BB: Romeo and Juliet, Act V

13 Apr
Artwork - Leigh Macrae

Artwork – Leigh Macrae

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)
Welcome Brawlers! I know Bard Brawl nation’s been waiting impatiently for this one and here it is, the dramatic conclusion to Romeo and Juliet.

Listen to or download the podcast, or better yet subscribe on iTunes.

I know you’ve all been dying to find out how this play ends so here it is: they die! Yup. Juliet, dead. Romeo, dead.

“For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

And that’s it really. The end.

Oh, details?

Well, I don’t see the point in digging up the morbid details of a teenage double suicide but here goes, I guess.

Romeo’s buddy Balthazar shows up (booted!) in Mantua in act V, scene 1. Romeo is hoping for some good news but instead he learns that Juliet died and has been entombed in the Capulet crypts.

But it’s all good though because Romeo must have received the Friar’s message that this is just en elaborate and really dangerous ruse to sneak Juliet out of Verona and get her out of having to marry Paris.

Except he hasn’t received anything so he totally believes that Juliet’s gone. What’s a lovesick fool to do? Seek out a poor apothecary who’s willing to sell you some illegal poison. Then take that vial of poison, sneak into Juliet’ tomb and drink it down so you can be united in death.

(Maybe this is a good time to say it: don’t try this at home folks.)

At the start of scene 2, Friar John drops in on Friar Lawrence. Did John get the letter to Romeo? No. Why? Friar John was helping a friend care for the sick. And then he was quarantined and forbidden to leave the city or hand off the letter to someone else who could bring it for him.

Crap.

But Father Lawrence, never being one for giving up, calls for his crowbar and suits up: he’ll rescue Juliet himself and hide her at his place until he can contact Romeo again.

(Maybe they should have gone with this version of the plan in the first place?)

Act V, scene 3. Enter Paris. Yes, him again. What is he doing in the cemetery with a bunch of flowers in his hand? Why, he’s planing to cover Juliet’s bier with flowers and lie down next to her. Tonight and every night.

Paris’ page is standing looking out he whistles when Romeo shows up with Balthazar with a shovel and a crowbar (who’s making all of these crowbars?). Romeo tells his friend that he’s just going in there to get some ring back that he needs and that he should scram and ignore anything that goes on in there.

Balthazar must be as creeped out about this as I am because he instead decides that he’ll hide out and spy on Romeo for a while.

Romeo cracks open the tomb and is about to enter when he is accosted by Paris. They fight. Romeo kills Paris. With his dying breath, Paris asks to laid out next to Juliet. Yeah, sure.

Hey Paris! Get a clue. Romeo and Juliet, not Paris and Juliet. (And definitely not Paris, Romeo and Juliet.)

Romeo enters the tomb and find Juliet lying there, lifeless. So he makes this massive death-bed speech and downs the super fast-acting poison.

…and then Friar Lawrence arrives.

Balthazar tells him Romeo’s been in there doing God knows what for about half an hour. Friar Lawrence notices the bloody swords and then Paris’ body.

…and then Juliet wakes up: “Hey, where’s Romeo?”

He’s kinda sorta dead.

Juliet’s not too excited at the prospect of living the rest of her life as a nun I guess so she grabs Romeo’s dagger, stabs herself and dies.

The watch finally arrives and takes everyone into custody while they wait for the prince to show up. When he does, Friar Lawrence spills the beans on the whole crazy plan.

Finally, the prince blames the Montague’s and Capulet’s feud for causing their children’s death. Overcome with grief, the Montagues and Capulets finally reconcile.

No one cares what happens to Paris.

We’re not quite done with Romeo and Juliet yet, though. We still have a speeches podcast coming up. If you have suggestions for which speeches you would like us to talk about, let us know in the comments below!

This week, another first-time sonneteer swings by as Kathleen “Momar” Rowe delivers Sonnet 55 with “Epic Diva” effect.

And hey. Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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BB: Romeo and Juliet, Act IV

2 Apr
Artwork - Leigh Macrae

Artwork – Leigh Macrae

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)

Welcome back Brawlers to Romeo and Juliet. This week, we take on act IV of R&J.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Well, despite the fact that we’ve already established that postponing the wedding of Juliet and Paris from Wednesday to Thursday was totally reasonable, by the start of act IV, Friar Lawrence just isn’t on board with that. Could he be right? Is that really too soon? Obviously, Friar Lawrence is really only worried about his hide: he can’t marry one girl to two guys. Well, not in this church at least.

On the other hand, maybe Paris is right: Tybalt was just a cousin. Pretty sure Emily Post’s wedding etiquette doesn’t even have an entry for the appropriate wait time in the event of a violent and non-accidental death of a (sort of) loved one. Just stick the mourning Juliet in a social event and we’ll peer pressure those tears right out of her.

Once Paris is shooed away, Juliet pulls a Romeo and breaks down but Friar Lawrence tell her that there’s still a slim chance for her and Romeo to be together forever. Small catch: she’ll have to kill herself.

Say what? That doesn’t seem very Christian!

Actually, she’ll have to take drink one of Friar Lawrence’s roofies sleeping potions which will make her seem dead for 48 hours. That will make her family bury her in the family crypt. Romeo will then swoop in, rescue her before she suffocates, and steal her away to Mantua while Juliet faking her death and Romeo killing Tybalt blows over. Shouldn’t take more than 2-3 weeks tops, right?

Looks like everything is good to go. Friar Lawrence just needs to let Romeo know about that plan and everything will turn out perfectly.

In scene 2, Lord Capulet is busy planning the wedding when Juliet walks in and seems suddenly and mysteriously zen about the whole marrying Paris thing. She just wants to make daddy happy. Nothing suspicious about any of this at all.

Juliet retires and asks the nurse to help her pick out a suitable wedding outfit. Once she’s picked out her outfit, she dismisses her nurse and lies down on the bed with Friar Lawrence’s elixir. Can she really trust that this potion will work properly? Will she ever wake up? Is this really going to work? Only one way to find out: down the hatch!

The following afternoon, preparations for the wedding are in full swing, and Paris is just about to show up for his big day! Time for Juliet to wake up!

Except she doesn’t.

The Nurse finds her lying dead in her bed in scene 5. Everybody files into the room: mom, dad, Paris and of course Friar Lawrence. The friar tries to calm everyone down. Creepy Paris still thinks this is about him somehow and asks to lie down next to her. Lord Capulet orders the food to be served as a funeral feast, the musicians are asked to play some sad music. They agree once they’re sure they’ll still get paid, and be allowed to stick around for the buffet.

I wonder if Friar Lawrence has any idea whether his potion worked or not. I also wonder how his archbishop would feel about all of this. And where the hell is Romeo and what has he been doing in the past few days? He wasn’t in this act at all!

Guess you’ll have to wait for act 5 to see if he got our text message /email/ Facebook invite / carrier pigeon / monk-o-gram.

Please Welcome our newest sonneteer to the brawl, the legendary lord of St. Leonard, Mark Della Posta reading sonnet 39.

Mark should not be confused, however, with the other legendary lord of St-Leonard, Roberto “The Manimal” Luongo.

The Manimal

The Manimal

And hey! Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

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Romeo + Juliet (1996), Baz Luhrmann

23 Mar

Miki Laval When I was 15, I knew exactly what loved looked like. Love was a slim blond boy with lanky legs, and hair I wanted to sweep back from the sides of his pretty face. He walked quickly and sat quickly. He came and left rooms quickly, every muscle always ready to go. To me, his speed was beauty and grace. Yet love was also languid and brooding, a poet, of course, who scribbled in a notebook between long stretches of staring into space while smoking a cigarette. In other words, this: Sigh… To a 15-year old girl, one still plastering her walls with rock star posters, love sure looks a lot like a young Leonardo DiCaprico. He’s my generation’s definition of a heartthrob, and so a delicious fit for the world’s most epic teenage love story. Yes, he’d already shown rare talent in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and The Basketball Diaries, yet he and co-star Claire Danes were essentially darlings from TV land back in 1996. Then Romeo + Juliet hit theatres, and both actors proved they had serious chops, capable of moving from puppy love to the grand passion all tragedy requires. So how did the duo handle the Elizabethan dialogue? Well, at the time, there was a lot of clamour from outraged purists, but I’ve re-watched the film twice in the past few days and the Bard’s iambic pentameter sounds pretty good to my ear. Or I’ll say this, though neither Danes or DiCaprio have perfect elocution, the words flow with an intensity and ardor you don’t learn in theatre school. Besides, the point of Romeo and Juliet (the play) is that the central characters are children, and what acting skills Leo and Claire bring to the film is all in their baby faces, their creamy skin, their youth, not in their tongues. Yes, they are that pretty. Just watch them steal looks at each other in the infamous fish tank scene. Forget Leo as Romeo. Isn’t Danes as Juliet melting loveliness? She clearly lusts for Romeo, yet despite what’s coming – a head spinning series of kisses that will leave her in a state of prickly heat – she keeps her wits about her. Later, the two swirl around each other from ballroom, to elevator, to balcony, to swimming pool, all the while bandying words back and forth with passion and spirit. Danes and DiCaprio understand that language is foreplay and an artful, erotic pleasure. To the naysayers who claim the dialogue isn’t up to snuff, I say these two make Shakespeare sound sexy. As for the film itself? There are throbs of neon in the night. Gobs of neon. Blazing fireworks explode across the black skies. There is all the razzle-dazzle, costumery, bubbles, bells and whistles anyone could dream of. Director Baz Luhrmann opens his film like the bullet-spraying master Tarantino; he choreographs the fight scenes as beautifully as John Woo, meanwhile, the frenzy of jump cuts make MTV (you remember MTV) seem like a stumble on Quaaludes. All this whirlwind action serves to convert the play’s intense emotions and language to vision. This is a play you see more than hear. And, boy, in the switch from the ear to the eye, does Luhrmann go wild with the modern images. Instead of gold, wads of cash are flaunted. Instead of swords, flashy semi-automatic pistols are drawn. Horses are doffed for retro convertibles that burn up the urban streets. It’s a nice touch too, having the two gang families dress in opposing “colours,” the Montagues favouring Hawaiian shirts, while the Capulets mobster up in dude suits. The film also features a gifted gaggle of players, most notably Harold Perrineau as a black gender-bending Mercutio, Pete Postlewaith as the splendid, scene-stealing Father Lawrence, and a corpolent Paul Sorvino who plays Juliet’s daddy like a bizarro wiseguy from Goodfellas. “Paulie may have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn’t have to move for anybody,” Henry Hill. Throw in some castles, some choppers, some bulletproof vests, and boom, Luhrmann shakes up a 400-year-old play without bowdlerizing or breaking its central and touching innocent idea. Which is what exactly? Only that love, sweet love, still blooms despite the violent world that usually steamrolls over it. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is nothing new, of course. Besides the innumerable theatrical productions, it’s been made over as a ballet, as well as a Broadway musical, and now there’s a new British film adaptation based on a Julien Fowles screenplay. To the latter, I say, Yea Gads! go rent Baz Lurhmannn’s rabidly flamboyant version instead. The fervour and grace of his Romeo and Juliet will have you free falling into the giddy, head-tripping, crush of epic love.

Romeo and Juliet, Act III

10 Mar

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)

Welcome back to the Bard Brawl! With the madness of the ‘Zounds! launch party behind us, we were finally able to get the crew together to record act III of Romeo and Juliet where no doubt nothing but steamy love-making scenes and happily-ever-afters await us!

Listen to or download the podcast or why not subscribe on iTunes.

Lots of action in this act and it starts right away with a confrontation between Mercutio and Tybalt in scene 1. Benvolio and Mercutio are hanging out in the sun when Benvolio suggests they should probably head inside to avoid the roving bands of wild Capulets which are wandering the streets. Before they can leave though, Tybalt shows up with ‘others’ and Tybalt tries to start some shit. Mercutio seems eager to go at it too but Benvolio tries to get them to either calm down or get out of the street so they don’t get caught fighting.

Eventually Romeo shows up and tries to break things up but Mercutio just thinks he’s being a pussy and ignores him. He draws his sword; Tybalt draws his. As they fight, Romeo steps in but Tybalt uses him as a screen, skewers Mercutio and splits. Mercutio tries to crack a few jokes about being stabbed and killed in a gang war, blames Romeo for getting in his way and says “a plague on both your houses” a few times before biting the bullet. Tybalt comes back (for some strange reason) and then Romeo kills him.

Oops.

Taking Benvolio’s advice, Romeo runs the hell away. Of course, as soon as he’s gone, Benvolio snitches to the Capulets, Montagues and the Prince. The prince is fed up and banishes Romeo. I would have just killed him and been done with it. I’m sure Juliet would have learned to love Paris, right?

Anyhow. Scene 2. Juliet’s waiting at home for her nurse to come back with the rest of the plan and a rope ladder for her to sneak off to marry Romeo. Eventually the nurse does come back with a ladder and some bad news. Something about Tybalt being dead. Also something important about Romeo… something about Tybalt… Romeo… Tybalt…

This goes on for a while until eventually she gets it out: Romeo killed Tybalt and has been banished. Juliet is worried she’ll die a virgin so she sends the nurse back out to fetch Romeo so he can collect his… goodbye kiss.

Since running away from the scene of the crime, Romeo’s been hiding out at Friar Laurence’s. He’s bitching and moaning about how banishment is worse than death, he’s dead without Juliet, how he wishes the prince had just killed him, yadda yadda angsty teenager stuff. Friar Lawrence talks some sense into him: ‘Hey pathetic excuse for a man (almost)! We’ll just come up with a plan to sneak her out of the city and you can still be together in Mantua until all of this blows over!” Yay!

So what’s this genius and totally fool-proof plan? Friar Lawrence says he’ll sort it out but, in the meantime, Romeo’s got some marital business to attend to in Juliet’s bed.

Even in the crazy world of R&J, death in the family means that weddings needs to be postponed. The wedding between Juliet and Paris which Lord Capulet and Paris are already planning out, and which was scheduled for the way-too-soon date of ‘this Wednesday,’ has been pushed back all the way to the much more socially respectable ‘this Thursday.’ It just seemed like the right thing to do. (It’s currently Monday morning.)

Seems like Shakespeare decided to cut out the explicit portion of this act (bummer) because when scene 5 opens, Romeo and Juliet have already consummated their marriage and are lying in bed doing what all young couples do after their first time: discussing ornithology. They’d love to lay there and talk about nightingales and larks all day (are these even indigenous to Italy?) but Lady Capulet comes knocking. Romeo sneaks out the window, educating young boys the world over in the proper behaviour after such a nocturnal encounter: “I’ll call you.”

Juliet isn’t convinced this is all going to work out.

Once the coast is clear, she lets her mother in. Lady Capulet first promises her that as soon as they find Romeo, they’ll kill him for Tybalt’s death which she is sure will make Juliet very happy. But not quite as happy as this next bit of news: Juliet’s going to get married to the amazingly wonderful and bland Paris who her parents totally approve of!

No way, mom and dad: I’m into bad boys!

Dad’s not too happy and basically tells her that she has two alluring options: either she can shut up and show up to marry Paris on Thursday or she can choose to be disowned by her father who would cast her out to starve in the streets.

What can she possibly do now? Run over to Friar Lawrence who’s probably had enough time to think of something by now.

While things are looking pretty grim right now, in an alternate universe where it’s always 1988, Romeo and Juliet had a daughter and this lovechild of a torrid night of passion produced this:

Here’s hoping you aren’t crying yourself to sleep each night to this song while thinking about the Romeo and Juliet who could have been but whose love was ruined by people with no appreciation for fedoras, round shades, trench coats, big hair and sand.

Next week: act IV!

And hey. Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

Stay in Touch Brawlers (and Wolfies, too)!

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‘Zounds! article in the Eastern Door

10 Mar brassknucklestshirt1.png

Check out the article in Kahnawake’s Eastern Door newspaper by J. David Bush on the Bard Brawl’s launch party for ‘Zounds! February 20.

The ‘Zounds! launch party, by J. David Bush

The Eastern Door; March 7, 2014

The Eastern Door; March 7, 2014

If you haven’t picked up your copy of ‘Zounds! yet… what are you waiting for?

Thanks again, Brawlers!

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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Bard Brawl on iTunes

9 Mar

Hey Brawlers!

Just a quick announcement today. Looks like the issue we were having with itunes (namely, that people were not able to download any Bard Brawl episodes after Pericles) seems to have been resolved!

This means you can (finally!) download our recordings of Timon of Athens and the first two acts of Romeo and Juliet!

Stay tuned for act III of Romeo and Juliet which should be up tomorrow afternoon.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of ‘Zounds! yet… what are you waiting for?

Thanks again, Brawlers!

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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The Changeling, by Middleton and Rowley, Directed by David Latham

27 Feb
The National Theatre School of Canada's 'The Changeling,' is playing from February 25th to March 1st, 2014, at the Monument National in Montreal.

The National Theatre School of Canada’s ‘The Changeling,’ is playing from February 25th to March 1st, 2014, at the Monument National in Montreal.

I can hear you now, Brawlers: “The Changeling isn’t a Shakespeare play! Some guys we’ve never even heard of called Middleton and Rowley wrote this one. WTF Bard Brawl?!”

I know. I’m breaking the rule, setting a dangerous precedent, using the might of the Bard Brawl to promote the works of what Daniel we call ‘lesser playwrights!’

But there’s a good reason for that, one I know you’ll understand: we’ve joined the Wolfpack!

Who? These guys?

Can you believe that, once upon a time, these guys were the hottest thing in wrestling?

Can you believe that, once upon a time, these guys were the hottest thing in wrestling?

No, not that Wolfpack, this Wolfpack: Montreal Wolfpack, #WolfMTL.

(They might want to consider this theme music though.)

What is Wolfpack Montreal? In their own words:

Welcome to the pack.

You are a creator.
You are in Montreal .
You are in training.

Wolf has been created to bring together studying Montreal artists from all programs. It is the creation of a pack. A network of artists to share, promote, collaborate and discover the work being created amongst us

We think that’s awesome, awesome enough to get Brawlers Miki Laval, “Mister” Nicholas MacMahon, Daniel J. Rowe and myself out to the premier of The Changeling, a play which isn’t even Shakespeare!

You can check out some great images (and get more information about the play) by checking out the National Theater School of Canada’s website.

Well, maybe there are some Shakespeare connections. Like the fact that he was contemporary of Shakespeare’s and the suggestions that he might have collaborated on a few of Shakespeare’s plays like Timon of Athens. (Heresy! The Bard works alone, inspired by his pure and unattainable muse and does not converse with hacks like Thomas Middleton and William Rowley.)

So, what is this play, anyhow? I’ll give you the Bard Brawl low-down. (So, if you don’t want to know what happens, skip this next bit.)

Beatrice is supposed to marry this nobleman Alonzo de Piracquo. Seems like a nice enough guy, mom certainly likes him (It’s actually dad – Vermandero – in the text). But while at church, Beatrice ran into this other guy, Alsemero, and they completely fall for one another. Totally screwed, right?

Well, turns out that mom has this really ugly servant, de Flores, who Beatrice despises but who is madly in love/lust with Beatrice and would pretty do anything to get with her. So ‘fair, virginal and noble’ Beatrice basically uses him to kill Alonzo de Piracquo. When she then offers to pay him a bunch of cash for the deed, they… work out another arrangement. Gross.

With Alonzo de Pracquo out of the picture, Alsemero and Beatrice are free to get married.

But now for the main event: the wedding night. All good, right? No, there’s a huge problem: Beatrice is no longer a virgin and it seems that Alsemero’s friend Jasperino knows she’s been sleeping with de Flores.

But wouldn’t you know it, Alsemero is actually some sort of alchemist and he has a potion which can allow him to know if a woman is a virgin: when she drinks, she yawns, then has a sneezing fit, then starts to laugh and finally gets depressed.

Luckily for her, Beatrice happens to learn about this beforehand so when he gives her the potion, she just acts her way through the different phases. A whole different meaning to ‘is she faking?’ He buys it for now but she’s afraid he’ll figure it out later so she offers Diaphanta, her waiting woman, a bunch of cash to wear a mask and sleep with her man on her wedding night. Also gross.

because they are afraid that Diaphanta might spill the beans, De Flores and Beatrice conspire to have her killed and set fire to her room. Bang. She gets shot by De Flores and her body burned. It looks like they’re going to get away with it but them Alsemero learns the truth about Alonzo’s death and the messed up shit that’s been going on.

There’s also a subplot where an old, jealous doctor, Dr. Alibius, marries this hot, young woman named Isabella and then keeps her locked away in his asylum where he thinks he won’t have to worry about her having any affairs. Of course, two enterprising young men poses as mental patients and get admitted into the asylum where they are free to try to pursue Isabella. Of course, the doctor has left his servant Lollio in charge of the place in his absence which kind of complicates things. So the two would-be suitors, Franciscus and Antonio, pretend to be nuts and Lillio toys with them, probably because he tries to get with Isabella who doesn’t want anything to do with him.

While all of this is going on, Tomazo, Alonzo de Piracquo’s sister (it’s a brother in the text), has been trying to get to the bottom of her brother’s death. Apparently, Franciscus and Antonio work for Vermandero and because they disappeared right when this business started, they become the two principal suspects.

Tomazo’s about to kill them when Alsemero shows up and explains the whole thing. As he does, Beatrice and de Flores kill themselves so their on their way to hell. Tomzao’s satisfied that justice has been served and, in the end, everybody basically admits that they’re lying, scumbag sinners.

You can also read about the play on Wikipedia. (Just don’t put that in your bibliography, kids!) Or, even better, why not read the damned thing yourself,here, for free? (No charge for the play, but consider buying a copy of ‘Zounds! as a thank you for saving you the legwork?)

We thought that the play was great! (For something which wasn’t The Bard, of course.) If you want to read a review of the play, you can check out what the Montreal Gazette has to say about it. (A good review, in my opinion.)

Here’s the takeaway. It’s $9 for an awesome show put on and acted by a hugely talented and driven group of young theater students who want to make English theater in Montreal a thing again! (You know the type: brilliant and creative young people who got to choose to take drama class instead of being forced into extra chemistry and physics classes in the final years of high school, a situation which is definitely made-up and which has never happened to one or more Bard Brawlers.)

The Changeling is playing until Saturday, March 1 at 3 p.m. at the Monument National, 1182 St-Laurent Blvd. You can get your tickets online at ent-nts.ca. If you are paranoid that theaters secretly use their websites to steal credit card information, you can all them instead at 514-871-2224.

Brawlers, Wolfies: go see this while you have the chance.

Stay in Touch Brawlers (and Wolfies, too)!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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Some Rounds With ‘Zounds!

19 Feb

Hey Brawlers!

Just wanted to take a minute to remind you that tomorrow night, February 20th, 8pm at Brutopia’s, is the launch party for the Bard Brawl’s first issue of our Shakespeare-inspired ‘Zounds! journal!

There will be door prizes, Bard Brawl shirts and copies of ‘Zounds for sale, and plenty of food and beer!

Feel free to drop by our Facebook event and let us know you’ll be there!

If you’ve been listening along to the show lately, and have been having a hard time getting into the play or wrapping your head around what the hell is actually going on inRomeo and Juliet, then Sparky Sweets, PhD‘s got your back!

Romeo and his homieos!

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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BB: Romeo and Juliet, Act II

16 Feb

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)

Welcome back to the Bard Brawl and act II of Romeo and Juliet. I hope your Valentine’s Day story worked out a little better than theirs. Although, really, I guess they did have a pretty bangin’ first date.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Like the first act, act II opens up with a Prologue. Don’t remember this prologue? That’s probably because no one stages it. And why would you? You just finished this blockbuster first act of death threats and teenage lovemaking and Shakespeare wants you to stop to listen to someone tell you about how they need to figure out a way to meet in secret.

Yeah, we figured that since their two families are at war, they might not be so keen to announce they started dating. Thankfully, Shakespeare seems to figure this out because that’s the last of the prologues for this play.

Mercutio and Benvolio spot Romeo sneaking out of Juliet’s house in scene 1 but they must not have realised who’s bedroom he’s sneaking off to because Mercutio tries to get his attention by invoking his ‘love,’ Rosaline. You’d almost get the impression this wasn’t the first time they spotted him sneaking into some girl’s bedroom in the middle of the night. Romeo clearly doesn’t want to be found out and they would much rather make fun of him behind his back so after doing that for a minute or two, they head home to bed.

So here’s the set-up for act II, scene 2, one of the most famous (and totally made up) love scenes in the world:

Having sneaked into the Capulet orchard by jumping the fence, Romeo makes his way to Juliet’s window, which is a little unsettling because he seems to know exactly where that is despite the fact that she lives in a huge estate. While he’s hiding in the bushes (trying to catch a glimpse of her undressing) Juliet walks out onto the balcony. Romeo goes on and on like he’s a hockey announcer providing some sort of play by play for some imagined audience.

Juliet, like Romeo, seems to have a habit of speaking her thoughts aloud which, in this case, happens to work in her favour because Romeo hears her and announces his presence. She’s a little creeped out that he’s here at first but after some blah blah back and forth they agree that the best course of action – and the thing they most want in the world – is to get married.

Tomorrow.

No problem. Romeo tells her to get in touch by 9am and he’ll have worked out a plan.

At the start of scene 3, Friar Laurence is quietly pruning his plants when Romeo barges in, out of breath and babbling on about how he’s in love and that he needs the Friar’s help. The friar’s a little surprised that Romeo so quickly forgot Rosaline, his one true love, and now wants to marry Juliet. He doesn’t seem to have much faith in Romeo’s constancy but he agrees to marry them only because he thinks that this might put an end to the Montague and Capulet feud.

Wait, what? Does he even realize what he’s saying? When has two people marrying ever made warring in-laws kiss and make up? Maybe it will work out this one and only time though.

Romeo’s friends Mercutio and Benvolio as hanging out in the street making fun of Romeo (again) and Tybalt when Romeo runs into them in scene 4. They mock him for ditching them last night and make a bunch of jokes involving penises such as: “then is my pump well flowered.” Juliet’s nurse arrives to meet with Romeo where they discuss the plan to sneak Juliet out of her house: she just needs to tell her folks that she’s stepping out for a quick confession at father Laurence’s. The Elizabethan equivalent of “I’m going to the library to study.” No mother or father would ever doubt that excuse. Brilliant!

Meanwhile, Juliet’s been waiting impatiently for her nurse (who is starting to come off as more of a pimp, really) to come back with news from Romeo. Back and forth between the two of them which seems designed to torture poor Juliet but eventually the nurse spills the beans: head to Friar Laurence’s place where he’ll marry you and you’ll finally get to have sex! And then you’ll get pregnant which is exactly what every 13-year-old wants, right?

In the final scene, Romeo is waiting for Juliet to show up. Friar Laurence tries to get him to chill out a bit, to slow this love train down a little, but when he sees Juliet, he seems ready to get on it himself. (He also wins the creepiest line of the play award for this gem: “Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.”)

Off they go to get married in secret, like two totally responsible adults who have carefully weighed the pros and cons of their decision and are in no way whatsoever rushing into the mistake of a lifetime.

Can we expect a honeymoon scene in act 3? I sure hope so!

And hey. Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

Enjoy sonnet 43 by the legend, David Kandestin.

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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‘Zounds! Launch Party!

13 Feb
[sennet trumpet within]

[sennet trumpet within]

That’s right, it’s party time!

‘Zounds! is on its way to the printers and just about to be unleashed onto its adoring and expectant public. That would be you, all of the wonderful and amazing people who helped make ‘Zounds! happen by donating to our IndieGoGo campaign, by submitting articles and artwork for the journal, or simply by being nice enough not to mock our epic nerdiness to our faces. (“No, babe. I do not bite my thumb at you but I do bite my thumb. But not at you. Really.”)

To thank every one – and because we feel strongly that Bard without Brawl is a sad affair – we’re throwing a launch party!

Come join us for an evening of Bard and Brews at Brutopia, on Thursday, February 20th, starting at 8pm!

Brutopia Brew Pub - 1219 rue Crescent, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2B1.

Brutopia Brew Pub – 1219 rue Crescent, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2B1.

For all of our faithful podcast listeners, now’s your chance to meet the people behind your favourite voices, such as servant number one, or second senator! And how often do you get to take over this amazing downstairs lounge space and pack it with awesome Shakespeare nerds?

A party space Falstaff would be proud to get drunk in!

A party space Falstaff would be proud to get drunk in!

Of course, we’ll have some copies of ‘Zounds! for sale as well as some other Bard Brawl loot which will no doubt make you the envy of all of your bardic brothers and sisters. There will also be plenty of beer on tap and even some door prizes!

While the journal will normally be selling for $12 an issue, copies will be available for only $10 at the launch party, so you won’t want to miss it.

Hope we’ll see you there!

Hey, while you’re at it, why not let us know you’re coming by visiting our ‘Zounds Launch party Facebook event?

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Or leave us a comment right here!

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