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!

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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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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!

 

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Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

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Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

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