Help us fund our promotional push for The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Upstart Arts t-shirt sale is winding down. We chose bright and cheerful summer colors to splash our logo across. I'd love to see a few of these in the wild, so pick one up today, please and thank you : )
Have been considering for years if I wanted to sit down and write a "How To Direct Shakespeare" guidebook. I have also mulled over the possibility of doing a general sort of a podcast. Instead of one or the other, welcome to the Backstage At Upstarts podcast, where I roam around with my phone before rehearsal and give the listener some insight into my creative process, where the production is at the moment, what I plan to discuss with the cast, what has caught our attention, snatches of scenes or songs and possibly, a movie or book recommendation. It's a good way for me to focus, as well as get my very strong opinions on how to approach Shakespeare, comedy and leadership out there. Tune in.
But if you've ever done a show with me, you already know that's true ; )
My weekends have switched recently from Friday-Saturday to Sunday-Monday. I'm still getting used to it. So there I am, on a recent Sunday, reading while listening to the light classical Music Choice Channel on the TV when I see Shakespeare Suite #2 on the screen under the name Englebert Humperdinck. Curiosity triggered, that kicked off a search for who was Englebert Humperdinck and what does that have to do with Shakespeare? Turns out he's a German late 19th early 20th century composer who wrote two Shakespeare suites, full of several pieces of music for four different Shakespeare productions, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale, and Twelfth Night. The suite contains a storm for The Tempest and "On Such a Night", a piece celebrating two not often discussed Shakespearean characters, The Merchant of Venice's Jessica and Lorenzo. Jessica is running off with Lorenzo, which gives Shylock the ONLY human moment in Merchant, when Shylock describes to Tubal the ring Jessica took with her.
Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.
It's not Shylock's oft quoted speech that brings his commonality home to us, it's this little moment when the shard of an emotion is revealed, still deep in a wound now freshly bleeding.
And then, back to my ramble through Sunday, having got on the subject of music and Shakespeare and being captivated by the energy of the vivacious Rita Moreno as she steals the show in the rebooted One Day At A Time, Gayle and I ended up in a discussion of which play Cuban music would suit best (on another segue, Xavier Cugat music is nigh impossible not to get up and dance to). Which lead to a discussion of other shows I want to direct, which always leads to Gilbert and Sullivan and/or The Hot Mikado and me asking if Gayle could do something like that with The Pirates of Penzance. Answer, a long maybe, from which I bounced to reading some 18th century American short stories that could possibly be adapted for a chilly spooky October event, which looped us back to "will we get people auditioning for Merry Wives," which reminded me I needed to find the link to the article comparing Quarto-Folio versions of Merry Wives so I can discuss that with Meredith, the assistant director, and in a future blog post. Which reminded me I needed to write a blog post. So I am. On a Tuesday, post weekend. Enjoy!