BB: Twelfth Night, Act V; REDUX

 

artwork - Leigh MacRae
artwork – Leigh MacRae

“… let no quarrel nor no brawl to come taint the condition of this present hour,” Fabian

Welcome back to the Bard Brawl and to the final act of our Twelfth Night redux!

The gauntlet of relatives, three heaping platefuls of cipâtes, your second copy of Moneyball in as many days (*pokes Niki Lambros), that the guy you made out with at the New Year’s Eve party who you later discovered was your second cousin (Dramatization, may not have happened.), you survived it all.

You made it! Pat yourself on the back, enjoy what’s left of the bubbly (we sure did) and have a listen as we wrap up Twelfth Night in true Bard Brawl style with a little NKOTB.

Side note: Enjoy the “crusher” guitar intro. We sure did.


Listen to or download the podcast.


Only one scene in this act but it’s a pretty wild one.

Orsino, that lazy, pathetic ass, has finally decided that if he wants Olivia he should probably make some sort of effort himself to win her over. He runs into Feste and Fabian outside of Olivia’s house. Insert a couple of jokes about friends and asses before Orsino sends Feste to fetch Olivia. While he waits, Viola (yup, still disguised as Cesario) notices Antonio being lead before the Duke by an officer. Orsino immediately recognises him as a pirate, but Viola tries to plead for mercy as Antonio defended her from Sir Toby and Andrew Aguecheek’s attacks.

Antonio attempts to defend his presence in Illyria by explaining that he was bewitched by Sebastian’s good looks and obvious character into making stupid decisions like exposing himself to the death penalty by being caught wandering the streets of Illyria. To make matters worse, he accuses Viola (thinking it’s Sebastian) of having refused to give back the money he had given him in trust. Of course, everybody thinks he’s a little nuts because Viola honestly has no clue what the hell he’s talking about. Both Orsino and Antonio claim to have been with “Viola” for the last 3 months.

Olivia arrives and once again refuses Orsino’s advances. To make matters worse, she hits on ‘Cesario’ who she thinks she just married an act ago. When Viola says she plans on following the person she loves, Orsino, Olivia accuses her ‘husband’ of being unfaithful. Viola denies it, of course, but just then – by total coincidence – the priest comes in and backs Olivia.

Moments later, Aguecheek comes in asking for a doctor for Sir Toby who was just injured by ‘Cesario.’ More confusion as Aguecheek blames Viola for Sebastian’s actions. As Belch and his buddies are lead out, Sebastian walks on stage. Finally we have both siblings on-stage at once! Olivia seems particularly happy at the prospect of two Cesario’s: “Most wonderful!” I’ll let you finish the porn joke in whatever way seems best to you.

Sebastian and Viola tease out the moment where they finally admit that they’re brother and sister and that, strangely, all of this is totally okay in the end. Olivia is just as happy with Sebastian, Sebastian is all too happy with Olivia’s money; Viola finally gets to have Orsino, who now seems perfectly happy to give up his hot widow for woman he has spent the entire play confusing for a boy. This will make for some interesting swinger parties.

There are a few other loose ends to warp up. They read Malvolio’s letter and realise that maybe he’s not nuts so they may as well let him out of the asylum. Malvolio accuses Olivia of having toyed with him but Olivia denies that she had anything to do with it. Malvolio swears vengeance. I imagine everybody just laughs.

We also learn that Sir Toby and Maria are getting married but I’m sure they won’t be invited to the swinger party.

And then there’s a little N.K.O.T.B.

The inspiration for Act V.
The inspiration for Act V.

 

If you have any suggestions for which speeches you would like us to revisit, now’s the time as next week is the Twelfth Night speeches podcast!

Sonnet 27 read by sonneteer Hannah Dorozio.


 

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BB: Timon of Athens, Act V

Artwork - Leigh MacRae
Artwork – Leigh MacRae

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

Welcome back Brawlers to Timon of Athens, act V, Stephanie E.M. Coleman‘s favourite Shakespeare play.

Listen to or download the podcast.

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.

Legendary sonneteer Maya Pankalla returns for sonnet 53.

This wraps up our eighth play and our final play of 2013!

Stay tuned for the upcoming speeches podcast. And send us your suggestions for which play you would like us to tackle next!

 

Join us by contributing to the Bard Brawl journal volume I at our Indiegogo page.

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BB: Pericles, Act V

Artwork - Stephanie E.M. Coleman
Artwork – Stephanie E.M. Coleman

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

Welcome back to the Bard Brawl! As promised, we’re happy to bring you our final brawl of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Like the acts which came before, act V begins with Gower’s prologue (starts with “Marina thus the brothel ‘scapes, and chances”). Gower narrates that Boult, who hasn’t been able to convince Marina to give up the goods, agrees to help find her a respectable household to welcomed into. While we don’t know yet which household, it seems that things are working out for her just fine. As for Pericles? Well, wouldn’t you know that his ship just happens to be sitting at anchor in Mytilene at this very moment!

Seeing such an important ship anchored off his coast, the governor of Mytilene – Lysimachus – takes a small vessel to greet the Tyrian ship and find out why it’s here and what it wants. He and Helicanus exchange a few words at the start of act V, scene 1. Lysimachus asks to meet Pericles, which Helicanus arranges but Perciles is a miserable mess. Helicanus is about to recount the events which have led to Pericles’ current condition but is interrupted when Marina arrives.

Seems that Lysimachus went all Pretty Woman on Marina and ended up marrying her. (Well, he wasn’t getting anywhere with her the other way…) They ask Marina to try to snap Pericles out of it. Marina is about to give up but feels compelled to keep at it until she’s broken Pericles out of his torpor. She decides to tell him her story and when she reveals her name and what happened to her, father and daughter are reunited. But, Pericles is overcome and lulled to sleep my some celestial music.

Then, an apparition of the goddess Diana arrives and tell him to go to her temple and relate the story of how he lost his wife. Yes, Shakespeare wraps things up by having a goddess show up on stage and point our hero to the place where his wife has been living as a nun all this time.

Act V, scene 2 is a short passage narrated by Gower again, as he stands before Diana’s temple. (Starts with: “Now our sands are almost run.”) Pericles agrees to let Lysimachus marry Marina but only after he has made his sacrifice to Diana.

Off to the temple they go for scene 3. Cerimon is there presiding as husband, wife and daughter are reunited at last. It occurs to Pericles that they should let Thaisa’s father know that she’s alive but turns out he’s been dead for a while now. Which of course means that Pericles gets to move to Pentapolis as the new king, and Lysimachus and Marina get to take over the throne of Tyre.

Gower gets the final word of the play where he gets to moralize about the people in the play: Helicanus is the model of loyalty, Cerimon is a model of charity; Antiochus, Cleon and Dionyza are evil sinners who have been justly punished by Heaven for their heinous crimes.

And that’s the end of the Bard Brawl’s seventh play!

Love it or hate it, it seems that this play leaves no one indifferent.

What did you think of Pericles,?

Wako, Bard Brawling cat
Wako, Bard Brawling cat

Sonnet 44 read by lord Jay Reid of Ethickshire.

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BB: Twelfth Night, Act V

 

artwork - Leigh MacRae
artwork – Leigh MacRae

“… let no quarrel nor no brawl to come taint the condition of this present hour,” Fabian

Welcome back to Twelfth Night, Brawlers. This week we wrap up our recording of the play so get ready for act V!

Listen to or download the podcast.

Only one scene in this act but it’s a pretty wild one.

Orsino, that lazy, pathetic ass, has finally decided that if he wants Olivia he should probably make some sort of effort himself to win her over. He runs into Feste and Fabian outside of Olivia’s house. Insert a couple of jokes about friends and asses before Orsino sends Feste to fetch Olivia. While he waits, Viola (yup, still disguised as Cesario) notices Antonio being lead before the Duke by an officer. Orsino immediately recognises him as a pirate, but Viola tries to plead for mercy as Antonio defended her from Sir Toby and Andrew Aguecheek’s attacks.

Antonio attempts to defend his presence in Illyria by explaining that he was bewitched by Sebastian’s good looks and obvious character into making stupid decisions like exposing himself to the death penalty by being caught wandering the streets of Illyria. To make matters worse, he accuses Viola (thinking it’s Sebastian) of having refused to give back the money he had given him in trust. Of course, everybody thinks he’s a little nuts because Viola honestly has no clue what the hell he’s talking about. Both Orsino and Antonio claim to have been with “Viola” for the last 3 months.

Olivia arrives and once again refuses Orsino’s advances. To make matters worse, she hits on ‘Cesario’ who she thinks she just married an act ago. When Viola says she plans on following the person she loves, Orsino, Olivia accuses her ‘husband’ of being unfaithful. Viola denies it, of course, but just then – by total coincidence – the priest comes in and backs Olivia.

Moments later, Aguecheek comes in asking for a doctor for Sir Toby who was just injured by ‘Cesario.’ More confusion as Aguecheek blames Viola for Sebastian’s actions. As Belch and his buddies are lead out, Sebastian walks on stage. Finally we have both siblings on-stage at once! Olivia seems particularly happy at the prospect of two Cesario’s: “Most wonderful!” I’ll let you finish the porn joke in whatever way seems best to you.

Sebastian and Viola tease out the moment where they finally admit that they’re brother and sister and that, strangely, all of this is totally okay in the end. Olivia is just as happy with Sebastian, Sebastian is all too happy with Olivia’s money; Viola finally gets to have Orsino, who now seems perfectly happy to give up his hot widow for woman he has spent the entire play confusing for a boy. This will make for some interesting swinger parties.

There are a few other loose ends to warp up. They read Malvolio’s letter and realise that maybe he’s not nuts so they may as well let him out of the asylum. Malvolio accuses Olivia of having toyed with him but Olivia denies that she had anything to do with it. Malvolio swears vengeance. I imagine everybody just laughs.

We also learn that Sir Toby and Maria are getting married but I’m sure they won’t be invited to the swinger party.

And then there’s a little N.K.O.T.B.

The inspiration for Act V.
The inspiration for Act V.

 

If you have any suggestions for which speeches you would like us to revisit, now’s the time as next week is the Twelfth Night speeches podcast!

Sonnet 27 read by sonneteer Hannah Dorozio.

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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BB: Merchant of Venice, Act V

We did it! We’ve finished recording our first complete play!

Welcome to the Bard Brawl’s fifth and final episode of The Merchant of Venice.

Listen to the podcast here.

Download the podcast.

Bard Brawlers for this act are (Clockwise from top left) Melissa Myers, John dit Jack, Stephanie E.M. Coleman, Eric Jean and Daniel J. Rowe

The final act of The Merchant of Venice has only one scene in which all of the loose ends and threads get tied up. Portia and Nerissa beat Bassanio, Gratiano and Antonio back to Belmont. After the couples are reunited, the women ask for the rings which they gave their husbands back in act III, scene 2. Awkwardness and humour ensue as the women sweat their husbands for giving away their rings to the doctor and his clerk. Portia and Nerissa even go so far as to suggest to Bassanio and Gratiano that they’ve been sleeping with these men seeing as they had the rings which the ladies gave their husbands. In the end, they give the rings back to their husbands but only after Antonio offers himself up once again as surety for the sincerity of Bassanio’s and Gratiano’s wedding vows.

After the high-stakes, high-tension court scene of act IV, act V can seem like a bit of a letdown: each of the three couples are happily reunited once again on stage, and Antonio learns, that because some of his ships have made it back to port, he’s not going to spend the rest of his days totally broke. Since we know (because we’re in on the gender-swapping disguise game) that the boys are not really in trouble, there just doesn’t seem to be that much at stake. There’s just no way Shakespeare’s going to write a comedy and not give us our three weddings, right? However, that doesn’t mean that all of these weddings have to be created equal.

Gratiano and Nerissa are clearly a doubling of the Bassanio and Portia couple, once removed from true nobility (Portia is the lady, Nerissa the maid, after all). The play seems to believe that they’ll live happily together as one big happy sitcom family (it’s hard to imagine that they would have kicked Antonio out to starve if he’d ended up penniless). But what about Lorenzo and Jessica in all of this?

I mentioned in an earlier post that Shakespeare gives us some hints that Lorenzo and Jessica’s relationship may not be all it promises to be (and that it’s probably Lorenzo’s fault). As act V opens, the couple sits outside of idyllic Belmont, gazing up at the moon. Lorenzo and Jessica compare their love story to those of other well-known literary love affairs.

Here’s the list of allusions:

  • Troilus and Cressida: Troilus and Cressida fall in love during the Trojan war but Cressida is traded to Diomedes. Cressida knows she’ll have to submit in the hopes of saving her people. Troilus renounces his love for her as a result.
  • Pyramus and Thisbe: Two lovers enemy household are forbidden to marry. They set up a meeting place. When Pyramus arrives he thinks that Thisbe was killed by a lion so he falls on his sword. Thisbe arrives later, sees him dead, then kills herself as well. (Sound familiar?)
  • Dido and Aeneas: In his travels, Aeneas arrives in Carthage and woos Dido. Soon afterwards, he leaves Carthage never to return. Dido kills herself by throwing herself into a pyre.
  • Medea and Jason: Jason promises to marry Medea in exchange for some help getting the Golden Fleece. He leaves her in the lurch and marries another woman instead.

Will Jessica and Lorenzo take their place among these infamous couples? Jessica certainly seems to think so, and she compares Lorenzo to all of these infamous lovers, casting herself as the victim of a faithless lover’s promise.

Lorenzo’s love of music (which in this context likely means poetry) is telling. He sees his relationship with Jessica in poetic terms, is inattentive to the actual words, the weight, behind these stories. (Remember that Bassanio, the successful suitor, reasons that love is purchased by the weight and passes the test because of it.) While Lorenzo can afford to make promises lightly in love, to pursue it as though it were just another beautiful story, Jessica cannot afford to be so light-hearted with her affections. When we consider the potential consequences to Jessica should Lorenzo choose to abandon her, we can understand why her last line is “I am never merry when I hear sweat music.” She – like many women before and since – has been fooled by Lorenzo’s music. She’s worried about what will happen when the music stops.

So with that, we close the book on The Merchant of Venice but feel free to leave us some comments. We’d love to hear from you.

Next week, we change gears and tackle our next play, Coriolanus.

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