Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A fool and her money are soon parted.

I collect pretensions. Random trivia from PBS specials (peanuts aren't really nuts). Archaic words (firkytoodling). And Shakespeare plays. In fact, as of last week, I am just three plays away from having seen every one of Shakespeare's surviving plays (or four, if you include Two Noble Kinsmen).

To help me complete my collection, I need y'all to be on the lookout for Utah productions of the following:

1) Cymbeline (Sharon's seen it and says it sucks beyond belief)
2) Antony and Cleopatra (I could have seen it last year and sanely refused to pay big bucks to see what everyone said was a stupid play, but I now regret stifling my inner snob)
3) Titus Andronicus (I may not have the stomach for this bloodbath -- maybe I'll have to content myself with an "all but one" boast?)

I was sitting by my brother during the intermission of Lear, proudly telling him and his wife that I had seen all Shakespeare plays but four.

"Which ones do you have left?" he asked.

"Well, Pericles, for one," I replied.

"You've seen Pericles," he said.

"No, I haven't. Don't you think I'd remember if I'd seen Pericles?"

"You've seen it."

He was right. I had seen it. I have zero recollection of it. Seeing forgettable plays is a ridiculous and irresponsible way to spend my money, but the allure of the complete collection is becoming irresistible as I approach the finish line. As I shell out $40 to see Timon of Athens, I think how great it will be to be at a party playing that what-have-you-done-that-no-one-else-here-has-done game and say, "I've seen every Shakespeare play." All heads will turn. Men will suddenly find me fascinating. I will win the wiseguy tiara and wave modestly to my adoring public. Morning news shows will interview me, and my advice will be:

"Never ever let anyone drag you to Henry VIII."

However, my latest rare Shakespeare acquisition was actually very good: Coriolanus. It's playing this season in Cedar City and if you have the opportunity to take it in, you should. It's been used as propaganda by both Nazis and Communists and was banned by Allied forces for several years in post-WWII Europe. In fact, most citizens of modern democracies hate the play with its proud patrician protagonist (say that five times fast). I'll spare you the full review, but if you just can't get enough of my hot air, head over to the Shakespearean Festival blog, where I left a loooong comment on the play.

As a pompous old codger once said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."

And so I end.

The rest is silence.



Natalie said...

I am so glad that you liked it- I am excited now. And Anthony and Cleopatra was horrible, be happy you missed it.

wynne said...

I am impressed. Awed. In-wow.

Only three left?

What about versions on film? Do those count?

(And I had no idea that Coriolanus was banned. Now I have to read it.)

Marie said...

I hope you like it, Nat. The other two Shakespeare productions are excellent as well. As for Coriolanus, just be sure to brace yourself for the second half, because it gets harder to relate to him then. But I was also thinking to myself as I watched Lear the next night, that it SHOULD be much easier to relate to Coriolanus than to Lear, who is renouncing loving family and bringing his country to ruin from the very first scene!

Wynne -- I haven't been counting films for my own purposes. I"m all about pretense, you see, and it's just less impressive, somehow, to say you've borrowed every Royal Shakespeare production from Blockbuster. (Plus, how many times can you watch Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi? They're great and all, but I like some variety.) And live theater -- watching a great story played out by flesh-and-blood people who know you're there, and experiencing it with hundreds of your fellow humans -- I think it's very exciting. Film is great, but theater is different animal. An endangered species. And I guess that's why it's gotten so *&%#!! expensive.

Tusk said...

The only Shakey P thing I've watched and enjoyed was "Shakespeare in Love". Does that count?

RC Cola! said...

There was some flyer I saw forever ago, advertising all of Shakespeare's plays being "read" I don't know if that counts as being performed though. It was dirt cheap, and I wish I could remember what it was exactly -I went to that thrift shop, Grunts and Posture in SLC, and I saw the flyer there.

Good luck with this pretension.

emily said...

marie i love your blog! you're such a good writer!

i heard the lear was good this year. hey that rhymes.

Marie said...

Tusk -- Joseph Fiennes is fine entertainment indeed, but there's only one Shakespeare, and he's the dreamiest of all dreamboats. Accept no substitutes.

RC -- Thanks for the tip. I haven't been in Grunts & Postures in a long while but I'll look for that next time I am.

Em -- High praise, coming from you. As for pizza -- you drive, I pay.

FreeSpiritGal said...

I just wanted to tell you you're amazingly fantastic... even if you do have a few plays to go!

This is the first time I've had a chance to paruse your blog since you commented on mine. I'm already a fan. I love finding out that people I already love are already in this world of blogging that I love!