Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Act 1


day off? HA! that's hilarious!!! i had a little time to relax this morning, but i have spent most of my day cleaning, cooking, reading Shakespeare, grocery shopping, etc. i haven't even started studying my LUSH stuff yet. nor have i eaten dinner. nor have i done laundry or shower! eep eep eep! let's get this blog on the road!!!

act 1, scene 1
Antonio is depressed. his friends try to help him out of it, but he can't put his finger on exactly what it is that's wrong. it's not love. it's not his business, he's a successful merchant who's got ships going out to many places. he feels secure. what is it? attention turns away from his problems toward Bassanio's. he is in love with Portia, who lives nearby in Belmont. she, however, is a wealthy girl with many suitors. in order to win her love, he needs to make a seriously good impression. although he already owes Antonio money, Bassanio asks to double his debt in order to win Portia. once he is married to her, he will have enough money to pay Antonio back. Antonio is perfectly willing to help, but all of his money is out at sea. the two friends decide to look around and see who they can borrow money from on Antonio's credit.

act 1, scene 2
Portia is a weary young lady. her father is dead and her suitors are many. her late father created a riddle of sorts that all of her suitors must go through. the one who passes can marry her. Portia's waiting woman, Nerissa, tries to remind Portia of how fortunate she is, and asks her if she is interested in any of her suitors in particular. Portia names and describes them all, quite wittily, and it becomes clear that she is interested in none of them. Nerissa tells her that the suitors are all unhappy with the riddle, and intend to go home anyway. she also reminds Portia of Bassanio. Nerissa thinks Bassanio would be a good match for Portia, and Portia agrees that he is praise-worthy.

act 1, scene 3
Bassanio asks Shylock to loan him 3,000 ducats for 3 months. Antonio will be bound to re-pay. Shylock is intrigued, and wants to talk to Antonio. in an aside, we learn that Shylock secretly hates Antonio. here's why: he's a Christian, he lends money willy-nilly, he is prejudiced against the Jews, and he openly speaks out against Shylock and his business. Antonio arrives. he makes it clear to Shylock that he would never normally borrow from him, but he has to for his friend. Antonio does not agree with the practice of charging interest on a loan. Shylock tries to tell a story from the Bible to support his stance, but Antonio shoots it down. Shylock then rips into Antonio hard core. (see quote below. it's epic.) Antonio will not refuse for being prejudiced against Shylock. he has spat on him before, and he will do it again. he tells Shylock not to lend as a friend, but as an enemy, which he is. Shylock agrees to it, and for sport offers this challenge: if Antonio doesn't re-pay the 3000 ducats in 3 months, Shylock will take a pound of Antonio's flesh. any pound he wants. Antonio agrees. (?!?) Bassanio begs him not to, but Antonio is absolutely positive that he will have the money in time. the money is due in 3 months, and his ships are due back in 2 months. they set off to make their deal official and notarized.

fun fact i probably should've known, but didn't: the Portia in this play is the same as in his later play, Julius Caesar. cool! i honestly didn't even think about it, but i'm glad i know now. it will be fun to see where the connections are.

is Antonio stupid? first he lets his friend, who already owe him a bunch of money, borrow more money! he insults Shylock and tells him to lend to him as if to an enemy. for real? is he dumb? and THEN he agrees to this crazy pound of flesh idea? why would you agree to that?!?!?!okay, if you tell your moneylender to treat you like an enemy, and then tell him he can have a pound of your flesh, you deserve to lose that pound! bye Antonio!

hm... another Shakespeare play where picking sides is difficult. very difficult. Shakespeare sure is good at that. i've noticed that he will set you up in the first couple of acts to either not know whose side to be on, and just when you think you know whose side you're on... BOOM! he switches it up on you. he's done that to me at least twice already, and i have a feeling that it's going to happen again. i have to say that right now i am on Shylock's side hard core. yeah, he's a little villainy, but he's also the victim of social injustice hard CORE and obviously much smarter than Antonio. whose side are you on?

quote of the day:
'Signor Antonio, many a time and oft
in the Rialto you have rated me
about my moneys and my usances.
still have i borne it with a patient shrug,
for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
you call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog,
and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
and all for use of that which is mine own.
well then, it now appears you need my help.
go to, then. you come to me and you say,
"Shylock, we would have moneys" -- you say so,
you, that did void your rheum upon my beard
and foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
over your threshold. Moneys is your suit.
what should i say to you? should i not say,
"hath a dog money? is it possible
a cur can lend three thousand ducats?" or
shall i bend low, and in a bondman's key,
with bated breath and whispering humbleness, say this:
"fair sir, you spit on me on wednesday last,
you spurned me such a day, another time
you called me dog, and for these courtesies
i'll lend you thus much moneys"?'
   -Shylock; act 1, scene 3

for tomorrow: act 2!

-rebecca may

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Intro Info


new day, new play! i am so excited for this one because i only really only know about it through conversation and pop culture. ya know? let's do it!

here's some stuff i learned about Merchant today:
-anti-semitism ran rampant during this time period. it was typical for a Jewish man, like Shylock, to have a tough time fitting into society like he does in this play. it is unclear, however, what Shakespeare's standpoint is on the subject. some argue that Shakespeare views Shylock as everyone else does qt the time: as a villain. others say that Shakespeare is shedding light on something that he perceives to be a problem in society. it will be interesting for us to look for the clues as we read!
-contrary to what you might think if you haven't read the play, Shylock is not the 'merchant' of Venice. he is a moneylender. the merchant is Antonio. although Antonio seems to have everything, something is definitely missing in his life. what could it be?
-Shylock is a really interesting character because although we may find sympathy for him because of the way he has been treated, he is unquestionably the villain of a romantic comedy. his character is full of paradoxes such as this. look out for the dichotomous happenings that come up revolving his views on money, commerce, and morals.

get excited! it's going to be an epic read.

for tomorrow: act 1!

-rebecca may

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sonnets 43-47


LUSH hair care meeting in Tampa today! it literally took up the whole day, so i'm really happy i just have a few sonnets tonight and not a whole act of a play or something. onward...

the sonnets in this section sort of tell one particular story that continues into the next set of sonnets we will read.
43- the poet prefers night to day because at night he sees his love, whom he is separated from. during the day, the things he sees are unworthy of her.
44- the poet wishes he could travel to his love as quickly as a thought. time and space couldn't stand in his way if he could.
45- whenever air or fire are with his love, the poet is with her in thought and desire. these elements deliver good news to him of his love, and he sends them rushing back to her to gather more news.
46- the poet's eyes and heart are at war with each other. which of the two will be able to enjoy his love more?
47- eyes and heart have made amends. they will now work together to appreciate his love more fully. (see quote below.)

does the poet remind you of anyone in this section of sonnets? ...? perhaps a certain Romeo Montague, with whom we have recently become acquainted? hmmm? any parallels we can make there?

it's interesting to see the sonnets in what feels like a more developed section of writing. instead of repeating the same idea over and over and OVER again (remember the whole thing about his friend having kids?), the ideas flow, develop, move forward. this is much more exciting for me to read. i hope things continue on this way. what do you think?

quote of the day:
'so, either by thy picture or my love,
thyself, away, are present still with me;
for thou no farther than my thoughts canst move,
and i am still with them and they with thee;
or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
awakes my heart to heart's and eye's delight.'
-sonnet 47

for tomorrow: The Merchant of Venice Intro Info!!!

12 plays, 4 poems, 47 sonnets down. 26 plays, 1 poem, 107 sonnets to go! (i know i'm behind, but i have a plan of action! more later.)

-rebecca may

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3


what a week this has been! whew! we got home from our California road trip, i started working at LUSH, my show opened, and i had family in town. yeesh! all i have to do for the rest of the weekend is work and Shakespeare. thank goodness! i don't think i could take any more than that. that being said, i have some bath bombs and bubble bars from LUSH to try out, so let's get this show on the road!

act 5, scene 3
Paris arrives at Juliet's tomb with his Page. 'sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed i strew--' he says. Paris' page signals him that someone is coming, and Paris hides. it is Romeo, of course, with his man Balthasar. Romeo gives Balthasar a letter for his father and threatens him with physical violence if Balthasar doesn't leave him alone now. Romeo gives him money and sends him off, but Balthasar hides close by just in case. Paris steps out of the shadows to challenge Romeo. he thinks Juliet killed herself because of Tybalt's death(caused by Romeo), so he is ready to fight. Romeo, not realizing it is Paris, tries to get him to understand and go away, but Paris persists. they fight, and Paris dies. Romeo realizes that the person he has killed is Paris and remembers that Balthasar told him that Paris wanted to marry Juliet. out of respect for a man who loved his love, he brings him into the Capulet's monument to lay there in death. Romeo sees Juliet. he notices that she still looks alive and as beautiful as ever. he is distraught. he is ready to accept death. he kisses Juliet, drinks the poison, and dies. Friar Laurence finally arrives and runs into Balthasar. worried, he rushes into the tomb to find Paris and Romeo dead, and Juliet just waking up. he tries to get her to leave the tomb, but she will not. he hears people coming, gets scared, and flees. Juliet sees Romeo. she longs to die with him. (see quote below.) she hears voices, grabs Romeo's dagger, and kills herself. watchmen, Paris' page, Balthasar, and others come and go as they all figure out what has happened. the prince is summoned, along with the Capulets and Montagues. they find Friar Laurence, and bring him back to the tomb. everyone is grief-stricken and confused by what they see. Montague reveals that his wife has also killed herself, for grief over Romeo's banishment. Friar Laurence, the page, and Balthasar re-cap everything they know. finally, the truth is revealed to all. the Prince comments that 'all are punished.' the Capulets and Montague make amends. Montague will have a golden statue of Juliet built for the town, and Capulet will allow Romeo to be buried alongside his wife, Juliet. they join hands in sorrow. the Prince finishes the play with this comment: 'for never was a story of more woe/ than this of Juliet and her Romeo.'

there was a surprising moment of sweetness of Paris' moment at Juliet's grave. i didn't remember that AT ALL. it was the first time i realized that he really loved her. and it touched me. also, i always thought Paris was a little older, but Romeo calls him a 'youth'. is he young too? if so, that would completely change my opinion of him. in that case, i feel like he becomes such a tragic character. man, he never even had a CHANCE. poor Paris!

is Friar Laurence a coward? he helps them when doors are closed, but as soon as he hears a watchman coming, he bolts. he leaves a 13-year-old alone in a tomb. her husband is dead. he got her into this mess. and he just leaves her! not cool, Friar Laurence.

i had forgotten the change Luhrmann made to this scene. in the text, Romeo dies, some other stuff happens, and then Juliet wakes up. in the film, Romeo takes the poison, and Juliet wakes up. they have the briefest moment of eye contact before he dies. it's so good! why didn't you think of that, Shakespeare! HA. just that moment of realization... so intense... maybe the purists might think it was cheap? but i thought it was A MAY MAY!
quote of the day:
'go, get thee hence, for i will not away.
what's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?
poison, i see, hath been his timeless end.
o churl, drunk all, and left no friendly drop
to help me after? i will kiss thy lips;
haply some poison doth hang on them,
to make me die with a restorative. (she kisses him.)
thy lips are warm.'

another play down! huzzah! for tomorrow: sonnets 43-47

-rebecca may

Friday, June 24, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scenes 1 & 2


Veronicas Room is officially open! and the audience really seemed to enjoy it! wahoo! aren't opening nights the best? the audience, the nerves, the presents... the champagne... love it. looking forward to seeing the performances grow over the next couple of weeks! in other good news, my Complete Works arrived in the mail today! thanks Dad for rescuing it from the Hollywood Bowl!!! now i can Shakespeare it up and finish this play!

act 5, scene 1
Romeo, in Mantua, is in a good mood. he has a good feeling that everything is going to be okay. his man, Balthasar, enters with news. Juliet is dead. Romeo asks if there are any letters for him from the Friar, but Balthasar has none. Romeo dismisses him and prepares to leave for Verona. on his way he stops at an apothecary. Romeo notices that the apothecary is very poor and offers him a generous amount of money for a vial of poison. the apothecary is resistant, but Romeo is very convincing.(see quote below.) the apothecary finally gives in, and gives Romeo the poison.

act 5, scene 2
Friar John greets Friar Laurence. Laurence asks after Romeo. how is he? did he get the letter? Laurence learns that John was unable to deliver the letter. he returns it to Friar Laurence. Laurence is a little freaked out and sends John to get him a crow bar. he will head out to Juliet's tomb so he can be there when she wakes up. he plans to bring Juliet to his cell and send another letter to Romeo.

see what happens when you don't have a cell phone?

love this line from Friar John: 'holy Franciscan friar! brother, ho!' i understand the greeting, but it stuck me as funny anyway. like- holy Franciscan friar, Batman!

if only Balthasar had talked to Laurence before going to Romeo. if only Laurence had sent out letters by multiple messengers. if only they could've waited a few days. if only Romeo were to go to Laurence before he goes to Juliet. this play is all about if onlys...

quote of the day:
'art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,
and fearest to die? famine is in thy cheeks,
need and oppression starveth in thy eyes,
contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back.
the world is not thy friend, nor the world's law;
the world affords no law to make thee rich.
then be not poor, but break it, and take this.'
-Romeo; act 5, scene 1

for tomorrow: the end of the play!!!!!!!

-rebecca may

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scenes 4 and 5


last dress rehearsal for Veronica's Room! and my first day at LUSH tomorrow! eep! gotta study some products and get some sleep!!!

act 4, scene 4
it is the next morning, and everyone bustles about, preparing for Juliet and Paris' wedding. Capulet discovers that Paris has arrived. he send Nurse to wake up Juliet, and goes to greet Paris.

act 4, scene 5
Nurse goes into Juliet's room to wake her up. at first she thinks Juliet is being lazy, or she's just slept in her clothes, but she soon figures out that Juliet is dead. she is freaking out. Lady Capulet, then Capulet each enter. they freak out too. Friar Laurence and Paris enter. Paris freaks out too. they all freak out together. Nurse, as usual, is particularly eloquent here. (see quote below.) Friar Laurence begs them to calm down. their freak outs aren't helping anything. Capulet orders all of the wedding arrangements to be turned into funeral arrangements. they all leave and the musicians have a weird conversation that i don't understand.

what the heck is going on? do people usually do a lot of cutting here? i don't remember ever having seen scene 4. ever. and i certainly don't remember the end of scene 5 with the musicians. in fact, i don't even really understand what is going on there. and why we see the scene. it's like... complete randomville. has anyone ever seen a production that includes this sections? please do enlighten me.

i'm a little unclear about what Friar Laurence is saying to the Capulets. is he already inferring that this is at least partially their fault? or am i just reading too far into it? if so, that's pretty messed up considering that he knows the truth.

quote of the day:
'o woe! o woeful, woeful, woeful day!
most lamentable day, most woeful day
that ever, ever i did yet behold!
o day, o day, o day! o hateful day!
never was seen so black a day as this.
o woeful day, o woeful day!
   -Nurse; act 4, scene 5

for tomorrow: act 5!

-rebecca may

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scenes 1-3


i'm baaaaack! we are home safe and sound, and while i do not have my trusty Complete Works with me (it's still in Los Angeles), i do happen to have a copy of Romeo and Juliet at home. phew! i don't really like reading things online (ironic, right?) so it's going to be rough if i finish this play before my book arrives, but i will certainly make do! alright, let's get this ball rolling again!

act 4, scene 1
Paris is at Friar Laurence's cell, asking him to marry himself and Juliet on Thursday. apparently no one has told him that Juliet's not interested. the friar doesn't quite know how to handle the situation. he tries to wriggle out of it, but ends up having to say yes. Juliet shows up. Paris tries to connect with her, but Juliet slyly maneuvers through the conversation, avoiding both warmth and injury. once Paris is gone, Juliet expresses her anguish to Friar Laurence. (see quote below.) Laurence has an idea: she should go back home and agree to marry Paris the next day. when she goes to bed, she will take a potion from a vial that he has there for her. this potion will make her appear to bed dead for a number of hours, although she will actually only be asleep. she will avoid a wedding and receive a funeral. when she wakes up, Romeo will be there. Laurence will send a letter to him. then Romeo and Juliet can go to Mantua together and live happily ever after. it sounds crazy, but that's his plan. and Juliet agrees to do it.

act 4, scene 2
Juliet approaches her parents and Nurse to tell them that she has decided to marry Paris. they are over the moon with joy. Juliet asks Nurse to go with her to help her get her things ready, and the Capulets plan how to throw the rest of the plans together by morning.

act 4, scene 3
Juliet and Nurse are in her room, finishing their preparations. Lady Capulet arrives just in time for Juliet to ask them both to leave her alone for the evening. they leave, and Juliet is finally alone. she takes out her vial, but before she can drink it, she begins to panic. what if the plan falls through? she imagines many ways that it will fail (but of course not the way in which it does, in fact, fail), but eventually takes the drink anyway. she lays on the bed and immediately drifts into a deep sleep.

i really can't believe that Juliet is going to let everyone think she's dead. her parents only have one kid! that is DEVASTATING! for all she knows, her mom could kill HERself over something like this. unless i missed it (possible), she doesn't really consider how much suffering others may go through. she could just run away in the middle of the night. she's have a considerable lead on them. she and Romeo could be out of Italy and free and easy. i guess maybe she thinks that would bring too much shame on her family? and being dead would be better? or maybe the friar thinks that? what grown man helps a 13 year old fake her death? that is intense. that is a BIG lie for a man of God. this is one. crazy. mess.

Paris is such an interesting character. he could be portrayed so many ways, and i have seen him played vastly differently in film and onstage. i think i have most commonly seen him as kind of an ass, buffoon, annoying type. my favorite portrayal of him, however, was in Luhrmann's film version. Paul Rudd played Paris as this clueless dork. he was completely likeable, and yet you did NOT want Juliet to end up with him. brilliant. love that. check it out.

Juliet is sharp, man. check out scene 1 to see some sweet wit. the way she verbally dances around Paris is pretty awesome.

quote of the day:
'o, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
from off the battlements of any tower,
or walk in thievish ways, or bid me lurk
where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears,
or hide me nightly in a charnel house,
o'ercovered quite with dead men's rattling bones,
with reeky shanks and yellow chopless skulls;
or bid me go into a new-made grave
and hide me with a dead man in his tomb--
things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble--
and i will do it without fear or doubt,
to live an unstained wife to my sweet love.'
   -Juliet; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 4 & 5

-rebecca may

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I AM. An idiot.

I left my Complete Works of William Shakespeare at the Hollywood Bowl. And I'm on I-10 headed toward Florida. Crapppppppp.

They found the book, but my dad can't get it til Monday. And God only knows how long he will take to get it to me. And my book has all my notes and my schedule in it! And all I have is my freaking phonnnne! I can't believe myself right now.

Reading and blogging on my phone is going to be very difficult, so please forgive my crazy, short, and/or non-existent blogs for the next couple of days as I make my way home.


why am i so stupid?

-Rebecca May

Romeo and Juliet Act 3, Scenes 3-5


what a day! what a day! we rehearsed at the Hollywood Bowl all day- Gloria Estefan, Andy Garcia, and Cirque du Soleil. loooonnng day. best part was when they needed a stand-in for Helen Mirren so i got onstage in front of that podium, mic on, JumboTrons on, and introduced Cirque du Soleil. when i exited, the main stage manager said, 'are you an actress? that was REALLY good. i'm serious.' hahaha awesome. eat your heart out helen. but i digress...

act 3, scene 3
Romeo hides in Friar Laurence's call. he is scared of what his punishment will be for killing Tybalt. Laurence delivers the news: Romeo is vanished from Verona. Romeo completely freaks out. to him, there is nothing outside of Verona. he wants to die if he can't be in Verona and he can't be with his Juliet. the friar tries to calm him down, but it doesnt work. Nurse comes in, delivering the news that Juliet is likewise aggrieved, and Romeo gets even more hysterical. the only thing that calms Romeo down is their plan to bring Romeo to Juliet's room that night. tomorrow, he will leave for Mantua.

act 3, scene 4
Juliet's parents discuss marriage with Paris. things have gotten crazy with Tybalt's death, and Paris hasn't had time to woo Juliet. the Capulets make a deal with Paris that he can marry Juliet next Thursday. they will talk to her about it the next morning.

act 3, scene 5
Romeo and Juliet, after having spent the night together, say goodbye at Juliet's window. at first Romeo is anxious to get away before he's caught and Juliet begs him to stay. as lovers do, however, their positions flip as Juliet realizes it really is getting to be daytime. Juliet urges him to leave as Romeo tries to stay. the two finally say goodbye, and as Juliet looks down on Romeo, she has a prophetic moment. (see quote below.) just as Romeo leaves, Lady Capulet comes in to tell Juliet about her upcoming marriage to Paris. Juliet is shocked, and refuses to marry him. when her father comes in, she tells him the same. he cannot beLIEVE that his daughter would do this to him. he is very angry. very. if she does not marry Paris, she will be completely disowned, a curse to them, no longer their daughter. when he leaves Juliet begs her mother for help, but her mother turns her back on her. when she leaves, Juliet asks Nurse for advice. the Nurse suggests that Juliet go ahead and marry Paris. will no one help and understand Juliet?

okay i want to make sure i have this timeline straight:
Sunday: Capulet throws a party. Romeo and Juliet fall in love.
Monday: Romeo and Juliet get married. Romeo kills Tybalt. Capulet agrees Juliet will marry Paris on thursday. Romeo and Juliet consummate the marriage.
Tuesday: Romeo leaves for Mantua. Juliet refuses to marry Paris and is disowned.
is that right? that's intensely fast.

for some reason, this is where the play changes for me. i stop seeing them as foolish kids, and start seeing them as tragic figures. perhaps it is that moment where Juliet foresees Romeo's death? Juliet's father disowning her feels so unjust. (and poor Romeo apparently cant even go to his parents for help.) Romeo is gone, her parents have turned their backs on her, and Nurse doesn't understand her. she is utterly alone. she's only 13 years old, and she has this huge burden on her shoulders. Romeo's banishment, although it sucks, is completely justified. he killed someone. but then things start to get completely unfair. and awful. and they stay that way til the end. so for me, this is the transition. what do you think? i think Shakespeare is a genius.

quote of the day:
'o God, I have an ill-divining soul!
methinks I see thee, now thou art below,
as one dead in the bottom of a tomb:
either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale.'
-Juliet; act 3, scene 5

for tomorrow: act 4

-rebecca may

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 3, Scenes 1 & 2


we are going to have another great California day today! i am finishing my work so we can head out to Venice Beach for a few hours. afterward, we will hop on over to the Hollywood Bowl to watch part of the rehearsal for the opening night on Friday. i believe we will be watching Cirque du Soleil rehearsing their new show Iris, which opens in July. they will be previewing 8 minutes of it on Friday, but WE get to see it tonight. SWEET! afterward, we will head out to Edison for a little nightcap. fun fun fun! so let's do this Shakespeare thang!

act 3, scene 1
Mercutio and Benvolio are hanging out on the streets of Verona. Benvolio tries to convince Mercutio to call it a day (he's scared they might run into some Capulets), but Mercutio uses his considerable wit to con him into staying out. of course, they DO run into some Capulets. Tybalt and Mercutio get into a little spat until Romeo arrives, the person Tybalt has been looking for. he's still mad that Romeo crashed their party. Romeo tries to get Mercutio and Tybalt to stop quarreling, and refuses to fight too. he hints and hints that there is something Tybalt does not know, and that he has a reason for loving Tybalt, but nobody is picking up the (very obvious) clues. Mercutio and Tybalt draw their swords. Romeo gets between them to stop them, but Tybalt slips his sword under Romeo's arm, stabbing Mercutio. Tybalt runs off with his men. Romeo and Benvolio don't realize how hurt Mercutio is, and Mercutio lays the smack down on them. (see quote below.) Benvolio takes Mercutio out, but soon returns to announce that he is dead. Tybalt returns, but this time Romeo doesn't want to talk about peace. he draws his sword and fights with Tybalt, slaying him. Romeo runs off just as the Prince, Capulets, and Montagues arrive. Benvolio gives them a true account of what transpired, but Lady Capulet thinks he's lying. she wants Romeo dead. the Prince, however, banishes Romeo from Verona instead. if he is found within the city, he will be killed.

act 3, scene 2
Juliet anxiously awaits the night so that she can see her husband, her Romeo. she's married to a man she hasn't even been able to enjoy yet! Nurse enters, and it is obvious to Juliet that she bears bad news. the Nurse, always cryptic in her communications with Juliet, first leads Juliet to believe that Romeo is dead. then Juliet thinks Romeo and Tybalt are BOTH dead. then she realizes what truly happened, and that Romeo is banished. Nurse is incredulous that Juliet should still care about Romeo after what he did, but Juliet points out that he IS her husband after all. Juliet claims that she has died with Romeo's banishment and will die a maiden. Nurse finally admits that she knows where Romeo is and will go get him and bring him to her later that evening.

at the top of act 3, scene 1, what is Mercutio getting at? is he just trying to distract Benvolio?

i love the mirroring moment the nurse has in scene two. she says: 'O Romeo, Romeo/ who ever would have thought it? Romeo!' Juliet says in act 2, scene 2: 'O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?' see what he did there? nice work Mr. Shakespeare.

how old is Romeo? i know Juliet is 13, soon to be 14. how old is Romeo? can he be that much older? he is still a teenager, right? rough town that you can be banished when you're what... sixteen or so?

this is SO making me want to watch the Danes/DiCaprio version STAT. Harold Perrineau and John Leguizamo are SO GOOD. especially my Harold. if you've never seen any R & J movies, check out the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann movies and make a night of it. both are awesome in completely different ways. Claire Danes is SO not 13, but it's totally romantic and crazy and California!

quote of the day:
'no, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve. ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. i am peppered, i warrant, for this world. a plague o' both your houses! zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic! why the devil came you between us? i was hurt under your arm.'
   -Mercutio; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: the rest of act 3!

-rebecca may

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scenes 4-6


yet another great day in California. another yummy vegetarian breakfast at a little cafe and adventuring in the city. we tried to go to the museum of contemporary art to see their exhibit on graffiti art, but it's closed today! BOO. but that;s all right. we will go see a rehearsal of Good Luck Charlie at the studio later today, and dad is cooking his famous macaroni and cheese tonight. loving L.A.! (and hoping Sean is loving too so we can live here- or close by- one day!) right now i'm sitting in my dad's loft with the windows open, lovely city sounds wafting in on a cool breeze, and enjoying Mercutio's craziness. hope you are having just as much fun reading along!

act 2, scene 4
Benvolio and Mercutio discuss the fact that Romeo did not go home the previous night after the party, and muse on what's going on with him until he himself enters. Romeo and Mercutio get into a saucy battle of wits, sex jokes flying right and left. this goes on until Nurse enters and their attention turns to her. Mercutio, in particular, is rough on her, and she is deeply offended. once Mercutio and Benvolio leave, it takes a little prodding for Romeo to get the info about Juliet out of her. she is not too happy with them. after a bit of cajoling, Nurse receives the message from Romeo that Juliet should come that afternoon to Friar Laurence's chamber instead of going to confession. Romeo gives her a little money and asks her to fashion him a rope ladder so he can climb Juliet's wall later.

act 2, scene 5
Juliet anxiously awaits the Nurse's return. impatient is an understatement here. when Nurse arrives, she complains that she is too tired and needs a break before she tells Juliet what happened. (see quote below.) finally, Nurse tells her and Juliet is HAPPY!

act 2, scene 6
Friar Laurence and Romeo wait for Juliet in his cell. the friar gives Romeo some much-needed advice: therefore love moderately. long love doth so;/ too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.' Juliet arrives and the two get all mushy gushy until Friar Laurence gets them moving. it's time to get married!

Mercutio is SO bad. i can't even believe some of this tiff he's saying in scene 4! ha! do they cut this scene out of high school productions? because the sex jokes are rampant! i also don't remember the first half of the scene (before the Nurse enters) from the Zeffirelli film. was this kind of humor pretty common back then? i feel like i remember from history that it was, but we haven;t seen a ton of it in Shakespeare yet. i would argue that this is the first time we see raunchy humor to this degree. what brought that on? is that what the public wanted? some sex jokes, a little romance, and a sad ending? hm...

i love scene 5! it's hilarious. would be a great first duet scene in a beginning shakespearean acting class.

it feels like Friar Laurence contradicts himself a little bit in scene 6? i thought he was saying earlier that this might help the family feud, but now it seems like he's saying it will make it worse. am i misinterpreting?

quote of the day:
Nurse: Jesu, what haste! can you not stay awhile?
     do you not see that i am out of breath?
Juliet: how art thou out of breath, when thou hast breath
     to say to me that thou art out of breath?
     the excuse that thou dost make in this delay
     is longer than the tale thou dost excuse.
     is thy news good or bad? answer to that;
     say either, and i'll stay the circumstance.
     let me be satisfied: is't good or bad?
   -act 2, scene 5

for tomorrow: act 3, scenes 1-3

-rebecca may

Monday, June 13, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scenes 1-3


another great day in California! we went to an amazing place called Tribal Cafe where i had the most delicious pirate's chai ever with a wonderful egg, cheese, tomato, onion, and avocado breakfast sandwich. we ran some errands and saw some scenery before hopping on the subway to the Hollywood Bowl. Dad and i went to a production meeting while Grandma and Sean hung out. we did the touristy thing in Hollywood. then Sean and i ventured out to the Cineramadome to see Super 8. by the time we got home, Dad was almost finished making dinner and we all sat down together to enjoy a lovely meal. yay L.A.! i am super duper pooped and ready for bed! but first, i must get my Shakespeare on...

act 2, scene 1
Romeo doesn't want to leave because he wants to see Juliet again. when he sees his friends walking up, he hides in the darkness to avoid having to go home. Benvolio is looking for Romeo while Mercutio pokes fun at him. eventually the two friends leave.

act 2, scene 2
Romeo emerges from the shadows and sees Juliet at her window. he is mooning over her when he hears her mooning over him. (see quote below.) Romeo lets himself be known to Juliet, and the two flirt and flirt and flirt. Juliet is very upfront about her emotions, and explains that she doesn't want to play games. the Nurse starts calling for Juliet. Juliet has to keep running in and out to put off Nurse while she says her goodbyes to Romeo. Juliet tells Romeo that if he is serious about loving her, he should arrange for them to be married. she will send a messenger to him in the morning to get a yea or nay from him. mushy gushy goodbyes ensue.

act 2, scene 3
Friar Laurence is working in his garden, extolling the virtues of holistic medicine. Romeo enters, and right away Friar Laurence can tell that something is going on with him. he guesses that Romeo has been up all night with Rosaline. when Romeo reveals the truth, Friar Laurence is shocked. he feels kind of the way we do: that this is an awfully quick turnaround, Romeo! Friar Laurence agrees to marry them in hopes that this will help end the feud between the Capulets and Montagues.

these kids are nuts! i can't believe i ever took these scenes seriously. now i think it's kind of cute, but of course very immature. now that i think about it, the last time i invested any real time in this play, i was a teenager myself. so i guess it seemed less silly to me then. interesting how our perspectives change. i used to see this play as a love story, and now i see it as a cautionary tale.

Mercutio is crazy, yes? and terrible! ha! his sexual jokes and poking fun at Romeo are out of this world. i would love some insight on this character if anyone has something to share.

quote of the day:
'tis but thy name that is my enemy;
thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
what's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
belonging to a man. o, be some other man!
what's in a name? that which we call a rose
by any other word would smell as sweet;
so Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
retain that dear perfection which he owes
without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
and for thy name, which is no part of thee,
take all myself.'
   -Juliet; act 2, scene 2

for tomorrow: the rest of act 2!

-rebecca may

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scenes 3-5


day 4 of epic California road trip 2011!!! my brother came into L.A. from San Francisco for the day, and my grandma arrived for a two week stay. we got a guided tour of downtown L.A. by my dad and i had the most deeelish goat cheese tart for dinner. it was wonderful! now i need to wrap up my Shakespeare affairs so i can get some much-needed rest!

act 1, scene 3
Lady Capulet seeks out Juliet's Nurse to help her approach Juliet about Paris. when they go to talk to Juliet, it is clear that Nurse knows Juliet much better than her mother does. with Nurse by her side, Lady Capulet has the nerve to ask Juliet about her opinions on marriage, and on Paris in particular. Juliet promises her mother that she will take a look at him tonight at their party.

act 1, scene 4
Romeo, Benvolio, and their friend (another of the Prince's kinsmen) Mercutio, head out to the Capulet party with other friends. they are all ready, masks in hand, except for Romeo who is still moping about Rosaline. Mercutio tells Romeo, 'if love be rough with you, be rough with love'. Romeo begins to tell him that he has had a dream that this night will be ill-fated when Mercutio interrupts with his Queen Mab speech. once Romeo cuts him off, we learn of Romeo's dream. (see quote below.)

act 1, scene 5
at the party, the banquet has just ended and the dancing has begun. Romeo catches sight of Juliet and, not knowing who she is, falls instantly in love. 'did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!/for i ne'er saw true beauty till this night.' Tybalt recognizes Romeo's voice, and alerts Capulet to the Montague invasion. he is absolutely enraged, and wants to start a fight right then and there. Capulet, however, wants no fighting. he has heard that Romeo is a good kid and commands Tybalt to let it go. meanwhile, Romeo and Juliet begin their little flirting moment which leads to their first (and second) kiss. naughty! Juliet is pulled away by Nurse to speak with her mother. Nurse reveals Juliet's identity to Romeo. he, of course, is crushed. as he is leaving, Juliet sends Nurse to find out who Romeo is. her biggest fear is that he might be married. when Nurse returns with the news, Juliet is also devastated.even worse

act 1, scene 4 is a little fuzzy for me. some of it is confusing. i've seen that Queen Mab speech portrayed in so many different ways. i think my personal favorite was in the DiCaprio/Danes film, maybe because Harold Perrineau is AMAZING! but anyway, if anyone cares to share their thoughts/experience with this, we would all be most obliged. and when he says 'prick love with pricking,' is he suggesting to diffuse the hardships of true love by having sex?

hm... again... by the text it is pretty difficult to take the lovers seriously. i know it's only act one, but Romeo's shift in affection is so darn fast. it feels ridiculous. when will this turn around?

this makes me think about how intense teenagers can be. (this is not a criticism. i love teens. my primary work is directing teens.) everything is uber-felt. it's kind of like- this is what can happen when you don't talk to your kids and you try to bar them from life. they get carried away. the more you fight them, the more they fight back and cling to the thing you don't want them to. for me this isn't a tragic love story. it's a tragic tale of bad parenting and what can happen as a result of it. (that was my aha moment for the day.) The Fantasticks, anyone?

quote of the day:
'i fear, too early; for my mind misgives
some consequence yet hanging in the stars
shall bitterly begin his fearful date
with this night's revels, and expire the term
of a despised life closed in my breast
by some vile forfeit of untimely death.
but He that hat the steerage of my course
direct my suit! on, lusty gentlemen.'
   -Romeo; act 1, scene 4

for tomorrow: some or all of act 2! fare thee well!

-rebecca may

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scenes 1 and 2


Day 3 of Epic California Rpad Trip 2011! We are zipping through Arizona as we speak, only one state away from our final destination! I am so excited I can barely stand it. We have seen some beautiful landscapes today. I just can't wait for Sean to see how great Cali is. I'm telling you, if you've never taken a road trip across the United States, you're missing out. There's so much to see! I am ripping my eyes away from the scenery to write this down!

(see quote below.)

act 1, scene 1
A couple of Capulets and a couple of Montagues meet on the street. One 'bites their tongue' at the other (perhaps something like the middle finger to us?) and a fight breaks out. Benvolio, a friend of Romeo, tries to break the fight up. Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, tries to stir it up. Capulet and Montague themselves join the group, blaming the other family for starting the brawl. Finally Escalus, Prince of Verona, comes between them. He is sick and tired of this family feud. Anyone who causes a fight between them again will be put to death. As the crowd disperses, the Montagues ask Benvolio for Romeo's whereabouts. He has been seriously moping about, and they're worried about him. As they talk, they stumble upon him. Romeo's parents send Benvolio to check on him, and head back home. Benvolio learns that Romeo is very sick. Love-sick to be exact. He is in love with Rosaline, but she has sworn to life-long chastity. Benvolio suggests that Romeo find a new girl to love. Romeo finds it impossible to think of, but leaves with his friend nonetheless.

act 1, scene 2
Capulet enters with Paris, one of Escalus' family members. He is interested in marrying Juliet, but Capulet insists that she is too young. She isn't even 14 yet! Paris presses on, so Capulet agrees that he can at least court her for now. Capulet is having a party that night and invites Paris. As they leave, Capulet gives the rest of his guest list to a servant to take care of invitations. After they exit, we learn that the servant can't read. Benvolio and Romeo come along and help the servant read the list. On the list is none other than Rosaline herself. Benvolio and Romeo agree to secretly attend the party. Romeo hopes to see Rosaline, and Benvolio hopes Romeo will see that there are many other pretty girls to fall in love with.

I love Benvolio. He reminds me of Horatio from Hamlet, another of my favorite characters. He is a great friend. I also love that his name sounds like 'benevolent'.

Romeo is ridiculous. How are we supposed to take him seriously later when he falls in love with Juliet? He's so moony over Rosaline! And Juliet is only 13, a fortnight from 14. Can we take 13-year-old love seriously? How old is Romeo? Apparently, an average age for marriage at that time was several years older than that, so we can't even say it's just the time period. And yet, by play's end, we will all be crying. Shakespeare is mighty tricky.

Anyone recognize the prologue speech (below) from the musical Bare? So good!

Quote of the day:
'Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.'
-Chorus; prologue

For tomorrow: act 1, scenes 3-5

-Rebecca May

Romeo and Juliet Intro Info


Day 2 of epic California road trip 2011!!! Wahoo! We left New Orleans today and headed straight for Killeen, Texas to visit my cousin's wonderful wife and their gorgeous baby daughter. Then we headed out to west Texas for some more camping, and in a much more beautiful setting his go round. A river and mountain as our backdrop? Yes please! Also the wifi isnt 100% here, so you'll have to forgive my brevity. It took me 30 minutes just to log on!

Here's some stuff I learned about R and J today:
So even though this play is a 'tragedy', it actually has a lot more in common with Shakespeare's early romantic comedies than his other tragedies. First of all, it was the only tragedy other than the 'experimental' (according to Bevington) Titus Andronicus to be written in the first decade of Shakespeare's career. The play doesn't concern itself with a tragic hero, as the other tragedies do, but with naive lovers. This is exactly what we have seen in such plays as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Love's Labor's Lost. In fact, this whole idea of 'the course of true love never did run smooth' that we saw in Midsummer is arguably the main theme in R and J. The domestic troubles the lovers have are also something usually found in comedies. These conflicts, as in Midsummer, usually all work themselves out in the end. That is (obviously) the difference here. This play even has some of the stock characters we are used to seeing in the comedies: the controlling father, rival wooer, and the bawdy nurse. The lovers themselves first appear almost comedically. Romeo is hopelessly and unrequitedly in 'love' with Rosaline until he sees Juliet. This kind of sets us up to see him as a fool rather than a tragic figure. Maybe that's part of the genius of the play! Shakes sets it up for us as a romantic comedy and then it turns out to be something far from that. Awesome.

i hope you will read along with me, and I hope I will be able to post this blog from the road!

For tomorrow: act 1

-rebecca may

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sonnets 36-42


Day 1 of Epic California Road Trip 2011! Woot Woot! We are currently approaching Pensacola as I struggle to blog on my phone. It is a pain in the booty. And I have an iPhone for pete's sake! Anyway, we will be camping in New Orleans tonight and back on the road early tomorrow morning. I lovvve road trips with my Sean. Yay!

#36- break up poem? the poet accepts his fate unhappily.

#37- the poet may be 'lame' and 'poor', but the person described in the poem is wonderful enough for the two of them.

#38- this poem basically says, 'as long as you are alive, i should never lack for something to write about.'

#39- divorce poem? (see quote below.) the poet manipulates language to make himself look good in the break up.

#40- the poet tells his friend to go ahead and take his mistress. he forgives his friend for the affair between them and cannot bear the thought of them being enemies.

#41- how can a man resist when a woman goes after him? he can't. so it's her fault that the poet's friend and mistress deceived the poet. ???

#42- the most incriminating of all so far. the poet is more upset to lose his friend than his mistress and bemoans the fact. this one is a must-read.

These sonnets are twisted. I think Shakespeare must've been a pretty tricky, possibly manipulative guy. Check out the way he uses language in sonnet 39, also in the quote below. It's like the original 'it's not you, it's me' speech people give when they break up with someone. But ten times more sneaky.

If I didnt think Shakespeare was gay before, I would definitely be considering it now after reading sonnets 40-42. Why in the world would any guy be okay with his friend stealing his girlfriend? Unless he was actually in love with the friend more than the girl? Before you object, read the sonnets. I know the voice of the writer is not necessarily Shakespeare's, but come on...

quote of the day:
'o, how thy worth with my manners may i sing,
when thou art all the better part of me?
what can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
and what is't but mine own when i praise thee?
even for this let us divided live,
and our dear love lose name of single one,
that by this separation i may give,
that due to thee that thou deserv'st alone.'
-sonnet 39

for tomorrow: Romeo and Juliet intro info!

11 plays, 4 poems, 42 sonnets down. 26 plays, 1 poem, 112 sonnets to go!

-rebecca may

Up Next is Romeo and Juliet!

revisit this classic with me! i start with background info tomorrow.

-rebecca may

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 5, Scene 1


we leave tomorrow for California! ahhhh! so much to doooo! okay. on your mark, get set... BLOG!

act 5, scene 1
Theseus and Hippolyta enter the palace, followed by the lovers, finished with dinner and ready for some pre-bedtime entertainment. Philostrate brings them a list of the possible plays to be performed, including Bottom's play. Philostrate warns them against it, but Theseus is determined to have this amusement. Philostrate fetches our group of misfit actors, and the play begins. (there is no way to describe it, really. you must read it for yourself, or better yet, see it performed.) the play is completely ridiculous and hilarious, and the six audience members heckle the actors ceaselessly. (see quote below for Bottom's death as Pyramus.) at the conclusion, the players are prepared to go on into an epilogue, but Theseus gently asks them not to. everyone exits and in comes Puck, followed by Oberon, Titania, and the fairies. Titania and Oberon are happy together again. singing and dancing is had, and all but Puck exit. Puck concludes with his famous 'if we shadows have offended' monologue. THE END!

this act is hilarious. loved it. i love how many ways you could take this. i would love to sit in on a rehearsal with some really talented comedic actors and watch them play.

my only issue with the act is that it never ends! i remember seeing it and thinking it was over a couple of different times.

i've got nothing profound to say and no interesting questions to ask, but if you have any stories to tell about your experience with this glorious play-within-a-play, please share!!!

quote of the day:
'thus die i, thus, thus, thus.
   now am i dead,
   now am i fled;
my soul is in the sky.
   tongue, lose thy light;
   moon, take thy flight.
now die, die, die, die, die.'
   -Pyramus (Bottom)

for tomorrow: sonnets 36-41

11 plays, 4 poems, and 35 sonnets down. 26 plays, 1 poem, and 119 sonnets to go!

-Rebecca may

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 4, Scenes 1 and 2


so much going on! prepping to leave on our road trip (takes SO MUCH more time than i expected), going to rehearsals, dealing with drama, making gifts for tomorrow's Veronica's Room party, etc! wowie zowie! it'll be nice to e on the trip and have some time in the car to relax and catch up on my Shakespeare!

act 4, scene 1
Titania welcomes Bottom to her bed where they "recline" together. Bottom, comfortable in his new role, spends his time giving orders to the fairies. eventually, Titania tells the fairies to go away and they "sleep". Oberon now has the Indian boy, so he feels like it's time to cure Titania of her love sickness. when she wakes she says, "methought i was enamored of an ass". Puck cures Bottom of his ass problem. Oberon and Titania make up and head off to Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding together. meanwhile, Egeus, Theseus, and Hippolyta run into the lovers asleep in the woods. they wake them up and ask Hermia to reveal whether or not she will marry Demetrius. the lovers recount their journey and reveal that Demetrius and Helena will be together, freeing up Hermia to be with Lysander. Egeus isn't happy, but everyone else is. everyone heads off to the wedding. afterward, Bottom wakes up. in a confused state, he heads home to share his idea for a new play: Bottom's Dream.

act 4, scene 2
all of the actors are very worried about Bottom. Snug tells them that they might be permitted to perform that night for the newlyweds. they all agree, however, that there's no way they can do it without Bottom. happily, Bottom appears. the actors prepare to perform!

what is Oberon's DEAL with the Indian kid? i really don;t get it. why is it so important to him? someone tell me! please!

honestly, i can't be happy for Helena. she only has Demetrius' "love" because of that little flower. right? that's like that eternal thing about love potion- it can never make you happy because you will always know it's a lie. i get it. it's a comedy. but i'm just sayin' that i'm not satisfied with that wrap-up.

quote of the day:
'but, my good lord, i wot not by what power-
but by some power it is - my love to Hermia,
melted as the snow, seems to me now
as the remembrance of an idle gaud
which in my childhood i did dote upon;
and all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
the object and the pleasure of mine eye,
is only Helena. to her, my lord,
was i betrothed ere i saw Hermia,
but like a sickness did i loathe this food;
but, as in health, come to my natural taste,
now i do wish it, love it, long for it,
and will forevermore be true to it.

for tomorrow: act 5!

-rebecca may

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 3, Scene 2


finding it hard to keep up with blogging. i need to do it because it makes me do the reading, but i am struggling to keep up with it. BAH. i just have to keep my eyes on the prize and know that i can do this i can do this i CAN do this.

act 3, scene 2
Oberon is wondering what has become of his Titania when Puck enters to deliver the news about Bottom the ass. Oberon is pleased with the results of their trick until he sees the results with the young lovers. Hermia thinks Demetrius has killed Lysander to get to her. he eventually falls asleep, and Oberon orders that Puck make this right. they put the flower juice into Demetrius' eyes so that he too will be in love with Helena. Puck's famous line is here: 'Lord, what fools these mortals be.' and now, of course, Helena is double-confused about all this love coming her way. Helena suspects that Hermia is in on the whole thing. (see quote below.) Helena begs the boys to stop their charade, but they continue to fight over her. Hermia is equally confused and tormented. when they scatter, Oberon expresses his displeasure to Puck. this is all his fault! he orders Puck to fix the situation with the lovers (but keep Demetrius in love with Helena) and he will fix things with Titania. Puck runs the young boys around until they are so exhausted that they collapse. while all of the lovers are asleep, he fixes things with Lysander so that he will again love Hermia.

i love that Demetrius now gets to be shunned by Helena. HA! serves him right!

OMG Helena is SUCH a hypocrite! she is calling Hermia out for being a bad friend, but she already sold her out! does Helena not remember when she told Demetrius about Hermia and Lysander's plans? for what? so she could get closer to Demetrius! hellooo. hypocrite. i was down with Helena, but no longer.

i love all of Lysander's insults to Hermia. if you haven't read this play, at least read this scene. he calls her a dwarf and an acorn. to start with. it's hilarious. check it out.

quote of the day:
'we, Hermia, like two artificial gods
have with our needles created both one flower,
both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
both warbling of one song, both in one key,
as if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds
had been incorporate. so we grew together,
like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
but yet an union in partition,
two lovely berries molded on one stem;
so, with two seeming bodies but one heart,
two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
due but to one and crowned with one crest.
and will you rend our ancient love asunder,
to join with men in scorning your poor friend?'

for tomorrow: act 4

-rebecca may

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Midsummer Nights Dream Act 3, Scene 1


this day is packed! i wanted to read the whole act and stay on a roll with this play, but there's just too much going on. production meeting, rehearsal 10-5, and hanging out with my good friend sherry! we are both choosing a movie we're embarrassed to admit we want to see. we watch them together in a judgement free zone. pretty sweet, huh? therefore, blogging must be finished by the end of lunch. so here we go!

act 3, scene 1
rehearsal is taking place in the woods, and Bottom suggests he receive an extra monologue to explain to the ladies in the audience that when he kills himself in the play, he's not really dead. they also decide, with Bottom's help, that the lion must proclaim he is just an actor so the audience won't be scared of him. they are working out how to represent the moon and the wall when Puck stumbles upon the rehearsal. he decides to have a little fun with them, and when Bottom makes his exit, he follows him off for a little mischief. when Bottom re-enters, he has a donkey head, courtesy of Puck. all of Bottom's friends are scared and run off. Bottom has no idea what's going on. just then Titania wakens, and the first thing she sees is Bottom. she falls instantly in love with him, (see quote below) and orders her fairies to wait upon him hand and foot.

i am surprised because i am thoroughly enjoying this read, and i haven't been a fan of this play for years. maybe i just find it more enjoyable to read than watch? it moves so fast on the page and i understand a bit more of what's going on. is it bad that i think it's funnier on the page?

it makes me sad that Helena has been so emotionally abused by Demetrius that when Lysander calls her beautiful, she automatically thinks he's mocking her. sad sad sad. i feel like if Hermia were in her place, without Demetrius' bad influence, she wouldn't have reacted the same way. because she has self-esteem. weird how that works.

quote of the day:
'methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that. and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays-- the more the pity that some honest neighbors will not make them friends. nay, i can gleek upon occasion.'
-Bottom; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 2!

-rebecca may

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 2, Scenes 1 and 2


it's official. we're getting an iPad. i am excited and a little embarrassed. ha! we were going to spend $200 on sean's livescribe (so cool if you haven't seen it), but they have that on the iPad AND sean doesn't have a computer. ever wonder why i struggle so hard to post these blogs? well, it's partially because i share this laptop with him. of course he will still need my computer to play WoW, but he WON'T need it for class. and THAT means i can actually work on my thesis. woot woot. bring it on blog! i got you on lock this summer!

act 2, scene 1
Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow, the mischief-maker) and a Fairy meet in the woods. the Fairy announces that Titania, Queen of the fairies, is on her way. Puck reveals that Oberon, King of the Fairies is on his way, and it is better that the two do not meet. apparently, Titania has stolen a boy from an Indian king for one of her attendants, and Oberon wants the boy for his own. (see quote about Puck below.) before they can stop either of the two from coming their way, Titania and Oberon enter from opposite ends of the woods. they immediately start a verbal battle. Titania has a past with Theseus and Oberon has a past with Hippolyta, and Titania will stay in the woods until Theseus and Hippolyta get married. Oberon tells Titania that their feud will end if she will just hand over the Indian boy. Titania explains that his mother, her servant, died giving birth to him and she is raising him for her. they can't agree, and she storms off. Oberon concocts a plan and employs Puck to help him with it. he knows of a flower that was struck by Cupid's arrow. when the dew from the flower is dropped into someones eyes while they sleep, they will fall madly in love with the first thing they see when they wake up. Oberon sends Puck to get the flower so that he can use it on Titania. as he plots, Demetrius and Helena enter. Demetrius is awful to Helena, bordering on completely wicked. she follows him pathetically. the more she acts like his puppy dog, the more he treats her like crap. she will never give up on him, and follows him as he exits. Oberon apparently feels some sympathy for her, and orders Puck to use the flower on Demetrius, and he himself will use it on Titania.

act 2, scene 2
Titania enters another part of the wood with her fairy attendants. they sing her to sleep and Oberon sneaks in to squeeze the flower on her eyelids. as he leaves, Hermia and Lysander stumble in. they are ready for some sleep. Hermia asks Lysander to sleep away from her for modesty's sake, and after some resistance, he agrees. as they fall asleep, Puck finds them. mistaking Lysander for Demetrius, he squeezes the flower onto his eye. Helena runs in, exhausted from chasing Demetrius. she finds Lysander, and fearing he is dead, wakes him. he wakes up, and the first thing he sees is Helena. he begins proclaiming his love for her and distaste for Hermia. he won't stop! she thinks he is mocking her, and exits pursued by Lysander. Hermia awakes, and confused by Lysander's absence, goes looking for him.

oh my gosh! so much happens in this play! it's so different than things even a couple of plays ago. this one clips right along. i wonder if the plays will be more like this from now on.

okay, how weird is this Indian boy thing? what the heck is going on there? random. and why does Oberon want him? i understand Titania's reasoning, but Oberon...? does he just want him to spite Titania? why does it matter?

wait a minute... so Oberon is in love with Hippolyta and Titania is in love with Theseus? whaaaat?

i love Oberon for deciding to use the flower on Demetrius. just the fact that he took the girl's side over the boy's is awesome. and he is contributing to a greater justice. and perhaps sympathizes with her because he has love woes of his own?

quote of the day:
'thou speakest aright;
i am that merry wanderer of the night.
i jest to Oberon and make him smile
when i a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
neighing in likeness of a filly foal;
and sometimes lurk i in a gossip's bowl
in very likeness of a roasted crab,
and when she drinks, against her lips i bob
and on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
the wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
sometimes for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
then slip i from her bum, down topples she,
and "Tailor" cries, and falls into a cough;
and then the whole choir hold their hips and laugh,
and waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
a merrier hour was never wasted there.'
   -Puck; act 2, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 1 (and maybe scene 2)! rolling right along!

-rebecca may

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 1, Scenes 1 and 2


ran into a fun little blog post that i thought i'd share. it's on Shakespearean insults, a personal favorite of mine. enjoy!

i was going to read two acts today, but i have literally been cleaning and re-organizing ALL DAY LONG. it was actually quite satisfying because we have friends on their way and they are going to love our little home improvements. is it pathetic to be excited about new wild flowers and solar lights on your porch? maybe. but if it is, i don't care. i'm just excites that my environment is starting to become more and more of what i would like it to be. and the best part of all? my friend who is coming over calls my porch the "fairy garden". with me working on Midsummer's, how perfect is that?

act 1, scene 1
Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, enter Theseus' court. they talk about how Theseus won her on the battlefield, and their wedding that is to come. Egeus enters with his daughter Hermia and her two suitors, Demetrius and Lysander. he complains to the Duke that he wants Hermia to marry Demetrius, but Lysander has "bewitched" her. Egeus would like to exercise his "privilege of Athens": she marries Demetrius or she is sentenced to death. Theseus gently tries to explain to Hermia that either death or a nunnery awaits her if she does not do what her father commands, and tells her to take some time to think it through before she makes her decision. Lysander argues for his right to marry Hermia, being from as good of stock as Demetrius. in fact, he points out, Demetrius is known to be a bit of a philanderer. it is rumored he has slept with Helena, who know dotes on him tirelessly. Theseus has heard of this, and pulls Egeus and Demetrius into another room to talk. left alone, Hermia and Lysander bemoan their fate. (see quote below.) Lysander suggests a plan to Hermia: tomorrow night they meet in the woods to head for his aunt's house, far from Athens. there they can be married and live freely. Hermia agrees happily. Helena, Hermia's dear friend enters, complaining of Demetrius' love for Hermia. Hermia explains to Helena that she won't have to worry for much longer, and the lovers reveal their full plan to Helena in confidence. they leave and Helena wonders why all of Athens thinks she is fair, but Demetrius doesn't. she decides she will tell Demetrius of Hermia's plans in the hopes that she will be able to get closer to him.

act 1, scene 2
Quince the carpenter, Snug the joiner, Bottom the weaver, Flute the bellows mender, Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor meet up to organize the play they are planning for Theseus and Hippolyta. the play is called The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe. Quince is giving out the parts, and Nick Bottom is cast as Pyramus. as Quince is casting the other parts, Bottom tries to get himself cast in those parts too. it doesn't work, but he tries really hard. they are all instructed to learn their lines by the next night. they will meet in the woods to rehearse by moonlight.

yeah... what is wrong with Egeus? why does he like Demetrius so much and refuse Lysander so adamantly? Demetrius screws around with Helena, apparently. and Lysander has a good family and money. so what the heck is the problem? is Egeus just stubborn or what?

you can really tell how much Shakespeare has evolved. i noticed that things are clipping along at a nice pace. so far i can follow along pretty well without being so bogged down in literary references and whatnot that i can't enjoy the scene. pacing is great, characters are clear, dialogue is witty. i'm starting to get it.

i love how Helena, who has been friends with Hermia since childhood, is ready to sell her out so easily for a man. Shakespeare has obviously never heard of girl code.

i always thought Helena was supposed to be unattractive, but here it makes it seem like she is pretty but Demetrius just doesn't care for her. is that a casting thing that's just sort of become tradition?

quote of the day:
'ay me! for aught that i could ever read,
could ever hear by tale or history,
the course of true love never did run smooth;'
   -Lysander; act 1, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 2!

-rebecca may