‘Zounds! scene two availabe

Greetings Bard Brawlers.

For those eagerly awaiting the arrival of Act III of Richard II, fear not; it will soon ring out on podcast speakers around the globe.

In the meantime, you can purchase the journal that has occupied so much of our lives for the past month as ‘Zounds! Act I, scene ii is now available:

Click the button and let 'Zounds! be yours.
Click the button and let ‘Zounds! be yours.

Special thanks to the staff at Brutopia for hosting the launch, and to Andre Simoneau and Brendt Thomas Diabo for playing.

Brendt Thomas Diabo playing the 'Zounds Launch.
Brendt Thomas Diabo playing the ‘Zounds Launch.
CCCCEO Eric Jean going over the finer points of Shakespeare
CCCCEO Eric Jean going over the finer points of Shakespeare
Poet and singer/songwriter Andre Simoneau takes the mic
Poet and singer/songwriter Andre Simoneau takes the mic
'Zounds! scene ii described by someone as "the greatest follow up to anything anywhere since Italy's 1938 World Cup run."
‘Zounds! scene ii described by someone as “the greatest follow up to anything anywhere since Italy’s 1938 World Cup run.”
Matching and dashing are Brawlers Jay Reid and Amrit Sanger.
Matching and dashing are Brawlers Jay Reid and Amrit Sanger.

 

Brutopia Brew Pub - 1219 rue Crescent, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2B1.
Brutopia Brew Pub – 1219 rue Crescent, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2B1.

Romeo and Juliet, Act III

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

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

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!

Listen to or download the podcast or why not subscribe on iTunes.

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.

Oops.

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.

Next week: act IV!

And hey. Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

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‘Zounds! article in the Eastern Door

Check out the article in Kahnawake’s Eastern Door newspaper by J. David Bush on the Bard Brawl’s launch party for ‘Zounds! February 20.

The ‘Zounds! launch party, by J. David Bush

The Eastern Door; March 7, 2014
The Eastern Door; March 7, 2014

If you haven’t picked up your copy of ‘Zounds! yet… what are you waiting for?

Thanks again, Brawlers!

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!

Bard Brawl on iTunes

Hey Brawlers!

Just a quick announcement today. Looks like the issue we were having with itunes (namely, that people were not able to download any Bard Brawl episodes after Pericles) seems to have been resolved!

This means you can (finally!) download our recordings of Timon of Athens and the first two acts of Romeo and Juliet!

Stay tuned for act III of Romeo and Juliet which should be up tomorrow afternoon.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of ‘Zounds! yet… what are you waiting for?

Thanks again, Brawlers!

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: Romeo and Juliet, Act II

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

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

Welcome back to the Bard Brawl and act II of Romeo and Juliet. I hope your Valentine’s Day story worked out a little better than theirs. Although, really, I guess they did have a pretty bangin’ first date.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Like the first act, act II opens up with a Prologue. Don’t remember this prologue? That’s probably because no one stages it. And why would you? You just finished this blockbuster first act of death threats and teenage lovemaking and Shakespeare wants you to stop to listen to someone tell you about how they need to figure out a way to meet in secret.

Yeah, we figured that since their two families are at war, they might not be so keen to announce they started dating. Thankfully, Shakespeare seems to figure this out because that’s the last of the prologues for this play.

Mercutio and Benvolio spot Romeo sneaking out of Juliet’s house in scene 1 but they must not have realised who’s bedroom he’s sneaking off to because Mercutio tries to get his attention by invoking his ‘love,’ Rosaline. You’d almost get the impression this wasn’t the first time they spotted him sneaking into some girl’s bedroom in the middle of the night. Romeo clearly doesn’t want to be found out and they would much rather make fun of him behind his back so after doing that for a minute or two, they head home to bed.

So here’s the set-up for act II, scene 2, one of the most famous (and totally made up) love scenes in the world:

Having sneaked into the Capulet orchard by jumping the fence, Romeo makes his way to Juliet’s window, which is a little unsettling because he seems to know exactly where that is despite the fact that she lives in a huge estate. While he’s hiding in the bushes (trying to catch a glimpse of her undressing) Juliet walks out onto the balcony. Romeo goes on and on like he’s a hockey announcer providing some sort of play by play for some imagined audience.

Juliet, like Romeo, seems to have a habit of speaking her thoughts aloud which, in this case, happens to work in her favour because Romeo hears her and announces his presence. She’s a little creeped out that he’s here at first but after some blah blah back and forth they agree that the best course of action – and the thing they most want in the world – is to get married.

Tomorrow.

No problem. Romeo tells her to get in touch by 9am and he’ll have worked out a plan.

At the start of scene 3, Friar Laurence is quietly pruning his plants when Romeo barges in, out of breath and babbling on about how he’s in love and that he needs the Friar’s help. The friar’s a little surprised that Romeo so quickly forgot Rosaline, his one true love, and now wants to marry Juliet. He doesn’t seem to have much faith in Romeo’s constancy but he agrees to marry them only because he thinks that this might put an end to the Montague and Capulet feud.

Wait, what? Does he even realize what he’s saying? When has two people marrying ever made warring in-laws kiss and make up? Maybe it will work out this one and only time though.

Romeo’s friends Mercutio and Benvolio as hanging out in the street making fun of Romeo (again) and Tybalt when Romeo runs into them in scene 4. They mock him for ditching them last night and make a bunch of jokes involving penises such as: “then is my pump well flowered.” Juliet’s nurse arrives to meet with Romeo where they discuss the plan to sneak Juliet out of her house: she just needs to tell her folks that she’s stepping out for a quick confession at father Laurence’s. The Elizabethan equivalent of “I’m going to the library to study.” No mother or father would ever doubt that excuse. Brilliant!

Meanwhile, Juliet’s been waiting impatiently for her nurse (who is starting to come off as more of a pimp, really) to come back with news from Romeo. Back and forth between the two of them which seems designed to torture poor Juliet but eventually the nurse spills the beans: head to Friar Laurence’s place where he’ll marry you and you’ll finally get to have sex! And then you’ll get pregnant which is exactly what every 13-year-old wants, right?

In the final scene, Romeo is waiting for Juliet to show up. Friar Laurence tries to get him to chill out a bit, to slow this love train down a little, but when he sees Juliet, he seems ready to get on it himself. (He also wins the creepiest line of the play award for this gem: “Romeo shall thank thee, daughter, for us both.”)

Off they go to get married in secret, like two totally responsible adults who have carefully weighed the pros and cons of their decision and are in no way whatsoever rushing into the mistake of a lifetime.

Can we expect a honeymoon scene in act 3? I sure hope so!

And hey. Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

Enjoy sonnet 43 by the legend, David Kandestin.

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

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There Will Be Brawl | Fringe Arts | The Link

Click on the link below to check out Riley Stativa‘s article in Concordia’s Link newspaper on the Bard Brawl and the upcoming journal ‘Zounds!

There Will Be Brawl | Fringe Arts | The Link.

 

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Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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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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CBC Canada Writes article on the Brawl

November 14, 2013 article by Emily Murphy
November 14, 2013 article by Emily Murphy

 

Check out Emily Murphy’s article for CBC Canada Writes on the Bard Brawl.

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.43.08 AM

 

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

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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BB: King Lear, Act I

Artwork - Leigh MacRaeArtwork – Leigh MacRae

Listen to or download the podcast.

Welcome Brawlers to the Bard Brawl’s recording of the first act of this, our fifth play.

And what a play it is! This is no Taming of the Shrew or Henry VI, part 1, scrappy dramatic undercards who hang in there on pure grit and desire despite their faulty technique and poor conditioning.

No. This is the main event, ladies and gentlemen.

Along with such plays as Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Othello, this one is a serious contender to the title of best play ever written, folks.

Get ready for King Lear!

Without further ado, then, let’s ring the bell!

The play opens in act I, scene 1 with Gloucester and Kent – two nobles of Lear’s court – talking about Kent’s son Edmond. There’s a lot of wordplay centering on the fact that Edmond is Gloucester’s bastard son (and no one seems to care that he’s standing right there listening to the whole thing). More importantly, we learn that King Lear’s about to do something completely nuts: he’s going to abdicate the throne, turn over the lands to his daughters and ‘retire’ with a hundred knights, which the daughters will be responsible for upkeeping. This is already a little sketchy but here’s the really crazy part: he decides to give the biggest or best portion of his kingdom to the daughter who loves him most. And so he has them take part in a ‘sucking-up-to-dad’ competition. Goneril and Regan jump right into it but Lear’s youngest daughter Cordelia refuses to play the game. Despite being Lear’s favourite, the old man misinterprets her silence as ingratitude and decides to deny her any land at all. He redistributes that portion between his two other daughter. Kent, his most loyal retainer, tries to reason with him but he is banished for his honesty in a fit of range in which lear speaks on of the most famous line of the play: “Peace, Kent! / Come not between the dragon and his wrath.” (Sends shivers down my spine, that line. We should all start using it in daily speech. Just saying.) After Kent is banished, Lear calls in Cordelia’s suitors, the Duke of Burgundy and the King of France. After they learn that Cordelia has been stripped of her dowry (a third of Lear’s lands), Burgundy rejects her. The King of france, however, recognises the value of her honesty and agrees to marry her. Whew – it’s on!

Actually, does this remind you of anything a little more recent, too?

As the first and legitimate son, his brother Edgar is in line to inherent all of Gloucester<s lands and titles. Of course, Edmund is not about to just take that lying down and t the start of scene 2, we surprise Edmond musing to himself and plotting to get his brother out of the picture. The world think’s a bastard is a bastard? Well, then he’ll show them a bastard they won’t soon forget. He forges a letter which is supposed to be written by Edgar and which discusses a plot for the two brothers to team up and kill dad. Then, the letter adds, when dad’s out of the picture and Edgar inherits everything, he’ll cut Edmund in for half. He fakes hiding the letter which just makes it irresistible to Gloucester who buys into the whole thing. Part two of the plan involves getting rid of Edgar so he can<t go to dad and say his jerk of a bastard brother made the whole thing up. So, Edmund takes Edgar aside and makes up some story that their father wants him dead because he suspects that Edgar is trying to kill him. Edmund tells him to run the hell away and that he’ll try to dead with Gloucester for him. Edgar runs off.

See how all this talk of bastards and inheritance is mirrored in the two main plotlines? Shakespeare gets to be really good at this stuff by this point in his career. Moving right along.

Act I, scene 3 is short but vital. Lear mentioned earlier that not only would he have a hundred knights in his entourage at all times but that he would split his time living with each of his daughters in turn. However, when Goneril hears that Lear has apparently hit her servant, she decides that she’s had enough of Lear and his rowdy knights. When she hears that they are making their way to her castle, she instructs her servant Oswald to be negligent in serving Lear. this way, she can trick Lear into giving her justification for reducing the number of his entourage. Lot of clever people in this play.

Despite being banished by Lear earlier, it’s clear from the start of scene 4 that he has no intention of abandoning the old king now. He disguises himself and offers his services to Lear who accepts. Oswald arrives and informs lear that Goneril and her husband Albany will not be greeting him because they are sick. One of Lear’s knights points out that they’ve totally been dissed. Lear hits Oswald who takes issue with that but Kent steps in and shows Oswald out of Lear’s presence. Lear calls his fool to him and as soon as he arrives on the scene, the fool lays into Lear. All of his arguments basically come down to this: “You crazy old coot! By splitting your crown and kingdom into pieces, you’ve left yourself with nothing. Even I’m better off than you are because while you’re not a king anymore I’m still a fool.” Something like that. After quite of bit of this between Lear, Kent and the fool, Goneril shows up and she’s pissed. She asks Lear to reign in his entourage and to wisen up. He of course refuses and gets insulted, but of course there’s nothing he can do about it now. She tells him he;ll have to downsize his entourage to fifty knights. Not happy at all about any of this, he says ‘the hell with this’ and decides to go see Regan who he hopes will treat him with a bit more respect. Goneril, however, has already sent off a letter to her sister and they’ve both agreed that they’ve had enough of their father and his buddies watching the Habs game and getting drunk on their dollar. I think we can see where this is going.

In the final scene of the act, Lear sends Kent to Gloucester with a letter explaining what has happened at Goneril’s and telling him to expect Lear shortly. (Seems that Regan and her husband Cornwall are staying at Gloucester’s castle at the moment.) The rest of the scene is an exchange between Lear and his fool. While Lear hopes that Regan will give him a warmer welcome, the fool predicts that she’ll be just like Goneril. Then, for a brief moment, Lear seems to realize how much he has wronged Cordelia when he stripped her of her share of his lands and banished her to France. The fool interrupts him and rubs a little salt in the wound by reminding Lear that it was a really dumb move to give up his house as now he has to live at the mercy of merciless daughters.

We’ll get into the succulent barbecued meat of King Lear in our next post but in the mean time, as always, here’s a list of some of the main characters appearing in King Lear:

  • King Lear: The aging King of England. He has no sons so decides instead to retire and split the kingdom between his three daughters.
  • Goneril: Lear’s eldest daughter. She is married to the Duke of Albany.
  • Albany: Goneril’s husband. A bit of a pushover with a good heart. Nowhere near the ruthlessness of Cornwall.
  • Regan: Lear’s second daughter and arguably the meanest of the bunch. She is married to the Duke of Cornwall.
  • Cornwall: Regan’s husband. Like her, he’s a ruthless and sadistic.
  • Cordelia: Lear’s youngest daughter. While she loves him the most, she is disowned by her father because she refuses to indulge in flattering him.
  • Kent: One of Lear’s oldest and most loyal advisors, he continues to serve Lear in disguise after he is banished. Stephanie points out in the show that Kent’s kind of like a Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey. You know, this guy – Mr. Carson as Kent?
  • Fool: This is Lear’s fool or court jester. One of Shakespeare’s best fools.
  • Oswald: A servant to Goneril and Regan.
  • Gloucester: A nobleman of Lear’s court, and the father of Edgar and Edmund. While loyal to Lear, he’s unable to help him and pays a high price for trying to do so.
  • Edgar: Gloucester’s legitimate son who is being framed by Edmund. He is loyal to his father and like Kent with Lear, he disguises himself to stay near Gloucester.
  • Edmund: Gloucester’s bastard son. He plots to overthrow his father and eventually tries to play the two sisters against each other in the hopes of being king.

You might have noticed that a crap ton of stuff happens in this act? Well, get used to that pace because the intensity’s about to get ramped way up for act II.

Check out Jessica Winter’s article on Lear for Slate Magazine that was mentioned in the podcast.

Bonus sonnet 19 read by Kayla Cross.

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