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You are in Montreal .
You are in training.
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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.
The Bard Brawlers are engaging in a new project and looking for support to help make it a reality. Visit the Bard Brawl’s Indiegogo page and give as much as you can afford. Perks include t-shirts, journal copies and special mention in the first edition of The Bard Brawl Journal.