The Mad King is here

15 May madking

Without further ado, we at the Bard Brawl bring you:

‘Zounds! Act I,scene iii – Mad King

(trumpets, flourish, colours, dogs barking)

Thank you to everyone who came out to the event at Brutopia Brewpub in Montreal last night. T’was a rad night of trivia and all around revelry.

Pick up a copy by clicking the button below or by contacting us if you are in the Montreal area via our Facebook page or at bardbrawl@gmail.com

Enjoy.

Click the button and let 'Zounds! be yours.

Click the button and let ‘Zounds! be yours.

Featuring the work of: James Olwell, Charis Amy, Laura MacDonald, Celeste LeeRachelle Hecht, Niki LambrosJesse Cardin, Leigh MacraeJenny DorozioRyan Buynak, Stephanie E.M. Coleman, Johnna Montour, Andre Simoneau and Mya Gosling.

'Zounds! Act I, scene iii; Mad King.

‘Zounds! Act I, scene iii; Mad King.

Edited by Daniel J. Rowe and Eric Jean.

Layout design by Stephanie E.M. Coleman

*Please allow two to four weeks for delivery.

Sorry Bill I just Don’t Get It!

11 May Troy Clements

Troy Clements

So I’m not sure about you guys but Shakespeare is F ing hard to understand right?! I mean I just can’t seem to get my head around some of it. Especially if you are a fella coming from the maritime provinces where ya got lots of different kinds of fish spears but no Shakespeares unless you’re just trying to get the fish off your spear. I suppose you could call that shake spear?

I mean com’on, did people really talk like this??

A man may, if he were of a fearful heart,
stagger in this attempt; for here we have no temple
but the wood, no assembly but horn-beasts. But what
though? Courage! As horns are odious, they are
necessary. It is said, ‘many a man knows no end of
his goods:’ right; many a man has good horns, and
knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of
his wife; ‘tis none of his own getting. Horns?
Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest deer
hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man
therefore blessed? No: as a walled town is more
worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a
married man more honourable than the bare brow of a
bachelor; and by how much defence is better than no
skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to want.

– As You Like It, Act3, Scene 3

Haha ahh insert WTF emoticon here…I mean, Christ, feels like I’m talking to Steven Hawking about the origin of the universe. Isn’t this stuff supposed to be about like love, lust and other normal people shit?

I mean I get it. Everybody likes to show off and use “smart words” but cut us some slack Bill: either ease back on the drugs or come down off your pedestal and drop the “smart words.”

We get it, you talk good!

So if you feel the same way as I do, but still wanna get to the most outta Shakespeare… fuck it, just cheat!

I found a simple audio book app that has many Shakespeare ditties.

There are a few that break down entire plays in 15min, written in a way even children can understand. Well, to be honest, its still a little complicated at times as it was written for children who lived in the early 1900’s…I guess kids were smarter then? Makes me wonder what happened to the baby boomers?

What did I learn from ole Nesbit’s approach that I didn’t learn from Eric Jean you ask?  An example would be from Two Gentleman of Verona, a play of platonic love and fidelity where the character Speed – who I really enjoy – says,

O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible,
As a nose on a man’s face, or a weathercock on a steeple!
My master sues to her, and she hath
taught her suitor,
He being her pupil, to become her tutor.
O excellent device! was there ever heard a better,
That my master, being scribe, to himself should write
the letter?

Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 1

This scene is about Silvia asking Valentine to write a sort of love letter to a friend of hers cause she doesn’t have time to do it herself.  But in truth she wants Valentine to actually write the letter to her…(big communication issues if you ask me).  Valentine, who is smitten with love and not thinking clearly, doesn’t pick up on her obvious nuances and writes some half-ass letter that falls short and Silvia kinda gets pissed off.  When Silvia leaves the room Speed pipes up, poking fun at Valentine, pointing out that she clearly wanted him to write the letter to her.

Nesbit doesn’t really explain the entire scene but does bring Speed’s lines down to earth a bit.  She references the weathercock on a steeple jab, meaning that its very obvious as to what Silvia is up too.  This is what made things clearer for me, allowing for the entire scene to make sense.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/audiobooks/id311507490?mt=8

Anyway…if you are looking for the easy way out check out the app Audiobooks and download Edith Nesbit’s Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare  (or buy the real, live printed book form. Remember those?) and if you still don’t understand…well, blame your parents.

BB: Titus Andronicus, Act III

9 May
Dad cuts off son's hand? Titus will cut off his own hand instead, thank you very much.

Dad cuts off son’s hand? Titus will cut off his own hand instead, thank you very much.

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

Welcome back Brawlers to the Bard Brawl! Apologies for the delay but we had some technical difficulties with scene 2 of our recording. It got cut off, just like Lavinia’s tongue and hands, and just like (spoiler) Titus’s right hand.

In the end, we wrangled up some designated hitters and powered on through to bring you act III of Titus Andronicus!

Listen to or download the podcast.


So act II happened.

Lavinia was raped and mutilated, Titus’s lemming sons Martius and Quintus have been framed by Aaron the Moor for it, and now Titus is begging the tribunes and senators not to put them both to death.

He’s begging his little heart out but they just pass him by and ignore him. He keeps pleading until his son Lucius shows up and points out that he’s standing on the street alone and no one’s there to here him beg for his sons’ lives. It’s not looking great.

Also, bad news: Lucius tried to rescue his brothers so now he’s been banished from Rome. More bad news: Titus sees Lavinia for the first time since Chiron and Demetrius raped her.

Thing’s aren’t exactly looking up for Titus but then Aaron shows up and tells Titus that if either Lucius, Marcus or Titus chops off their hand and sends it to the Emperor, that he’ll spare Titus’ sons.

Good deal, right?

The three of them argue about whose hand should be cut off but then Titus sends Lucius and Marcus off to get an axe to do the chopping and while they’re away, Titus has Aaron cut off his hand.

Why did Lucius and Marcus run off to get an axe? What the hell did Aaron use to cut off Titus’ hand? Come on, Shakespeare. You’re better than this!

Anyhow.

Lucius and Marcus come back and Aaron runs off to deliver the hand. And then a few minutes later, a messenger arrives carrying the heads of Martius and Quintus. Oh, and Titus’ bloody hand.

That didn’t go so well. Maybe cutting off your own hand wasn’t the smartest move, dude. Kind of like stabbing your son to death was not too bright.

Well, since Titus pretty much has nothing left to lose, it looks like it’s time for some epic level revenge!

For starters, Lucius flees Rome and plans to recruit an army of Goths to overthrow Saturninus and Tamora. (Not sure why they would want to join the fight with the son of the guy who stomped them into the ground and stole their queen from them, though. Guess when someone offers you a chance to sack Rome, you take it.)

Meanwhile, in scene II, Titus and Marcus plan out how to kill Aaron. Actually, Marcus mostly tries to do that while Titus spends a lot of time whining. Then Marcus kills a fly, a black fly (get it?), and it’s as if the idea of killing Aaron occurs to Titus for the first time.

Heck, if between the two of them they can kill one fly, then for sure they can take on the Emperor, Tamora, Aaron and their cronies. Makes perfect sense.

But before that vengeance goes down, time for dad to read depressing stories to his daughter in a closet, while young Lucius watches.

Yeah. that’s not creepy.

Stay tuned for the next scene, where I’m going to assume some more people die.

Also, welcome back to the pod the Bard Brawl’s original sonneteer Maya Pankalla with sonnet 63!


 

'Zounds!, Act I, ii

‘Zounds!, Act I, ii

 

 

Check out the rest of the amazing writers and artists in ‘Zounds! 

Buy Volume II NOW. Volume III coming soon. Very soon. Like, Thursday, May 14th soon.

 

 


 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!

A certain kind of madness

3 Apr Photo credit - Trudie Lee

Theatre Calgary’s production of King Lear was a good crazy.

Jennifer Dorozio

Flashes of lightening crack, thunder roars and a stumbling madman emerges from the backdrop.

His shirt is un-tucked, his hair is full of static but, most telling, is the wild spark that fills his eyes, and the angry pitch with which he yells heavenward.

So enters the mad King Lear to the bittersweet pleasure of a rapt Calgary theatre audience. What the actor, Benedict Campbell, has successfully done, is to make you want to admonish the foolish king, and give him a comforting pat on the shoulder at the same time.

The scene described is the first we see after the intermission of Theatre Calgary’s production of King Lear, directed by Dennis Garnhum which runs from March 10 until April 12.

Where the first half is full on Shakespearean plotting, dialogue and pensive monologues, the second is pure action and includes gouged eyeballs, a ranting half naked madman, and assorted “deserved” and “undeserved” deaths.

Photo credit - Trudie Lee

Photo credit – Trudie Lee

King Lear is one of the “famous” Shakespeare plays, which brings to life the tale of a King of Britain’s descent into madness, and then his journey out of it, which ends in tragedy, great loss and ultimately his death.

Intrigue abounds as brothers clash, and sisters with sharp tongues and nasty streaks are backed into corners as Lear’s kingdom is divvied up among the royal family.

The play centres on Lear and his three daughters, Goneril (Colleen Wheeler), Regan (Jennifer Lines) and Cordelia (Andrea Rankin). The aged king loves his youngest the best (hey! I’m the youngest and best too), and this leads to complications, especially after his own self-serving game of ‘how much do you love me?’ causes him to banish Cordelia. The vultures in the royal family, who try to wrest away power from his feeble hands, then betray the proud Lear.

Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend,

Lear, I,i

The characters themselves feature some quirky and brooding additions in their mix. One in particular stands out among the rest: the fool, who is King Lear’s Court Jester, played by Bard on the Beach regular Scott Bellis.

*Garnhum’s Lear will follow at Bard on the Beach’s summer playbill.

The fool, imbues some much-needed levity into the first act. Wearing a coxcomb on his head, he spends a majority of his stage time leaping from place to place. Curiously, his mad interpretation of Lear’s confused reality does lend a bizarre sort of clarity to the king’s situation.

This is exemplified when the fool eerily jests to King Lear, “This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen,” foreshadowing all the cacophonous events to come.

Heartbreaking is the excellent performance of the Earl of Gloucester, played by David Marr, who is the play’s one paternal character you can’t help but feel badly for as misfortune after misfortune befalls him.

Then there’s the scene that sticks out because of its unnecessary gore. Gloucester’s eyeballs are in stomach-churning fashion carved out his head and at one point even trodden upon. It did little to add to the production other then induce cringes and distraction at all the fake blood for a full two minutes afterward.

Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now?

Cornwall, III, vii

Tyrell Crews performance of Edmund, the crafty bastard son of the Gloucester, is charmingly sinister. He plots for revenge by promoting multiple sibling entanglements making him both convincing as a villain, and likable.

While actor Andrea Rankin, as the young Cordelia, does play the doe-eyed daughter well, there is something a little grating about her over the top sweetness that came off as insincerity near the end. It seemed as though her tone and countenance changed little whether responding to a marriage proposal or being angry at her father’s mistreatment.

The Shakespearean world of King Lear, so artfully woven by the troupe of Theatre Calgary actors, doesn’t seem very far off from our own world, which is perhaps why the play still feels so relevant. These themes of undying devotion, betrayal and greed still saturate news media, television and movies because they are reflections of human reality and frailty.

Getting through the more slow-paced first half is well worth the wait. The explosion of passion, blood and revenge in the second half leaves you completely sated in a way only an excellent acting troupe and script can do.

Here’s a scene.

Waving the boat of gender constructs goodbye courtesy of Shakespeare

19 Mar Troy Clements

Troy Clements

So I grew up in a very rural area of Prince Edward Island, Canada. And when I say rural I mean friggin rural! With a population of 75 people in my village (well it’s actually defined as an unincorporated area, but village is just easier to say), it gives you an idea of what I mean when I say small.

Not like… “Hey I’m from a rural place too” “oh yah, where’s that” I ask…”oh just outside of Kingston, Ontario.” Yah buddy that’s not what I mean by small…small like, shooting rats at the dump with your dad’s 22cal riffle. Or waking up at the crack of dawn to head to the wharf on setting day, sending the lobster fisherman off with a friendly wave…

There ain’t nothing like waving at boats!

I made the big move in 2010. Not the one where you go to Alberta and make lotsa money in the oil biz so you can buy a big truck, the one where you move to Montreal and make no money but yet discover a bit more of yourself.

When I arrived I realized Montreal has lotsa boats leaving the harbour, but nobody really finds waving at them as fun for some reason. And there are rats but they won’t let ya shoot em’….even if your gun is registered…go figure eh?  So as you can imagin’ my horizons were broadening quickly. One example would be Bard Brawl.

Back home you would never have an opportunity to join a group that got together once a week, had a couple of beers and read Shakespeare…and out loud, like in front of people, not just by yourself hiding in your room in fear of being seen as something different. I mean we would brawl back home, but it usually involved more than a couple of beers and few broken noses in the end.   So yah, Montreal…here I am, discovering something new everyday.

So now that you have an idea of where I came from and who I am, I will get to the point…I found an episode of CBC Ideas, “Not With the Eyes,” that struck a chord with me. It was about gender identity as it is in our contemporary culture compared to how it was when Shakespeare was observing and writing about his time.

Being from where I’m from I was always pushed to be male, to be a man. Like be a man…suck it up, you shouldn’t respond that way to a given situation, you should respond this way because…”you’re a man!” And I mean I followed that. I didn’t push back or anything, I really thought that’s how it was.

Don’t get me wrong. Despite where I grew up, I was a little bit more open-minded than others in the community. I accepted anyone who identified as gay or transgendered for example, but I never thought about where I was in that spectrum, and this episode of Ideas really allowed room for me to question my gender. Not my sexual identity but my gender.

You know like…what is gender really?

I mean physically there is a difference but how one perceives oneself is not so obvious. For example, as mentioned in the episode, race was a created construct. Sure we have similarities to a certain group in comparison to others but nowadays, for the most part, race is slowly ceasing to exist.

We don’t see one race compared to another as much any more. There are still differences but we are realizing more and more that we are all just Homo sapiens, and we are getting away from separation of people because their skin is a different colour or because they cook with different spices. And so like race, gender (when looked at in a certain light) was a created construct as well… and one that is slowly moving away from a “you’re a man” and “you’re a woman” type thing.

When we truly ask ourselves who we are, it’s not easy to say. Like personally, I have been questioning if I am male or female…or if either really exist. And I tell you what…it feels so liberating to question that.

Especially coming from rural PEI. Let’s talk about washer tossing some time.

So does gender exist and how did it exist when ole Shakespeare was writing? I mean when you read between the lines Shakespeare was writing about what he seen among the population, usually the upper class of citizens, and poking fun or at least making a comment about how people perceived themselves and the world around them. And so, as mentioned in the broadcast…in his plays he had men playing women roles/parts and these women would then dress up as a young boys. In turn you would have male characters in the play attracted to these ‘young boys’ who were actually women who just looked like young boys. So you have a sort of taboo issue being discussed through a form entertainment.

That’s crucial. As long as it is in some form of theatre, poetry, song writing, etc., one is less likely to get his or her head cut off for it. Sorry Patricia Jannuzzi but Facebook doesn’t cut it!

Helena (in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, adds this nerdy editor) says, “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,” and so the question is what are the eyes actually seeing? If you fall in love with the mind, what are the male characters physically seeing in these women who resemble young boys?

When we discuss a similar situation nowadays we see the same thing more or less. We have people who consider themselves sapiosexual.

sapiosexual: (adj) a form of sexual orientation characterized by a strong attraction to intelligence in others, often regardless of gender and/or conventional attractiveness.

So once again falling in love through the mind.

This still leaves the question, what is it that the eyes actually see then?

And so this speaks to the fluidity of gender and sexuality, that nothing is fixed, that there can be many forms of gender and many forms of attractiveness toward that gender and that they are in a constant state of change and flux. And this fluidity is part of a continuum that exists where people exist, that it’s not just fixed to one time or another.

Shakespeare saw it and now we see it. It will evolve but I’m not sure if we will ever know what the eyes actually see.


 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Troy’s essay is in response to the program “Not With The Eyes” produced for the CBC program Ideas. The link is here:

http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?clipId=2648111044

BB: Titus Andronicus, Act II

15 Mar

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

Welcome back Brawlers to the Bard Brawl’s eleventh and bloodiest play, Titus Andronicus.

Listen to or download the podcast.

 

He makes fun, but we all know Eric will be the next great mustachioed brawler.

 


There are already a couple of people dead after act I but that’s nothing compared to what happens to Lavinia in act II.

If you’re trying to impress a girl by taking her out to some Shakespeare to show her your cultured and refined sensibilities, you may want to pass on Titus Andronicus. Not my recommendation as a first date play.

She may get the wrong idea is all I’m saying. (I’m also saying that this play is fucked up.)

In scene 1 we meet “Empress” Tamora’s boy toy, Aaron the Moor. He’s pretty excited that Tamora’s slept her way to the top and he imagines that this means his mistress has just graduated to sugar mommy. He’s pretty pumped about that but when Tamora’s sons Chiron and Demetrius start fighting about a girl, he gets worried that they’re about the mess it up for everyone.

Aaron breaks up their fight but when he finds out that the girl they’re both fighting over is Titus’ daughter Lavinia, he sees a way to strike at Titus. So he suggests that instead of fighting over her, they should team up and just rape her in the woods.

As this seems like such a well-reasoned and logical solutions, they sheath their weapons and head off. Mommy will be so proud. (No, really. She will.)

Anyhow.

Everyone is gathered in the forest about to go hunting in scene 2 but Lavinia decides she’ll stay behind and chill. Coincidentally, so do Demetrius and Chiron, probably the most despicable characters in Shakespeare.

While her new husband is off with Titus hunting, Tamora finds a little alone time with Aaron. But he’s not really interested because he’s too preoccupied with his plans for vengeance! (Wait. What did anyone actually do to Aaron? Did I miss something?) He hears Bassianus and Lavinia approach so he tells Tamora to pick a fight while he gets her sons to back her up.

The Empress accuses Bassianus of following her, Lavinia calls her a slut, and Bassianus says he’ll rat her out. Enter Demetrius and Chiron who stab and kill Bassianus.

This makes mom very happy, but not as happy as the idea of her sons raping Lavinia.

Lavinia tries to appeal to Tamora to make them stop but she just tells her sons to make sure that once they’re done, they make sure “this prostitute” can’t tell anyone about what they did to her. Demetius and Chiron throw Bassianus’s body into a pit and drag Lavinia off.

What the hell, Shakespeare?

Just then, Aaron leads Titus’ sons Martius and Quintus to the open pit, where one of them falls in, completely by accident (really?), and identifies the body in the pit as Bassianus. Vertigo, or idiocy, must run in the family as the other brother falls in while trying to help the first one out. By the time Aaron returns with the hunting party, they’re both stuck down there with the body, probably covered in Bassianus’ blood, and not worried in the least.

Of course, Saturninus sentences them both to death for killing his brother, but Titus begs him to spare his sons until they can be proven guilty. Too bad Tamora brings out a fake letter implicating Quintus and Martius in the killing of Bassianus.

But no worries. Tamora tell Titus that she’s got his back and she’ll think of something to help him. And off goes Titus with his only remaining son, Lucius. [Cue evil laugh.]

While that has been going on, Demetrius and Chiron have been busy. Once they finish raping Lavinia, they decide that they won’t kill her. Instead, they cut out her tongue so she couldn’t tell anyone about what happened. And just to be sure, they cut off her hands too, to make sure she can’t write about it either… nor get a rope to hang herself.

So yeah. That happened.

Finally, Lavinia is found by her uncle Marcus who can’t believe that someone did this crazy, fucked up shit to her.

Call it a hunch, but my guess is there’s some bad shit around the corner waiting for Tamora, Demetrius and Chiron. And as yesterday was pi day, probably some pie.

You won’t want to miss any of it.

Kayla Cross returns to the brawl and reads sonnet 54 with all pomp and dignity.


 

'Zounds!, Act I, ii

‘Zounds!, Act I, ii

 

 

Check out the rest of the amazing writers and artists in ‘Zounds! 

Buy Volume II NOW.

 

 


 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!

Herding Mad Monarchs

9 Mar
Looks like a CCCCEO to me!

Looks like a CCCCEO to me!

Hey Brawlers!

Co-captain and CCCCEO Eric with a quick update. So I got my hair cut about a week ago. I think it looks really nice!

But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about today!

No!

As important as this may be, we have even more important news!

That’s right. Amidst weddings and art shows in Boston (congratulations to Brawler Stephanie EM Coleman!), work continues on ‘Zounds! We’re hard at work prepping those mad monarchs for publication!

But until it launches, click on the link for the exhibit she’s a part of at the Nave Gallery, and if you’re in Boston, go check out the show before March 28th! (That’s ‘Nave,’ not ‘knave,‘ Brawlers.)

And don’t fret! We gathered up the brawlers and recorded act II of Titus Andronicus for you. We’ll get that edited, commented and up for you ASAP so you’ll finally have that to listen to on your commute to your moonlighting gig as a part-time Fool.

Brawl on, Brawlers!


'Zounds!, Act I, ii

‘Zounds!, Act I, ii

 

 

Check out the rest of the amazing writers and artists in ‘Zounds! 

Buy Volume II NOW.

 

 


 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!

Titus & Tamora (simply put: wrath)

15 Feb 'Zounds! Act I, scene ii, available now at fine Montreal book stores.

The third instalment of ‘Zounds! is coming. The Mad King is destined to be amazing with some great submissions already in. If you would like to be a part of the epic journey along with the Bard Brawlers, click here and check out the submission guidelines. Better yet, buy a previous edition and get the idea of what ‘Zounds! is all about.

Here is an poem from ‘Zounds! Act I, scene ii: T by poet, singer/songwriter, playwrite and overall good guy Andre Simoneau. Enjoy.


Titus & Tamora

(simply put: wrath)

Andre Simoneau

Listen to or download a dramatic reading by Andre.

1.

look:

here is the shape of a tragedy

a violence forged twixt two pillars

two parents

warmother and warfather

queen, general

opposite progenitors of a wrathful legacy

a bloodline most cold

here is a lesson in shape of a massacre:

vengeance begets vengeance

sin sin

and wrath paid is repaid hundredfold

until all this your world is burned flat

in all white raging fire

all burning

all: wrath

2.

look:

enter Andronicus in shape of hero

Tamora shape of slave

bound and kneeling

made to pray for her life’s life

her eldest Alabrus

now see your hero’s slaying pride

his devotion to the form of victory

see the cost of it:

how quickly his stony countenance crumbles to marble dust

leaving naught but a silent taut thread of grief

drawing on to a snap

a sudden hot shock of recognition:

Titus you fool, you lost tragic tool, it was you

and all the wailing in the world

can only be now but a pale shadow of the true torment

in this Roman father’s warring chest

3.

look:

enter Aaron

with a flourish of pure malice

a villain beyond understanding

see the gleeful depravity

with which he schemes

see a murder of shade stretching out long beneath a copse of trees at day’s end

in a darkened wood

on the king’s hunting grounds

and ask:

what is a corpse in a hole?

4.

ask:

what are hands?

tongues?

what is rape?

witness vile Chiron, hateful Demetrius

these feral prowling sons

these cackling Gothic brothers

and ask:

how does this happen?

what evil is this?

what terrible hunger is it that leads beasts to sever youth

from herself?

and where is that burning brink of mind beyond which reason is annihilated

finally, irrevocably?

and just how much of a person may be excised in basest surgery

before they become more lack than presence?

ask:

what is it to touch?

to speak?

to taste?

what is the weight of evil?

what is the worth of life?

5.

look:

see these shapes of violence played out in grotesque dumbshow

by this maimed daughter, haunted Lavinia

and ask:

what is a mouth full of shade?

see her father’s fury in all its pathetic contortions

all its Roman spectacle

see him drunk on wrath’s hateful liquor

and hungry to feed his heart’s despised enemies

on all the roiling gore that stews inside his own gut

his hangman’s knot of twisted entrails

now see the ugliness of the wrathsnake feasting on itself

this is a warning in shape of the blade that

kills Tamora

kills Titus

6.

look:

the shape of revenge is recursion

the shape of revenge is recursion

the shape of revenge is recursion

Poet, singer/songwriter, playwrite and overall good guy Andre Simoneau at the mic.

Poet, singer/songwriter, playwrite and overall good guy Andre Simoneau at the mic.

'Zounds!, Act I, ii

‘Zounds!, Act I, ii


Check out the rest of the amazing writers and artists in ‘Zounds! 

Buy Volume II NOW.


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!


BB: Titus Andronicus, Act I

8 Feb Act I, scene ii; T
Yum! Pie!

Yum! Pie!

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

Welcome back Brawlers to the Bard Brawl! I promised you blood so here it is: the Bard Brawl’s eleventh play is Titus Andronicus. Heads will roll, blood will flow and folks will be baked into a pie.

It’s going to be an awesome, late Roman bloodbath.

Listen to or download the podcast.


This play is an early one, probably the first tragedy which Shakespeare wrote, and in some ways it’s kind of a hot mess (pun intended) with the story serving only as an excuse for violence, sex and gore. Think Evil Dead II but with Romans. Or, you know, HBO’s Rome.

Even though it’s the earliest of Shakespeare’s Roman plays, it actually is the one which takes places the latest in Rome’s history. It’s set late in Rome’s history, about a century before the fall of Rome.

Only one scene in act I but it’s a little tough to follow because so much stuff happens that you don’t have time to understand what the hell is going on or why the heck we should care. (My money is that if Shakespeare had a do-over, this would be broken up into several scenes over 2 acts or so so we’d really get the full effect. Or he might mash it up with other historical periods like Julie Taymor did in her cleverly titled film, Titus. Whatever.)

In any event, here goes.

The Emperor just croaked so naturally his two sons Saturnius and Bassianus are trying to get the support of the masses to take over the job. Things look lie they’re about to get ugly but Titus Andronicus shows with his war prisoners in tow. Titus Andronicus is a badass general whose just finished kicking the crap out of the Goths with his sons but unfortunately he lost one of his sons during the campaign. They’ve brought his body home to be buried in the family’s ancestral crypt.

To fend off any angry ghosts which they might awaken by opening up the crypt (as anyone knows), they’ll need to sacrifice the most important prisoner they’ve captured which in this case happens to be Alarbus, the Queen of the Goths’ eldest son. Tamora (that’s the queen) asks Titus to spare her son but he tosses him over to his sons Lucius, Quintus, Martius and Mutius who drag him off-stage to chop him up and throw him on the sacrificial pyre

Titus is about to lower the coffin down when Lavinia, the tribunes, Saturnius and Bassianus show up. Marcus Andronicus (a tribune who happens to be Titus’ brother) suggests that instead of either Bassianus or Saturnius getting the crown, Titus should get it.

Shit’s about to go down again between Bassianus and Saturninus’s supporters but Titus refuses the crown and, seeing as he’s the most popular guy in Rome right now, he names Saturninus Emperor with the support of pretty much everyone.

First order of business for a new Emperor of course is to pick out a wife so he picks out Lavinia. Titus’ daughter. And as soon as that’s agreed, Saturninus turns around and puts the moves on Tamora. But no one really notices what’s going on apparently because Bassianus is busy telling Titus that ‘he loves her more’ and the Emperor should’t have her.

Titus’ sons back Bassianus and while trying to stop them from running off with Lavinia, Titus stabs and kills his son Mutius. And instead of backing Titus, Saturninus turns on him, insults his family and accuses them of having publicly insulted him because they wouldn’t make Lavinia stick around and marry him. (Nevermind the fact that he’s probably got a hand up Tamora’s shirt the whole time.)

But hey, since he’s been dissed, he figures he may as well hook up with Tamora on the up-and-up.

So everyone leaves for a bit and Titus is standing there with another dead son at his feet but he’s so pissed at this one that he refuses to bury him in the family plot. His sons and brother plead with him and he eventually agrees to let them bury him.

Oh, but the scene isn’t finished yet! Nope.

At this point, everyone comes back on-stage: Saturninus, Bassianus, Lavinia, Tamora and her sons Demetrius and Chiron, some Moorish guy named Aaron who hasn’t said a word and ‘others.’ Seems that Bassianus will get his Lavinia in the end but Saturninus isn’t too happy about it, and neither is Titus. Tamora finally speaks up and backs Titus, though she whispers to Saturninus that’s she’s just being politically savvy. Titus is still too popular with the people to mess with and he’s been Emperor for about 5 minutes so he should probably take it easy.

So Tamora convinces everyone to kiss and make up and Saturninus invites Bassianus and Lavinia to get married on the same day they do. (Must be so they can save money on catering.)

In case you need a little help with the characters, here are the most important ones:

  • Titus Andronicus: A general who kill his son in a fight over who his daughter Lavinia will marry.
  • Lucius, Quintus, Martius: Titus’ sons (the ones who aren’t dead by the end of act 1 anyhow)
  • Livinia: Titus’ daughter. She must be the only good-looking woman in Rome because just about evety guy in the play want to get with her. She wants to marry Bassianus.
  • Saturninus: The emperor who was rejected by Lavinia. Hates Titus and his sons for helping her get out of marrying him..
  • Tamora: Was the Queen of the Goths, now she’s Saturninus’ wife. Good for her.
  • Demetrius and Chiron: Tamora’s sons. Yup, they have it bad for Lavinia too.
  • Bassianus: Saturninus’ brother who wants to marry Lavinia.
  • Aaron: Tamora’s “friend with benefits.” He’s not too happy about the new arrangement. You’ll see.

So the next scene will be a happy wedding scene, right? With meat pies for all, I hope so.

This week, the lord of St. Leonard Mark Della Posta returns with acclaim to read sonnet 41.


 

'Zounds!, Act I, ii

‘Zounds!, Act I, ii

 

 

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BB: Sonnets 30-35

26 Jan Artwork - Leigh MacRae
Artwork - Stephanie E.M. Coleman

Artwork – Stephanie E.M. Coleman

Welcome Brawlers (finally!) to another episode of the Bard Brawl!

So every so often, do you get that experience where you keep looking at a word which is spelt correctly but you’re just convinced that some letters are missing?

Yeah, that word today is sonnet. No idea what letters might be missing but it still seems… off.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that all of these sonnets have been recorded by male sonnetteers so maybe that’s what’s throwing me off this episode. However, I promise that you won’t be disappointed by our readers.

Enjoy the latest sonnets podcast, au masculin!


Listen to or download the podcast.


Sonnet 30 (Episode: Pericles, Act I; Read by: Eric Fortin)

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.

Argument: So, when I’m thinking about all the things I used to have but have any more, I feel about as crappy as I did when I first lost them. That makes me cry my eyes out about my dead friends and my worse breakups while I go through all of the worst moments of my life all over again. But if I think about you, then all that goes away and I feel awesome.

 

Sonnet 31 (Episode: King Lear, Speeches; Read by: Jack Konorska)

Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
Which I by lacking have supposed dead;
And there reigns Love, and all Love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stol’n from mine eye,
As interest of the dead, which now appear
But things removed that hidden in thee lie!
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give,
That due of many now is thine alone:
Their images I loved, I view in thee,
And thou (all they) hast all the all of me.

Argument: Check this out. All those people who I thought were gone forever, well it turns out that I can kind of see them all when I look at you. Cool, right? Like, I totally thought I would never see any of them again but when I look at you it’s like – Bam! – they’re right there! So no more visiting each grave one at a time because you’re like a whole cemetery.

 

Sonnet 32 (Episode: Richard II, Act II; Read by: Jack Konorska)

If thou survive my well-contented day,
When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bett’ring of the time,
And though they be outstripped by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O! then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:
‘Had my friend’s Muse grown with this growing age,
A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
To march in ranks of better equipage:
But since he died and poets better prove,
Theirs for their style I’ll read, his for his love’.

Argument: If I die before you, and you just happen to come across my poems – entirely by accident, of course – can you please hold on to them and not recycle them. I know that these poems kinda suck so don’t keep them around because you like them but because you loved me. Oh, and can you please go around telling everyone: “Yeah, modern poetry is better but, you know, he wrote these for me so that’s pretty awesome.” (And maybe a little creepy.)

 

Sonnet 33 (Episode: Timon of Athens, Act IV; Read by: David Kandestin)

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

Argument: Man, I’ve seen the sunrise make the world look and feel golden so many times only to let itself get covered up by rude-ass clouds. You did that to me once, when you looked at me. It felt pretty amazing to know you were looking at me. But yeah, that didn’t last too long though. I’m not mad though, bro. If the sun can paint the sky red, why should I be mad that you sort of stab my heart like that?

 

Sonnet 34 (Episode: Twelfth Night, Speeches; Read by: “First” Jay Reid)

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
‘Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak,
That heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.

Argument: Why the hell did you tell me to leave my jacket at home when you knew it was going to rain? And then you rub it in my face by posting my picture on Facebook, too? You might have apologized but I’m still soaked. WTF? Oh… no. Stop. Please don’t cry. I didn’t mean… just… (sigh) It’s fine. Just forget I said anything. Don’t worry about it.

 

Sonnet 35 (Episode: Pericles, Act IV; Read by: Andre Simoneau)

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud:
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense,
Thy adverse party is thy advocate,
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence:
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
That I an accessary needs must be,
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.

Argument: Seriously,.don’t worry about it. You made a mistake, you’re only human. I guess. I mean, I just can’t stay mad at you, no matter how hard I try. Even when you mess up big. It’s messed up but I guess it’s just my lot in life to stick up for you, even if it means that I take your side over mine in every argument.

What’s coming up next on the Bard Brawl? Blood, and lots of it. Stay tuned!

If you like sonnets, or the Bard, or the Bard Brawlers, or cats, or Batman, or hockey, or poems, or artwork, or Game of Thrones, or Star Wars, or anything else you can think of, why not pick up a copy of the first edition of ‘Zounds!, a Bard Brawl Journal.

'Zounds!, Act I,i

‘Zounds!, Act I,i

Winter, 2014: ‘Zounds! Act I,scene i – One to Seventeen –

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