, who is in control of the estate and secretly despises his younger brother, but why even he is not sure. In this first scene Orlando complains to Adam, Oliver's servant, about his plight. Orlando decides he has had enough and physically confronts Oliver when he enters. Oliver is surprised and upset and agrees to give Orlando some of his due money and set him off to fare on his own. As Orlando walks off with this small victory Oliver dismisses his servant Adam and sends him to go with Orlando.

As soon as Orlando is away Oliver meets Charles the wrestler. Charles is set to wrestle at court tomorrow in frontnofnthe new Duke. Charles gives us some back story. The new Duke ursurped the old Duke and banished him. The old Rule now lives like Robin Hood in the forest of Arden and is met daily by many followers and even some lords that left when the old Duke was banished. The old Duke's daughter Rosalind still lives at court because she is close friends with the new Duke's daughter, and the new Duke loves her as his own daughter.

It turns out Orlando is planning to secretly wrestle Charles in front of the new Duke to gain honor. Charles confides to Oliver that he doesn't want to hurt his younger brother, but that he must defend his reputation. Oliver promises to try and dissuade Orlando and assures Charles that Orlando is stubborn and deserves a good beating.

When Charles steps away Oliver reveals his hatred for Orlando and that he plans to encourage Orlando to fight so that he will be injured, disgraced and no longer Oliver's problem.

Sc2 - Rose and Ceila talk. Rose is sad because of her banished father, but Ceila urges her to see Ceila's father as her own, as Ceila says she would do if in Roses situation. While talking the fool, Touchstone, comes in to joke with them shortly. He tells a short riddle, the morale of which may have implications owner in the story. "If you swear by that that is naught, then you are not foresworn."

La Beau enters to give news that wrestlers are coming, and the ladies decide to stay and watch. This is where Charles will wrestle Orlando in disguise. Charles has just wounded three men, one to death, and the final challenger looms slight. The duke Frederick tells the ladies to try and conversation nice the young boy not to fight. The ladies are moved by his honor and manners, and they pray he will win. The two men fight and Charles ends up on the ground not moving. The duke is very pleased until he finds that the boy is actually Orlando, youngest son of Rowlan de Boys, a lord out of favor with the current duke. Frederick storms off without much congratulations.

Then ladies are a bit embarrassed, and Rosalind knows that her own father adored Rowland de Boys and would have honored this man. The ladies approach and Rosalind gives Orlando her chain. The girls then run off and La Beau warns Orlando that the duke is moody and it would be safer to leave. On his way out Orlando opines for his new love Rosalind.

Sc3 - "Oh how full of briers is this working day world." Rosalind in love, Rosalind banished, the two girls to leave together. Rosalind tells Celia that she is in love with Orlando. Ceila says that she should hate him because her father hated his father. Rose says to love him because Rose loves him, and her father loved his father.

The duke enters and banishes Rosalind in his anger. She protests that she is not a traitor, as such things are not inherited. Still, the duke does not trust her, and so gives her 10 days to leave or death.

Ceila is crushed and states that she will leave too. They decide to dress as men, Rose being called Ganymede and Ceila being called Aliena. They will take Touchstone with them. They are headed to Rose's father is n the forest of Arden.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Merry Wives, ACT FIVE

Sc1 - Quickly meets Falstaff at the inn and tells him where to meet and when. As he is preparing Brook (Ford in disguise) meets Falstaff. Falstaff tells of his second failed attempt. They both head off for the forest where Falstaff will try again.

Sc2 - Page, Shallow, and Slender are hiding in a ditch waiting for the trick to begin. Slender reveals that he and Anne devised a code word so that they will know each other while wearing masks, and be able to run off together.

Sc3 - Mistress Page confides with the doctor about Anne wearing green. They get ready for the trick to begin.

Sc4 - Very quickly Hugh enters leading the ferries.

Sc5 - The wives meet Falstaff a the forest and the trap is set. The fairies rush out and scare Falstaff, until the wives return with their husbands and intervene. The scold Falstaff and he sits up feeling like an ass. Slender returns with a boy in white saying that he grabbed the wrong person and almost married him. Then Caius returns in a rage with a boy in green, saying that he too grabbed the wrong person but did marry him. Confused, the parents wonder what happen to Anne. Fenton and Anne enter, and they tell of their love. The parents are happy and everyone rejoices, and the entire party heads back to the Ford's house for a celebration.

This was a very simple play with some sometimes very difficult language. I think the plot twists were lots of fun, and there were many mirroring stories as is usual in Shakespeare. It was a bit harder to enjoy Falstaff because not all of the insults always came through. On the other hand, he did have his moments, and seeing him get thrown out in a basket, dressed as a women and beaten over the head, and then scared by a bunch of children was amusing. In the end everything works out well for everyone, just as is the common model for the comedies.

I remember now also that Verdi did an opera Falstaff, and I think the story there is much simpler and more fun.