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!
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.
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.
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
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?)
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.
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!
‘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!
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?
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.
Yes Brawlers. We haven’t been keeping up with the Brawl of late but there’s a good reason for that:
we’re hard at work putting the finishing touches on the first ever issue of ‘Zounds!!
We’ve just finished corralling and editing all of the submissions and are polishing off our mise en page and design before everything gets sent off to the printer’s. Any day now we can start shipping these babies out to you! (Babies are figurative, shipping is literal.)
We will get back to our recording in the very near future but in the meantime, here’s a little something to tide you over and – for no reason whatsoever – put you in the mood for implausible romance stories. Funny stuff and not a bad cure for the mid-January blues, either.
Welcome Brawlers to our first podcast of 2014 and the start of our third year of doing the show!
How awesome is that? Very.
We’re ready to help you out with your New Year’s resolution to increase your bardic intake! To start the year off right, today we’re sending a recording your way of sonnets 24 through 29, read by some of our amazing Sonnetters.
Mine eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,
And perspective it is the painter’s art.
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictured lies;
Which in my bosom’s shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art;
They draw but what they see, know not the heart.
Argument: Picture this: my heart is a canvas, my body is an art gallery and my eyes are a painter. With me so far? My eyes then painted picture of you and put it on display in my body. When you look into my eyes, it’s like you’re looking in through the gallery windows. When the sun shines on the painting it makes it appear lifelike but here’s the problem: perspective is only a two-dimensional illusion that give the impression of three dimensions, it’s not the real thing.
(FYI/Helpful knowledge: Perspective in painting was the artistic discovery of the Renaissance. Kind of like 3-D television or printing.)
Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook’d for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes’ favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye,
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil’d,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil’d:
Then happy I, that love and am beloved
Where I may not remove nor be removed.
Argument: Let the people who are lucky today gloat about what they have while I talk about what I’m lucky enough to have. People who are famous are subject to public opinion: it only takes one loss to ruin a fighter’s career or turn someone from a hero into a nobody. I’m happy then that my love isn’t subject to the whims of rulers and can’t be ruined by a change of fortune.
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
To thee I send this written embassage,
To witness duty, not to show my wit:
Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,
But that I hope some good conceit of thine
In thy soul’s thought, all naked, will bestow it;
Till whatsoever star that guides my moving
Points on me graciously with fair aspect
And puts apparel on my tatter’d loving,
To show me worthy of thy sweet respect:
Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee;
Till then not show my head where thou mayst prove me.
Argument: The point of this message isn’t to show you how clever I am but rather it is to show you how committed I am to serve you. I can’t really find the words to describe the extent of my loyalty but I hope that you’ll get the picture from my actions. I’ll keep working at in until I get lucky enough to catch your eye. Then, and only then, will I risk revealing my feelings for you.
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.
Argument: After a long day of work, I can’t wait to get to bed to rest my tired body. But as soon as I fall asleep my mind starts racing after you. Even though my eyes are looking into the back of my eyelids, they can still make out your shape. So even though night is ugly, you’re like a shining gem which makes it beautiful. Basically, I can’t win: I just can’t seem to get any rest or peace at all.
How can I then return in happy plight,
That am debarr’d the benefit of rest?
When day’s oppression is not eased by night,
But day by night, and night by day, oppress’d?
And each, though enemies to either’s reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day, to please them thou art bright
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven:
So flatter I the swart-complexion’d night,
When sparkling stars twire not thou gild’st the even.
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer
And night doth nightly make grief’s strength
Argument: How can I be happy if day and night each make me tired? Though they’re supposed to be enemies, day and night have allied to make my life miserable. I try flattering the day by telling it that you’re like the sun. I tell the night that you’re like a bright star. But it’s not working: they both just keep making me more and more miserable.
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Argument: At times I feel isolated and alone, unlucky and rejected by society. I get envious of other people’s success, good looks, friends or even their abilities or fame, and I no longer enjoy the things I’ve always liked. I almost end up hating myself. When that happens, I think about you and then I feel my spirits rise up. I feel so good about my life when I think about your love that I wouldn’t trade places with kings.
Next week, we start on a new play. Which play will be the Bard Brawl’s 9th play?
Send us your comments and suggestions or we’re just going to let the cats – Wako and Desdemona – decide.
If you would like to lend your voice to the Bard Brawl and contribute a sonnet, or even a monologue or soliloquy, to the Bard Brawl, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
What did you think of act I? Kind of makes you want to have a good look at your own friends, doesn’t it?
Nonsense! You are rich in your friends, aren’t you? 😉
While the party’s in full swing within, a Senator arrives at Timon’s gate at the start of act II, scene 1. He’s disgusted that Timon should spend so much money on parties with his friends while he has outstanding debts to this senator. The Senator commands his servant Caphis to take debt bonds to Timon and not return until Timon pays up. The senator suspects that, when the money runs out, so will Timon’s friendships.
Flavius is just complaining about Timon’s careless spending when Caphis walking in to scene 2, speaking with Varro and Isidore’s servants. These men are also looking to collect on some outstanding debts. They intercept Timon as he returns from hunting. Timon tried to talk his way out of it but Caphis reminds him that his money was due six weeks ago and won’t take no for an answer. Flavius promises to deal with it for them right after supper and ushers Timon away.
The servants hang back to be made fun of by the Fool and Apemantus who, as Daniel points out, seem to be competing for the job of “guy who gets to say whatever he wants to Timon’s ‘friends’.”
After hearing about the current state of his finances, Timon tries to blame Favius for not mentioning any of this sooner. Flavius of course tell him that he tried to but that Timon wouldn’t hear it before. And now, even if Timon were to sell everything he has, that would only be enough to pay back about half the debt. While Falvius freaks out Timon calms him down and reminds him that as he has so many friends in good financial situations surely a few of them will be willing to help bail him out of this. But, turns out that Flavius has already approached some of these friends who gave him a bunch of excuses as to why they couldn’t help Timon. No big deal though: Timon’s buddy Ventidius – who he bailed out of jail in act 1 – just struck a rich inheritance so he’s sure that he’ll be more than happy to help out Timon.
Here are some of the characters introduced in this act:
Senator: This senator has lent money to Timon who does not appear to be in any hurry to pay him back. He comes armed with his legal documents to collect his debt.
Caphis: A servant to the Senator who comes knocking at Timon’s door to get the money he is owned.
The rumours of Timon’s gold have reached the ears of our Painter and our Poet who, at the start of act V, are camped outside Timon’s cave discussing how they plan on separating Timon from more of his money. Having nothing to actually offer him, they instead decide that they will ask for money in exchange for a promise to deliver on a project in the future. How nice.
They are unaware that Timon has over heard their whole conversation. After letting them squirm and grovel a bit, Timon asks them if they have come to get gold, like the others. They admit that they heard he had money again but that this had nothing to do with why they are at his doorstep. He plays long for a little bit and messes with them before finally chasing them off.
Moments later, Flavius arrives, leading two Athenian senators. It would seem now that they are willing to welcome Timon home. And coincidentally, they need his help to try to talk Alcibiades out of razing the city to the ground. Once again Timon pretends to play along only to flip everything around into some variation of “&@!# off and die!” (Look for some of the choice insults and curses in the upcoming speeches podcast!)
The senators eventually get the message but as they go to leave Timon in peace, he tells them not to return and that this sea-shore shall be his eternal resting place.
The news of Timon’s refusal is relayed to the city of Athens in scene 2 before turning to a lone soldier by Timon’s cave in scene 3. He expected to find Timon but instead he sees only a tomb. The illiterate soldier cannot reads the inscription so he uses some wax to make of copy of the writing and heads back to his captain, Alcibiades.
The final scene takes place just outside Athens, with Alcibiades’ army ready to besiege and conquer the city. The senators begin to plead with the general. They make the case that while he has just cause to seek retribution against some people in the city, that not everybody is equally guilty of his exile, that they just wanted to give him some time to cool his temper. In fact, it would seem that those people who did him wrong have died of an excess of cunning.
They invite him not to kill everyone but, if he really wants vengeance, to decimate the town instead, as in to kill one in every 10 people. They will not even oppose him. Timon relents and accepts instead to put to the sword whoever the senators will identify as the guilty parties and spare every one else.
At the very end, Alcibiades reads Timon’s epitaph and then enters the city, promising to help sets things right in Athens.
Is there a moral to this story? Was anything accomplished by Timon’s death? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.