BB, The Comedy of Errors, Act V

23 Jul
The feature logo for The Comedy of Errors is brought to you by Mezari designer Stephanie E.M. Coleman. We think it’s pretty rad.

Bard Brawl co-creators Eric Jean and Daniel J. Rowe welcome you all to Act V of  The Comedy of ErrorsWe finally made it!

Listen to the Bard Brawl podcast.

 

Once again we are joined this week by our readers Gage K. Diabo and “The Golden Nugget,” Brooke W. Deer.

This is the final act of Comedy of Errors so, as one would expect, it’s time to untangle the mess of mistaken identities. So I guess that means that everyone will come together calmly around a table and compare notes so they can all have a good laugh about how they’ve been so confused for the past few days.

Except that’s not quite how it plays out because that would make too much sense and would clearly be the type of conclusion a lesser playwright might come up with.

Instead of this totally logical and amateurish ending, Shakespeare conjures up an abbess to step in and sort everything out. However, because that’s not quite enough of an impact, Shakespeare reveals that Aemelia is in fact the mother of the two Antipholi and the long-lost wife of Egeon.

I guess convents were basically just giant suspended animation chambers in the ancient world? Kinda.

Some people think that the Catholic elements that show up in Shakespeare’s plays reveal Shakespeare’s own secret Catholicism. Maybe, but probably not.

I just think that he liked the quasi-magical characteristics which Protestants often saw in Catholic ritual and dogma.

Basically, Catholicism just gives Shakespeare some extra dramatic tools. Like the idea of taking sanctuary in religious houses or being able to hide a mother/wife away in a convent for twenty years.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a bunch of religious or biblical elements to the play.

The abbess’ speech towards the end of the play seems to pretty clearly reference Jesus, the nativity and salvation.

Jesus was 33 years old when he we crucified. He then comes back to save humanity from the original sin, that “sympathized one day’s error” way back in the Garden of Eden. The abbess is a mother figure associated with the Virgin Mary.

Oh, and as a bit of a bonus: Ephesus was the city where the Council of Ephesus took place in the 5th century.Why might that be important? Well, that’s the big meeting where the church decided that the Nicene Creed would form the basis of orthodox Christian faith. Kind of a bog deal.

We might be wrong but Aemelia does save everyone in the play and sort of dispels the magic which seems to hang about Ephesus.

Here’s what we’re reading this week, if you want to follow along.

Act V, scene i (lines 29-112):Thou art a villain to impeach me thus” (Characters: merchant, Angelo, Antipholus of Ephesus, Antipholus of Syracuse, Dromio of Ephesus, Dromio of Syracuse, Adriana, Abbess Aemilia, Luciana)

Act V, scene i (lines 392-end of play): Renowned duke, vouchsafe to take the pains” (Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus, Antipholus of Syracuse, Dromio of Ephesus, Dromio of Syracuse, Abbess Aemilia, Solinus, Duke of Ephesus)

We’d love to hear what you think! Feel free to comment below!

 

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for the next bard Brawl play.

Oh, here’s the link to the Butcherette’s Facebook page. Hit her up for some fantastic cuts and charcuterie!

Stephanie E.M. Coleman, The Bard Brawl


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BB, The Comedy of Errors, Act IV

16 Jul

Stephanie E.M. Coleman, The Bard Brawl

The feature logo for The Comedy of Errors is brought to you by Mezari designer Stephanie E.M. Coleman. We think it’s pretty rad. Check out her event this Thursday in Montreal.

Bard Brawl co-creators Eric Jean and Daniel J. Rowe welcome you all to Act IV of  The Comedy of Errors

Listen to the Bard Brawl podcast.

 

Reading this week is Gage K. Diabo who is joined in the brawl by Brooke W. Deer, “The Golden Nugget.”

Let’s talk cash money..

The setting for the Comedy of Error – the city of Ephesus – was an ancient trading city whose power rested on the power of its merchant ships. In this way it’s pretty similar to England in the 17th century. It’s also very similar to some other Mediterranean settings like Venice where a certain merchant ends up indebted to Shylock for a pound of flesh.

Some of these mercantile themes crop up even in a early play like Comedy of Errors.

What’s the setup?

Egeon, father of Antipholus of Ephesus and Syracuse, was found trespassing in the city while searching for his lost son(s). The punishment for that crime is death. Egeon’s story moves the duke but he states that he cannot change the law. However, if Egeon can somehow find his son and come up with bail money then he can go free.

Antonio mentions basically the same thing  in Merchant of Venice but explains that the reason the duke cannot overrule the law when confronted by a sad story is that mercantile societies rely on the supposed impartiality of the rule of law:

The duke cannot deny the course of law.
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be denied,
Will much impeach the justice of his state,
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Consisteth of all nations. (Merchant of Venice, III, iii, 26-30)

Money keeps changing hands in other way during the play. There’s the whole plot around a gold chain. The merchant keeps asking the wrong Antipholus for cash, the chain is given to the wrong one. The goldsmith needs the payment because he owes money to the merchant who is about to set off for Persia. Seeing as Antipholus doesn’t seem willing to pay, the goldsmith tries to have him arrested for not paying his debts.

The idea of bonds is paramount. It<s not just a matter of keeping one’s word and being honest. It’s also a matter of being good for it, of paying up when the time comes.

Here’s what  we chose to read for you this week.

Act IV, scene i (lines 1-84):You know since Pentecost the sum is due

Act IV, scene iii (lines 1-67): “There’s not a man I meet but doth salute me

Let us know how we did!

Here’s a link to the CBC article discussed in the pod about Indigenous authors trumping the bard in one teacher’s classroom.

And here’s a link to the Wikipedia article for Aimé Césaire’s re-write of The Tempest. (There’s a link on the Wikipedia page to an English translation of the play.)

See you next time!

Brooke Deer (and sister Jessica), brawling Comedy of Errors.

 

 


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Bloomsday attempt no. 1

18 Jun

Daniel J. Rowe 

June 16, 1904, Dublin.

Perhaps the most famous day in literary history. It was the day many have followed who actually sat down, buckled in and read James Joyce’s Ulysses, cover-to-cover.

It is a monumental task, and one well worth trying.

We tried.

The brawlers, and a squirrel, attempted the feat this year. We started at 7 p.m. on the 16th, and really had no hope of getting all the way to Penelope. We made it to the end of Proteus.

We continued with Calypso the 17th in the AM, though we’re sure all the purists out there would be scowling through mouthfuls of kidney and other flesh of fowls and what not at us not following the Bloomsday rules.

The Jameson did help a little.

In the end, we did our best, and made it past Aeolus, and had a bunch of fun in the process. Eric was voted “Most likely to read about farts or dumps” and no reading should every be done without the musical accompaniment of Mr. Nick MacMahon.

Next year, we’ll go for the whole tome.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

‘Zounds! contributor and poet Ryan Buynak, Coyote Blood, also gave it a whirl, and gave us this reflection. Enjoy:

#ihaveabookboner

I read the first few pages and graves

of Ulysses today,

because it is June 16th, Bloomsday,

and because my friends

in Montreal and Berlin

and other places

are posting about it on Instagram,

so I feel the need to get it.

the action has me savvy,

especially after work

when I dig for the big copy

that I have had forever,

started and stopped,

given in to the prose

and given up on the poetry

of the piece of perfection.

this copy has been with me,

soaked in a tidal wave

on Fire Island that summer,

ripped by chicks that I have loaned it to,

and has seen bookshelves

in Florida, NYC, Montreal, Florida

and NYC, as well as

the backs of cars and the tops of bars.

this book by James

has given me whiskey,

nights, sexual candidates lost,

and tonight that is more recognizable

than the best commercials for soap

or broken noses and broken dreams.

Bard slapstick and K-town style

26 May

Kathleen Rowe

DSC_3530

The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare’s greatest physical farces, full of lively action, touching love stories, reconciled families and wonderful roles for both men and women.

It is also his earliest comedy.

The Shakespeare Kelowna production, which wraps Sunday, although starting slow and draggy gained energy and ended in a hilarious conclusion, which had the audience laughing and applauding.

Matt Gunn in his first acting role gave a strong performance as Antipholus of Ephesus, and he steals the show.

Craig Paynton and Alyosha Pushak are the Dromios, while Matt Gunn and Mike Minions are the Atipholi (plural of Antipholus) in Comedy of Errors. Catch it this weekend. (courtesy Shakespeare Kelowna)

*If you want to understand who everyone is in the play and wonder why there are two characters named Antipholus and two called Dromio, check out the Bard Brawl podcast on the same play.

Both of the Dromios (Craig Paynton & Alyosha Pushak) were fantastic with their over-the-top physical theatre and crazy antics giving the play the much-needed zaniness. They are the key comedic performances in the play and without a solid Dromio (or two), the play falls very flat.

Corrine J. Marks appeared late in the second act but gave a forceful portrayal as the Abbess Emelia and exuded confidence with her commanding presence. The Hallelujah Chorus was a nice touch too.

The decision from directorStephen Jefferys to use music by the Barenaked Ladies played throughout the play gave it the modern touch which was alright, but I was not too impressed with the slang and would have preferred they stick to the original language.

Mentioning Justin Trudeau?? Come on now!

I will miss the Shakespeare Kelowna offering in the vineyard in August but the RCA Mary Irwin Theatre is a cozy venue and brings the audience close to the action so you feel part of the play.

Check this one out anon.


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BB, The Comedy of Errors, Act III

9 May
The feature logo for The Comedy of Errors is brought to you by Mezari designer Stephanie E.M. Coleman. We think it’s pretty rad.

Welcome back Brawlers to Act III of  The Comedy of Errors

Listen to or download the bard brawl podcast of act III. New Soundcloud page here.

This week we talk proto-feminists, servitude and abuse. And yes, this is somehow still a comedy and this is all very funny, right?

First, we take a look at our twinned servants as they face off in a battle of words to gain access to Antipholus of Ephesus’ house. Dromio of Syracuse and his master are inside Antipholus of Ephesus’ house, but the rightful master has been locked outside while his wife thinks the wrong Antipholus is her husband.

Hilarious.

While this is happening, Antipholus of Syracuse is inside the house macking on ‘his’ wife’s sister, Luciana. She’s freaked out that he brother-in-law is creeping on her and keeps trying to get Antipholus of Syracuse to act like a proper husband. (In this case, like Antipholus of Ephesus.)

I guess it’s kind of reassuring to think that Antipholus of E. might be a pretty decent husband because Adriana deserves it. She and her sister certainly put up with a lot of crap throughout the play for the sake of these two Antipholuses. (Antipholii? Whatever.)

After being brushed off by Luciana, and being forced to play husband to Adriana, Antipholus of Syracuse again describes the city of Ephesus as some sort of dangerous magical place filled with witches and mermaids.

That’s some pretty strongly gendered language for a play in which two sets of men spend all of their time confusing the hell out of all the women around them.

So feel free to follow along!

Act III, i (31-85): “Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicel, Gillian, Ginn!”

Act III, ii (1-69): “And may it be that you have quite forgot”

Act III, ii (116-124): “There’s none but witches do inhabit here”

Have a listen and tell us what you think of our twinned twins! Tune in next week for Act IV!

 

 


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BB, The Comedy of Errors, Act II

30 Apr
The feature logo for The Comedy of Errors is brought to you by Mezari designer Stephanie E.M. Coleman. We think it’s pretty rad.

Bard Brawl co-creators Eric Jean and Daniel J. Rowe welcome you all to Act II of  The Comedy of Errors

Listen to the Bard Brawl Podcast here! or Here!

 

Hey, why doesn’t this play work in film? Something to do with sweat spray from slapping the Dromios?

I have no idea. But our very own Gage posits an answer to that question. You’ll need to listen to get the skinny.

If you want to read about a stage version that managed to really make this play work, check out this review.

This week, we read the following parts from act II:

Act II, i (14-43): “There’s none but asses will be bridled so.”

Act II, i (52-80): “Why, mistress, sure my master is horn-mad.

Act II, ii (82-123): “Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown”

Feel free to follow along and delicately correct our pronunciation while giving us slightly patronising smiles from behind your Complete Works.

Oh, and just look who showed up to read with us.

Joining the Bard Brawl as a reader today is Sabrina Daley.

Also along for the ride again is Gage K. Diabo.

Because we know you’re just too shy to ask but are dying to know, here’s a famous line from this act to memorize:

“How many fond fools serve mad jealousy” – Luciana.

You’re welcome. There may be a quiz in a few weeks. Just saying.

Here’s a link to Shakespeare Kelowna,  a company that will be putting on Comedy of Errors May 17-28. If you’re in the area, you should go check it out. If you know of any other companies staging Comedy of Errors, let us know. We’d love to get the work out!

Catch us next week as we continue to get lost in the side-streets of Ephesus with our Dromios and Antopholi! (Antipholuses? Whatever.)

Stephanie E.M. Coleman, The Bard Brawl


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BB, The Comedy of Errors, Act I

23 Apr
The feature logo for The Comedy of Errors is brought to you by Mezari designer Stephanie E.M. Coleman. We think it’s pretty rad.

Stephanie E.M. Coleman, The Bard Brawl

Welcome to Act I of  The Comedy of Errors brought to you by the Bard Brawl. And happy birthday, Will!

We think it’s your birthday, anyway. Although Google may disagree or else feels that you’re not important enough for a doodle this year. I mean, you were baptised on the 26th of April so April 23rd seems like good enough of a guess, right? It also happens to be the day you died on. Weird.

Well, we promised it, and at last we’ve delivered.

Nope, once again it’s not act V of Titus Andronicus, even though you promised you wouldn’t bring it up again.

It’s a brand new play with a brand new Bard Brawl format. Instead of reading out each act of the play in its entirety, we’ve picked out some of our favourite bits. Kind of like a sports highlight reel but unlike this shameful display, or this one, there are no losers and the commentators don’t speak in those awful sports jock radio voices.

In between these speeches, which will be read by a revolving cast of Brawlers, our Bardic talking heads will try to point out what we think is interesting, noteworthy or just plan awesome about each act.

So grab a listen, subscribe and tell us what you think as we go pound for pound with the birthday boy!

Download or listen to the podcast here or subscribe on iTunes.

 

Welcome reader Gage K. Diabo for the Comedy of Errors.


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Welcome to The Comedy of Errors

16 Apr
The feature logo for The Comedy of Errors is brought to you by Mezari designer Stephanie E.M. Coleman. We think it’s pretty rad.

Welcome Bard Brawlers. We are back and will release the first volume of our podcast next week. The play? The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s first comedy and in the running for least plausible plot of all time.

Before you join us in our new format podcast, which will be released next week, feel free to watch the BBC version of the play staring Who frontman Roger Daltrey. It’s pretty good. Here’s part one, with the others all on the site.

Actually, there’s not too much in terms of adaptations of this play especially in film. It is a decent play to see live however. I’ve seen it once at Bard on the Beach, as has A.D. Rowe, who caught the steam punk version, which he liked. It’s pretty funny.

Here’s Ms. Lane’s six-minute take on the plot.

That should give you a taste of the play, and we’ll be back in to rip out the first act with dramatic readings and all.

Talk to you then.

DJR.


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Let’s boldly go along with the bard

25 Mar

Daniel J. Rowe

It all began with a list after watching Star Trek Beyond, and the ensuing discussion that ended with, ‘oh yeah. Well how do you rank the films?

Here’s my list:

Yeah, that’s right. Nemesis is last. How dare they dispose of Lieutenant Commander Data in that way!
Anyway, my friend Tommy posted this picture while going over my list:
and then replied with:
Cue comments from every trekie, treker, and whatever the new-era trek nerds call themselves, and a whole bunch of eye rolls from those who didn’t spend their youths watching the NCC-1701-D fly through the galaxies.
Ok, so why are you telling me this Daniel?
Here’s why.
The ensuing long-winded discussion as to why each of us placed which movie where (Nemesis is the worst? You actually liked the Motion Picture? Stop being a hipster. You’re being the hipster), the question of Shakespeare arose.
Tommy, it seems, did not appreciate the amount of Shakespearean dialogue in the Undiscovered Country, while I thought it was what pushed it ahead of the hipster picks (i.e. The Wrath of Kahn and Search for Spock).
In addition to the ultra-cool post-Cold War allegory, presence of Iman (I mean come on!), and great pace of the movie, the Bard is what gives it some of its finest lines.
So without further ado, General Chang (Christopher Plummer):

Shivers. Check this movie out. It’s incredible.

Shakespeare has lent his ever-relevant voice to many Shakespeare episodes (some may or may not have grasped the actual context of the play, as Eric Jean will explain to you in gross detail), and it is the bard who infuses some of the joy of certain Star Trek episodes. Captain Picard (I would argue) is the best at dropping bard lines.

It’s kind of unavoidable as Star Trek, like Shakespeare, is interested in the human condition about all else, and it’s what makes both so timeless.

It answers the question, why do we keep watching Shakespeare plays? The same reason we keep watching Star Trek, because we are human. Just ask commander Data.

I end with an anecdote that proves this point.

I was watching S03E15 of TNG recently (Yesterday’s Enterprise), and got choked up. Why? I’ve seen it like 10 times. What is it that keeps me coming back and sitting in suspense as NCC-1701-C tries to make it through the temporal rift? Why does that short conversation between Tasha Yar (Oh Denise, why did you leave in the first place?) and Guinan (Whoopie’s finest hour) evoke such emotion?

If you can answer that for me, feel free to leave a comment.

Here’s a hint: it’s because I’m human (I think).

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We shall return

18 Jan

Daniel J. Rowe, Eric Jean

Greetings Bard Brawl Nation and a Happy New Year.

It has been some time since we came before you in print or podcast form to welcome you into the world of William Shakespeare, and all his wacky glory.

Rest assured, we have not forgotten you our beloved fellow lovers of the stage. We have, as happens in life, been busy with work and life and love and loss and labour and… you know… stuff, and have simply not had the time to check in, and criticize BBC versions of Shakespeare plays, muse on the meaning of Titus Andronicus or blab about why Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night’s Dream should be produced differently.

Spoiler: they’re both tragedies.

Eric, myself and the various other fellow brawlers will return in time with reviews, articles, and perhaps even a podcast or two to delight the many brawlers of the world.

 

We missed the hell out of you! And we hope maybe, just maybe, you thought about us once or twice while doing your stuff and thought: “I wish my Shakespeare buddies came back!”

And here we are at last!

We look forward to you and your friends joining our merry band, and thank you for your patience.

Sincerely.

Artwork - Leigh MacRae

Artwork – Leigh MacRae