Saturday, April 23, 2011


For the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's Blogging Shakespeare Birthday Project - 23 April 2011


Big Willie, and I go way back. We tight. I guess you can say we've always had what you would call a love/hate relationship. Probably not much different from any other relationship I've had over the years. It all started for me in Jr. High with a school trip to some theatre during their Shakespeare festival with our English teacher that was a Donald Sutherland look-alike. There I watched Romeo & Juliet, (the ballet version), and it reeled me in. It was so beautiful. Yes, he managed to seduce me at my young, vulnerable age when like any other impressionable pre-teen I then fell in love with the notion of falling in love. He made it look so pretty, even if everyone died at the end. This of course was until I realized that they were just two dumb kids caught up in the heat of puberty.

By the time I was in high school, I had already pretty much become a full blown feminist in my own right. We separated for a while. For a long time William's works were a taboo of sorts for me. I believed it was off-limits for a young woman trying to find herself, and her place in this world. There was no room at the time for anything that would even resemble any kind of politically incorrect literature, or form of entertainment. I felt like many of my colleages still feel today, that it was beyond "old school", outdated, and obsolete. This continued throughout my twenties.

I think once I hit thirty, I grew weary of trying to be "PC" about everything all the time. The times were changing, and so was I. I was tired of what I thought was my duty to criticize, and correct every type of entertainment I came across. One day I said to myself, "you know what? Fuck it. I LOVE Shakespeare! I always have. I never stopped." I started reading it again, and more importantly, enjoyed it, guilt free. There are many lessons to be learned with his stuff, such as, do not kill your significant other unless you are absolutely sure without a shadow of a doubt that they in fact, cheated on you. I'm kidding, sort of. Or...don't drown yourself over someone just because they rejected you. At least make sure you get laid first, so you don't die a virgin. Okay, with that one I'm totally serious. Of course there are many more lessons to learn from the Bard. It's all right there if you're looking for it. Drama, comedy, action, suspense. It's better than a night with Netflix. In the end, I just couldn't stay away, because you know, that Shakespeare guy, he really has a way with words.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream




THESEUS: "The Duke Of Athens." --- The head honcho of the court. Supposedly, Hercules cousin, so he's big shit. Shows that all this takes place in a mythical Greek past. Apparently, he wins over Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, by defeating her in battle, and raping her, so of course now they are going to get married. This makes the mood in the play light and fluffy and festive. Nothing wins a woman's heart like sexual assault.

HIPPOLYTA: "The legendary Queen of the Amazons" --- engaged to Theseus. The fact that she becomes all timid-like and obedient to him because he destroyed her in combat is a little disappointing. You wouldn't see Wonder Woman getting like that. It's all very "Luke & Laura" from back in the day "General Hospital".

EGEUS: "A respected nobleman in Theseus's court". --- Yet another mega-controlling father that goes whining to Theseus that his daughter won't do as he says. He wants her to marry this douchebag named Demetrius, that she doesn't care about. She's in love with this dude that actually really loves her named Lysander. Papa says if she doesn't listen to him, she should get the death penalty, or become a nun. Oh, you can feel the love...

HERMIA: "Egeus's daughter. Hermia is a beautiful, young woman of Athens, and both Demetrius, and Lysander are in love with her." --- One of those rare, strong willed, and independent women you'll see in his plays. Defies her father, and is determined to be with Lysander. Hermia is homegirl to Helena.

LYSANDER: "A young nobleman of Athens in love with Hermia." --- and vice versa. Her father is against it, but it doesn't phase him. He's into that whole "love conquers all" stuff. He convinces Hermia to elope and run away with him. And the plot thickens...

DEMETRIUS: Another "young nobleman of Athens". --- He's the douchebag trying to make Hermia marry him (and also using her father to help him), even though he knows she wants nothing to do with him. Demetrius played Hermia's friend Helena at one point, but then dissed her to chase after Hermia. We always want what we can't have...

HELENA: "A young woman of Athens in love with Demetrius." --- Demetrius played her, then rejected and abandoned her to go after her BFF Hermia. Hermia plays the pity-me card a lot, and belittles herself by jumping into dangerous, humiliating, and stupid situations to chase after this loser who wants nothing to do with her.

ROBIN GOODFELLOW A.K.A "PUCK": "a mischievous fairy who delights in playing pranks on mortals, Robin is Oberon's jester." --- He's like the head fairy under Oberon and Titania. Oberon's right hand man (fairy). His shenanigans are responsible for most of the crazy mess that manifest in the play. He tries to play innocent, but he knows what he is doing. He's a naughty little fucker, and THAT'S why Puck is my favorite in this play.

OBERON: "The King of the fairies." --- In the beginning of the story, he's having marital difficulties with his wife, the Queen of the fairies, Titania. She refuses to give up a young Indian prince he wants for himself as his own personal knight. He decides to get revenge on her by sending out Robin Goodfellow to fetch out a magic potion to use against her which is what ends up wreaking havoc on everybody.

TITANIA: "The beautiful Queen of the fairies." --- She's pissed off at her husband, Oberon for wanting to take her little Indian prince away from her. She wants to stay away from him and "his bed", meaning she ain't givin' him any until he stops making her mad. She's also miffed about the fairies' "magic dances" that evidently make the world go 'round being disrupted which she also blames Oberon for.

NICK BOTTOM: "The overconfident weaver chosen to play Pyramus in a play that a group of craftsmen have decided to put on for Theseus's wedding celebration." --- The main average Joe Shmoe in the play. Real cocky, and a real dumbass. Doesn't even think twice about how strange it is when the beautiful, Queen of the fairies Titania all of sudden, out of nowhere falls in love with him, (because the fairies put a spell on her), or when the head fairy Puck plays a little trick on him and temporarily gives him a donkey's head.

PETER QUINCE: "A carpenter, and the leader of the attempt to put on a play." --- Quince plays the "Prologue". He's also a pushover, and gets shoved aside by Bottom a lot because Nick Bottom pretty much tries to take over the play most of the time.

FRANCIS FLUTE: "The bellows-mender (yes, they had occupations with names like those back in the day), chosen to play Thisbe in the craftsmen's play" --- The bearded layman in the group who was chosen to play the girl, since theatre was a boys club back then. Now, it's mostly gay men (especially when they are musicals), and straight girls.

ROBIN STARVELING: "The tailor chosen to play Thisbe's mother in the play" --- He ends up playing "Moonshine" a.k.a the moon/the light of the moon/the man in the moon. They basically needed someone to hold the lantern so they could see.

TOM SNOUT: "The tinker chosen to play Pyramus's father in the play within the play." --- He ends up playing the part of "Wall." Literally, a wall, that supposed to keep the lovers separated. They needed an actual person to play that part. Yeah, they are all idiots.

SNUG: "The joiner chosen to play the lion in the craftsmen's play." --- He worries he's gonna scare the delicate ladies in the audience with his roaring, so he wants to make sure they know he's really not a lion, that he's a man. Yep, he's not the brightest crayon in the box.

PHILOSTRATE: (rhymes with prostrate, well, I don't know if it's really pronounced like that): "Theseus's Master of the Revels." --- Theseus's assistant, his helper, his biatch.

PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTE, and MUSTARDSEED: Titania's little fairies she lives with and orders around. I would LOVE to know where these fairy names came from. RANDOM. Maybe MY fairy name will be either BLACKBERRY JAM, DUSTBUNNY, or GREENBEAN.


A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written around 1594 to 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, who are manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.



Our story begins with Theseus and Hippolyta getting ready for their grand wedding, then Egeus, father of Hermia comes along, whining to the head honcho Theseus about his daughter not wanting to marry this schmuck Demetrius, because she is in love with this nice guy named Lysander. Hippolyta stands by and is visibly perturbed about the ordeal, but doesn't really do anything about it. So, my first bone to pick with this is that it's kinda like your Dad running to the Mayor complaining about you not marrying someone he wants you to marry because you want to be with a woman. Okay, so it's not exactly like that, but you get the idea. Then to top it off, the father threatens to have his daughter executed or forced to become a nun if she does not do what he says. And again with the arranged marriage, and virginity bullshit. Charming. The other thing that's messed up, too, is the fact the at one point Demetrius was originally mackin' on Hermia's BFF Helena, then dropped her. Also the fact that Lysander is just as handsome, and well-to-do as Demetrius, so I don't know why Egeus has such a hard-on for Demetrius, because Lysander is just as good as he is for his daughter, if not better. Helena and Lysander decide to elope and run away into the forest, and live in another town.

Meanwhile, while all this drama is going on, we move along to the beginning of the "play within a play", segment of our play. A small group of everyday, average working joe-shmoes decide to do something somewhat noble and nice and put on a little show for the wedding. Bottom, Quince, Starveling, Snug, Flute, and Snout (all laymen with different occupations), not very educated, or sophisticated, but very sincere try their bestest at giving theatre a shot. They are very lousy at it, but it's quite humorous, and endearing.

Then the plot thickens. Deep in the forest we find the King and Queen of the fairies, Oberon, and Titania having a little bit of a marital riff. It involves all kinds of juiciness. Stuff about infidelity, she was creepin', he was playin' her, etc. She has an Indian prince that he wants as a servant, and she's saying no. It gets wicked. Imagine those teeny, tiny, fairy fights. Well, I don't really know if they are tiny, but they're FAIRIES. You're probably thinking, "Pshh, what can they do? A bunch of fairies." After reading this, you wouldn't wanna fuck with a fairy if you met one.

Next Helena ratted on Hermia to Demetrius, out of jealousy, so both of them go running into the forest, (in fairy territory), Demetrius running after Hermia, and Helena running after Demetrius. Poor girl, she is crazy, stupid, madly in love with this douchebag, and he wants nothing to do with her. At one point he even threatens to physically harm her if she doesn't stop following and doesn't go away. At this part, I almost hoped a rabid bear would have jumped out of the bushes and mauled his ass. She's just as beautiful, and nice as Hermia. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I hate when guys don't appreciate what they have. Anyways, Oberon sees and overhears EVERYTHING, and decides to help out this little maiden in distress. Oberon sends Puck out to find this little, purple magic love potion from a flower, supposedly made by Cupid himself to use on Titania, first to teach her a lesson, then second, to fall in love with him again (basically using it for them not to argue anymore), and also using the potion against Demetrius, so he'll fall in love with Helena again. For some reason, I am torn on this one. I don't like him using it on his wife, but I'm okay with him using it on Demetrius for Helena. I don't know, I feel Helena deserves to recieve that kind of fierce love, and as for Oberon and Titania, they just need some serious marriage counseling to settle their little fairy fights.

Okay, so I'm gonna try to do Act 3 in a nutshell. Well, sort of. The dumb laymen guys are in the forest rehearsing their little play, Puck comes along and decides he can't put up with their dumbness, so puts a spell on the main dumb ass Bottom, and turns his head into one of a donkey (an ass), funniest part about that is Bottom doesn't even notice he has changed, even though his friends have pretty much run for their lives, away from him. Oberon's spell, (which consists of squeezing the flower oil onto the eyelids of the unsuspecting victims while asleep, so when they wake, they fall in love with whoever they see first) he puts it on Titania and she falls for Bottom and his big, jackass head, and has all her little fairy assistants at his every beck and call. Oberon orders Puck to do the same to Demetrius but instead Puck "accidently" puts the spell on Lysander. Lysander ditches Hermia for Helena, then Demetrius gets the spell, too, then both are after Helena, and EVERYTHING is just all fucked up now. Finally, Lysander gets one more squirt of the flower, and he is back in Hermia's arms again. I'll tell ya', I wish I could get my hands on a Love Potion Number 9 like that.

Finally, Oberon re-spells Titania back into being in love with him, which is a good thing because Bottom was getting just a little too cozy being so spoiled by the Queen of the Fairies. Theseus, Egeus, and company go off to the forest looking for Hermia and find the funny foursome sleeping in the woods. Funny thing though, I could've sworn that Lysander saw one of the guys first when he woke up, but didn't fall in love for them. I guess it's just a heterosexual spell.

Bottom comes back to his crew, minus the jackass head, because Puck finally took it off him. The wedding happens, which now turns into a TRIPLE wedding, (might as well), and Theseus decides to choose the laymen's play as their entertainment. It then mainly consists of two lovers who talk to each other through a wall, in the moonlight. There's a lion. It roars. The hero thinks the girl was killed by a lion and kills himself. The girl finds the guy dead. She kills herself, too. The end. Very Romeo & Juliet. Surprise, surprise. Apparently the acting, and the whole play sucked, but they gave it a chance.

In the end, the King and Queen fairies do a little fairy song and dance and live happily ever after while Puck says adieu to the audience, and you figure he will probably continue his shenanigans, and all the lovers who were lost in the forest believe it was all just a midsummer night's dream.

Makes me want to break into "Grease"'s, "...those summmmer NIGGGGHTS..."

The end.

Next up, OTHELLO.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Rant With An Elizabethan Slant #1



It has been brought to my attention that some folks may not consider the "No Fear" Shakespeare series or anything resembling it or the fact that it is created by the makers of "Sparknotes", "real" Shakespeare reading. What exactly is not "real" about it? What constitutes "real" Shakespeare reading?

I find this insulting. I made it known that in fact the books DO contain the entire original texts of his works, as well as the translation into modern day English.

What is this unnecessary stigma on these types of books? Not that I'm a big fan of it, but this is also how I read the Bible. The New, International Version.

First of all, a quick note on "Cliff Notes" and all the rest considered "cheat sheets". Personally, I've never used them, because I always liked to read the actual book. But that's just me. To each their own. As far as THAT issue is concerned, I think it's better than NOTHING. I run a monthly book club, and if someone decided to bring one of those to the meeting, I'd be fine with that. It's at least one hour they took into reading that instead of watching "Dancing With The Stars".

Second, I believe there is nothing wrong with reading certain books or works from certain authors whose language you may not understand in a format you can easily comprehend. I mean, seriously, what is the harm in that? I think it would be wrong attempting to read it, knowing you don't understand it. A lot of us grow up learning about Shakespeare in school, then grow out of it, and choose not to continue reading his work. I think we'd enjoy it a lot more when we are given a chance to understand it. I believe most people don't appreciate Shakespeare just because they can't understand what he's saying. When I hear people say, "I hate Shakespeare." I think to myself, "Yeah, it's probably because you don't get it."

Finally, I don't like pretending to know about something if I really don't. If I don't know, I don't have a problem asking questions, or just saying, "I don't know." For those who do naturally understand without any translation, and speak, read, and write fluent "Elizabethen", congratulations to you. Some of us aren't that gifted. Myself included. I admit, (from my first entry, the intro) how I read it. I make no apologies for that.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Romeo & Juliet




ROMEO: "The son and heir of Montague and Lady Montague" -- About 16 years old, he's young, handsome, intelligent, passionate, and sensitive. He's a lover, not a fighter. A little impulsive, and immature, but very likeable character. Wants nothing to do with the family feud going on between his familia and the Capulets.

JULIET: "The daughter of Capulet, and Lady Capulet." -- About 13 years old. She starts off as a naive kid wanting to do nothing with marriage, which all changes quickly when she meets Romeo. Being the girl, she doesn't have the freedom to do whatever she wants like Romeo such as climbing walls, and playing with swords.

FRIAR LAWRENCE: "A Franciscan friar", -- the kids' priest, and guidance counselor. He's the one who secretly marries the two. Apparently he's also an expert on "mystical potions and herbs". Kinda like a Wiccan...or pot grower.

MERCUTIO: "A kinsman to the Prince, and Romeo's close friend". -- Very witty, funny, intelligent, imaginative, and sarcastic. The most fun character in the play, and the one who makes the most sense. He pokes fun at Romeo's romantic ideas about love, and tries to teach him about the real world. He's my FAVORITE character in the play.

TYBALT: "A Capulet, Juliet's cousin on her Mother's side." -- All about fashion and reputation. Aggressive, violent, and quick to draw the sword (which he's an expert on) at the drop of a hat. In other words, he's shallow, and he's an asshole. He HATES the Montagues, probably more than any other character in the play.

THE NURSE: "Juliet's nurse" -- a.k.a REAL Mom, being that she's the one who raised her, and even BREAST FED her when she was a baby.

Now what mother would hire her baby-sitter to breast feed her own child? Oy vey.

She is a rough around the edges, kind of vulgar type of gal. She is Juliet's loyal confidante until towards the end when her and Juliet have an argument about Juliet risking everything to be with Romeo.

CAPULET: "The patriarch of the Capulet family, father of Juliet, husband of Lady Capulet, and longtime enemy of Montague" -- The 'Gambino' of the Capulets. Loves his daughter, tries to do what's for her 'own good', and thinks he knows her. Has a tendency to have a fit when she doesn't do what he says. Sterotypical Dad.

LADY CAPULET: "Juliet's mother, Capulet's wife" -- Too busy throwing fancy parties and worrying about what to wear, that she doesn't really know her daughter, is not affectionate, didn't really raise her, and completely relies on the nurse ('The Nanny') to take care of her. The stereotypical richie rich, absentee Mom.

MONTAGUE: "Romeo's father, the patriarch of the Montague clan and bitter enemy of Capulet" -- The 'Gotti' of the Montagues. In the beginning of the play, Dad is just worried about his son's depression, knowing pretty much it's over a girl.

LADY MONTAGUE: "Romeo's mother, Montague's wife". -- Apparently she dies of "grief" after Romeo is exiled from Verona. How do people die of 'grief'? I think she already had some medical issues going on...

PARIS: "A kinsman of the Prince, and the suitor of Juliet most preferred by Capulet" -- The most eligible bachelor in Verona. Handsome, rich, and successful, so of course her family tries to make her marry him against her own will. Once the family promises Juliet to him, he starts acting like they're already married. Doesn't take the hints that Juliet really doesn't want him. Completely oblivious to the way she reacts, or doesn't react towards him. The total 'how can she NOT love me, I'm too good for her', type of denial.

BENVOLIO: "Montague's nephew, Romeo's cousin, and thoughtful friend" -- He's the nice guy, always trying to break up fights, although Mercutio says he has a bad temper in private. His name comes from benevolent.

PRINCE ESCALUS: "The Prince of Verona. A kinsman of Mercutio and Paris" -- Basically, the police chief in the town, who's failed attempts try to keep peace in Verona.

FRIAR JOHN: "A Franciscan friar charged by Friar Lawrence with taking the news of Juliet's false death to Romeo in Mantua" (the town he goes to after being banished) -- Things go REALLY super bad when he's held up in a 'quarantined house' and the message never gets to Romeo.

BALTHASAR: "Romeo's dedicated servant" -- a.k.a personal assistant, who brings Romeo's news of Juliet's 'death', not knowing it's a fake death she and Friar Lawrence created to get everybody off her ass about marrying Paris, so she can run away and live happily ever after with Romeo.

SAMPSON AND GREGORY: "Two servants of the house of Capulet" -- A couple of bumbling, loyal followers of the Capulets who like to provoke and instigate the Montagues into fights.

ABRAHAM: "Montague's servant" -- The Gambino's personal assistant who fights with Sampson and Gregory in the first scene of the play.

THE APOTHECARY: "An apothecary in Mantua" -- a.k.a the local drug dealer who sells poison to Romeo.

PETER: "A Capulet servant who invites guests to Capulet's feast" -- The one who gets everybody to the big party, and who's basically a servant to the Nurse.

ROSALINE: "The woman with whom Romeo is infatuated at the beginning of the play" -- You NEVER see this character in the whole play, apparently she's supposed to be hot, but basically wants to be left alone to become a nun. Romeo forgets about her right away after seeing Juliet. Goes to show how fleeting young love is.

THE CHORUS: "The Chorus is a single character who functions as the narrator" -- The story teller in the play, also gives commentary here and there.


Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young "star-cross'd lovers"[1] whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet and Macbeth, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers.
Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562, and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1582. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both but, to expand the plot, developed supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris. Believed written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. This text was of poor quality, and later editions corrected it, bringing it more in line with Shakespeare's original.
Shakespeare's use of dramatic structure, especially effects such as switching between comedy and tragedy to heighten tension, his expansion of minor characters, and his use of sub-plots to embellish the story, has been praised as an early sign of his dramatic skill. The play ascribes different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops. Romeo, for example, grows more adept at the sonnet over the course of the play.
Romeo and Juliet has been adapted numerous times for stage, film, musical and opera. During the Restoration, it was revived and heavily revised by William Davenant. David Garrick's 18th-century version also modified several scenes, removing material then considered indecent, and Georg Benda's operatic adaptation omitted much of the action and added a happy ending. Performances in the 19th century, including Charlotte Cushman's, restored the original text, and focused on greater realism. John Gielgud's 1935 version kept very close to Shakespeare's text, and used Elizabethan costumes and staging to enhance the drama. In the 20th century the play has been adapted in versions as diverse as MGM's comparatively faithful 1936 film, the 1950s stage musical West Side Story, and 1996's MTV-inspired Romeo + Juliet.

~ wikipedia


Oh where should I start? Let me count the issues. It begins with the "Chorus" (the narrator basically telling us the whole story in a nutshell. A spoiler, letting us know the two kids in the play are ultimately gonna die.

A couple of things I'd like to add before I break it down. I love the poetry in the story telling. All the ryhming is really fun. It's a little too dramatic at some points, the "Oh God, that's so dramatic..." (insert rolling the eyes). Moving along...

Gregory and Sampson, two hangers-on of the Capulet family with something to prove start a fight with some Montagues in the streets of Verona. They "bite their thumbs" at their foes, the equivalent of sticking your middle finger up at somebody. The clash that follows shows the intense feud between both families, which by the way at NO point of the play does Will ever explain why these two families hate each other so much. Personally, I think it's like a Mafia thing.

The one thing I did NOT like about this is the way both fellows joke among themselves about raping Montague women in an attempt to show their superiority over their enemy. Apparently, not much has changed in that way of thinking when it comes to war.

Then we see Paris trying to win the heart of young Juliet...through her parents. How romantical. He convinces Mama and Papa Capulet that she is not too young to wed, and of course they agree. Juliet whines to her Nurse that she's not trying to hear it. Lovely how these arranged marriages work. Who says suicide is not an option?

Meanwhile, Romeo is moping around like a typical teenager who thinks he's in love pining for some girl named Rosaline, (who we NEVER actually see in the play). It could be his imaginary friend or blow up doll for all we know. His closest friends Benvolio, and Mercutio attempt to cheer him up, by doing what guys do. Take him out for a night on the town to meet other females. What they don't realize what they actually do is seal his fate by setting him up to meet Juliet, which changes everything. While crashing a big, Capulet party that night Romeo and Juliet fall in love at first sight, then they realize they are supposed to be enemies and there goes the neighborhood.

Ahh, the famous balcony scene. It's been imitated, duplicated, re-made, and re-done a thousand ways. The epitome of romance. Whether it's a fancy balcony, a fire escape, or the back door. The symbol of forbidden love. It always looks much nicer in the movies. This is when the two young lovers confirm their undying love. Hey, they've already known each for at least a few hours so this is for real. C'mon, 16 and 13 years old? They should be listening to Justin Bieber, and playing with Playstation 4.

The next day Romeo goes to his trusty Friar Lawrence to tell him he's already forgotten all about Rosaline and is now in love with Juliet, and he REALLY means it this time! He makes the Friar marry them, (in secret, with the help of Juliet's nurse). This little secret rendezvous ends up biting them all in the ass later on.

While all this is happening, Romeo's friends are looking for him, having no idea what's going on. Mercutio being my favorite, seems to really understand human nature and throughout the play tries to talk some sense into Romeo, and explain how the real world works because this lad is truly in his own la la land.

Later on hot-headed Tybalt comes around, itching to get a piece of Romeo since he and his compadres crashed his family's party and runs into Mercutio and Benvolio and they get into a bit of a scuffle. Enter Romeo ala a little too late because it's already started when he tries to break it up and lets the cat out of the bag about him and Juliet. He makes an effort to make nice with the Capulet which in turn disgusts Mercutio and he and Tybalt get into it again. Romeo's attempt to break them up again gets Mercutio shanked. I must say for me this is that saddest part of the play, even more so than the ending itself. I figure, Mercutio got wacked trying to defend that little shmuck, and he knows it, so I don't blame him for saying my favorite line in the play, "A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!" I would of thought the same thing except I woulda been like, "FUCK! This is what I get for standing up for you, you little asshole! The hell with both of you!"

Romeo then goes after Tybalt, and avenges his friend's death, then realizes what he's done when he thinks of Juliet and runs off. The authorities arrive on the scene and proclaim that Romeo is banished. He actually got off easy, because according to Verona law, he should have gotten the death penalty. A note here about revenge and so on. There seems to be a long running joke among the guys about being a sissy, and not wanting to fight and so on, so basically they are saying, violence/fighting/aggression etc, = men. Non-violence/peace/love, etc, = sissy/gay. Way to go for good role models for young males. Too much of this display of testosterone makes one suspicious of the possible homo-erotic tendencies of all the above mentioned men. And what's up with all these boys carrying and waving all these weapons around. Aren't they a little too young to be armed and dangerous? Where the hell are the cops when you need them?

While all this ruckus is going on Capulet Mom and Dad are planning Juliet's wedding to Paris for her, (not knowing she's already married). Good timing people, let's do that after a relative's funeral. Juliet learns of Tybalt's murder but is more distressed about Romeo's banishment than she is of her cousin's death, and apparently it doesn't make her love Romeo any less. While Friar Lawrence is hiding out Romeo, Juliet gets into a fight with her Dad about marrying Paris. Capulet is forcing Juliet to marry Paris like, the that same week, if she doesn't, he basically threatens to disown her. I hate the Dad at this point of the play. He really doesn't know what he's doing. He's pretty much sending her to her death bed at this point. Well, not that he would know that. In the middle of the night, Romeo sneaks into Juliet's room and they do it, vow their undying love to each other again, and say they'll figure something out, and keep in touch, via their accomplices. Once again, the issue of virginity pops up again. It's always about the freakin' virginity. You HAVE to be white as snow when you get married, or else you are pretty much useless whore.

Next we see a desperate Juliet at the Friar's place telling him that if he doesn't figure out something for her to do to get out of this second marriage, she's going to kill herself. Also desperate for a solution, the Friar Lawrence gives Juliet a potion that's the equivalent of a serious rufie to make it look like she died, then Romeo can hook up with her later and they can live out their life in Mantua, Romeo's new town. That's pretty bad, when you have to fake your own suicide so everyone can get off your ass. Apparently, it works, that night she takes it, and the next morning they all find her "dead". Marriage cancelled due to technical difficulties. Please stand by.

Now part of the plan was also for Friar's buddy and fellow Friar, Friar John to let Romeo know about it. Evidently, he gets caught up in some town and never makes it to Romeo, meaning the message never got to him. This is bad. Romeo finds out (mistakingly) through his assistant Balthasar that Juliet has died. Of course, this devastates him, and he goes running to the closest crack-head and dope dealer for a vial of poison to kill himself, next to Juliet.

An uber frazzled Romeo goes running to see Juliet, and bumps into Paris who is visiting her grave, Paris gets in Romeo's way, they get into a conflict, and Romeo kills Paris. Paris, that poor shmuck. He had NO clue what was going on.

Romeo gives Juliet a final kiss, and drinks the poison, and drops dead. Friar Lawrence, and Balthasar finally get to the scene, when Juliet wakes up and finds her Romeo dead, and refuses to leave the tomb. They all run away leaving Juliet alone when they hear the popo coming near, she then takes her own life with a dagger, (and dies for real this time).

Everyone shows up at the locale, Prince Escalus, Capulet, Montague, ERR' BODY. They discover the grisly scene, round up the ones who ran away who fess up to everything they know, and realize it took a couple of teen suicides, and then some, to settle their differences. Hard lesson learned. Like the Prince says, they ALL lost. Nobody wins.

It makes me angry reading that last part. Unfortunetly, sometimes it takes something extreme like that for some people to change their ways. I think to myself. "This all could have been so avoided. People are stupid."

The end.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

A.K.A Much Ado About Bochinche*

(*spanish for gossip)


BEATRICE: The "niece of Leonato and cousin of Hero". -- One of the most "modern" women you'll find in Shakespeare's works. She's witty, intelligent, funny, makes fun of everybody, including herself, and wants nothing to do with having a husband. In other words, the kind of woman who would intimidate most of the men in her time, (even our time), so of course, she is my FAVORITE.

BENEDICK: Described as a "gentleman" soldier who has been fighting under Don Pedro, and a close friend of Don Pedro and Claudio. -- Ditto on everything I said about Beatrice pretty much applies to Benedick, including him not wanting a wife. Mostly because he doesn't trust women. I wondered if Bill put the "DICK" in BeneDICK on purpose but in those times I don't think that slang term was around...

CLAUDIO: A young buck soldier who apparently did a good job in the war who also fought under Don Pedro. --- Nice enough guy, but also a gullible, and insecure shmuck you want to smack around.

HERO: "The beautiful young daughter" of Leonato with the unusual name. Seriously, Hero?! , and Beatrice's cousin. --- She's described as "gentle and innocent". Translation: young, stupid, and does everything her Daddy says.

DON PEDRO: A "very important nobleman from Aragon, often referred to as 'the Prince'. Longtime friend of Leonato, Hero's father. He is the most politically, and socially powerful character in the play". --- In other words, he cool, but don't fuck with him. He's the "Godfather".

LEONATO: the "father of Hero and the uncle of Beatrice. Governor of Messina." (where this all takes place). --- Another big honcho on the scene. Only comes second to Don Pedro.

DON JOHN: "Don Pedro's illegitimate half brother, sometimes referred to as 'the bastard'" --- and rightly so, he's the dirty, rotten, scoundrel who starts all this mess in the first place, just cuz he's hatin' on his brother.

MARGARET: "Hero's serving woman", a.k.a personal slave. --- She's the one who unknowingly helps the bastard brother and his dirtbag friend Borachio into deceiving Claudio into thinking Hero is a slut.

BORACHIO: (in Italian AND Spanish means "drunkard") "An associate of Don John, and lover of Margaret, Hero's serving woman." --- He's the dirtbag that's Don John's lackey.

CONRAD: "One of Don John's intimate associates" --- another lackey.

DOGBERRY: "The chief policeman of Messina" --- He's the sincere head Popo. He really tries, but he's an idiot. However, him and his homie Verges are funny.

VERGES: "The deputy to Dogberry" --- He's an idiot, too.

ANTONIO: Leonato's older brother, and Hero and Beatrice's uncle. --- He's okay, doesn't say too much in the play.

BALTHASAR: "a waiting man in Leonato's household, and musician" --- some assistant and entertainer who helps Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro trick Benedick into falling for Beatrice. The little song he sings that they keep singing throughout the play I will get into that...

URSULA: Some other personal assistant of Hero's, because apparently she needs more than one...


Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare about two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice are engaged in a "merry war"; they both talk a mile a minute and proclaim their scorn for love, marriage, and each other. In contrast, Claudio and Hero are sweet young people who are rendered practically speechless by their love for one another. By means of "noting" (which sounds the same as "nothing," and which is gossip, rumor, and overhearing), Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar. However, Dogberry, a Constable who is a master of malapropisms, discovers—unbeknownst to himself—the evil trickery of the villain, the bastard Don John. In the end, Don John is captured and everyone else joins in a dance celebrating the marriages of the two couples.

~ wikipedia


So these soldiers come back from the war, Don Pedro, Don John, Claudio, and Benedick to the town of Messina. Big hero's welcome, etc, etc, etc. Claudio and Hero fall head over heals for each other at first sight, because that's the way it works, right? Yeah right. Stupid kids. Leonato seems to be more than a little too eager to give his daughter away to some dude he doesn't even know. I find that a little disturbing. Because what? He's a soldier? He could be some raging alcoholic who'll end up beating her ass later. Moving right along..

Benedick and Beatrice, who you can tell in my "cast of characters" are very much a like, so you know they will probably end up together in the end, because there has to be a "happy ending". Their banter reminds me of Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepard in "Moonlighting". I must say, they are my favorite part of the play. Beatrice, being a woman after my own heart, and dear old Benedick, as much as I would love to hate him but I can't. He's just too freakin' cute, maybe because he reminds me of myself. I feel ya' B, I don't trust my gender either.

The ball scene is cute. Although part of me was saying,"Claudio, just talk to Hero yourself, you big wussy! You need someone else to 'whoo'her for you? You can be in a war, but you can't talk to some chick? Grow some cojones, kiddo."

And the song they keep singing and dancing to throughout the play, "Sigh no more ladies", basically telling women they need to accept men for being the filthy, cheating dogs that they are. Um, I don't think so.

Everything seems to be going just dandy when the bastard brother Don John decides he can't take anybody around him being happy so he schemes to ruin Claudio's mack on Hero. Now I can understand to a certain extent Don John being so bitter about being called "the bastard" because he was the love child, but he just makes it worse for himself so it's difficult to feel sorry for him. He uses his flunkies Borachio, and Conrad to do his dirty work for him, and poor dumb Margaret gets caught up in the whole disarray just because she got the hots for that loser Borachio. As soon as the plan starts going to shit, Don John skips town.

The "plan" is to make Hero look like a big hussy so Claudio won't love her anymore. Tsk, tsk, tsk. People and their gossip. I don't think things have changed much since then. Except now we have the tabloid magazines, TMZ, and the Wendy Williams Show.

First of all, if Claudio really loved her, he shouldn't be believing any of that crap in the first place. Second, when Claudio disgraces Hero in front of everyone at the wedding she shoulda punched him in the head for it. I woulda been like, "So, that's what you want to believe? and you say you don't love me anymore? Well, FUCK YOU then!"

Then the icing on the cake is when Hero's father Leonato believes the hype as well and turns on his daughter, wanting to beat her down in front of the whole town. You want to kill your only child because you think she's not a virgin? What the fuck is that about? When I went to see this play with some friends not too long ago, one of my fellow feminist friends that sat next to me, well, I could tell at some moments she was getting upset. Probably because I heard her mumbling about it. Another friend who was there attempted to console her by saying, "it's not real.It's a play." The sad fact is, there are women in today's day and age around the world that are STILL getting scolded, scorned, and stoned for their sexuality. That's happened here in the U.S. Now you see folks, this is exactly the type of bullshit that makes a lot of young female readers not like Shakespeare. Especially, young feminists. Why should they? Plenty of it is sexist, AND racist as well.

Speaking of that, I noticed some parts of it talking about how lighter is fairer, and dark is not, and blah, blah, blah. Say what?! I'd read those parts and think to myself, "wow, this is so wrong." I don't care what they say, I'll take a nice lookin' mocha chocolatta ya ya any day.

Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice get "tricked" into falling in love with each other with a little help from their friends. Honestly, I think that would have happened regardless of their friends' match-making shenanigans. Clearly, you can see the attraction from the start, and in spite of them fighting against it, you can see that iceberg coming from a mile away.

One of the ways Hero's delicate reputation is "saved" is by pretending she has passed away. Yes, everyone, she is no longer worthy for any man, so she might as well be dead, right? Whoa. That's a major, "damn, that is fucked up." But hey, it seems to work, Claudio is so jammed with guilt, especially when he discovers the truth, that he blindly agrees to marry someone who is supposed to be Hero's "relative" that LOOKS like her just to redeem himself. She then reveals herself to him like, "Voila, it's really me. I had to "die" so my whore image could die too, but I'm really here! Yay! Now we can get married!"

After all this "Three's Company" like misunderstanding and miscommunication, in the end the two young lovers wed and B & B involuntarily and accidently confess their love to each other and all is well, and everybody breaks into dancin' in the streets like nothin' ever happened.

The end.

SIDENOTE: In Shakespeare's time, women were not allowed to be actors, so the men played the women's roles. The play we saw had women playing men's roles i.e Dogberry, Verges, and Conrad. Sweet.

Sunday, August 29, 2010



UNTAMED: — adj not cultivated, domesticated, or controlled.

SHREW: 2- an ill-tempered scolding woman

Synonyms: battle-ax (or battle-axe), dragon lady, fury, harpy, harridan, termagant, virago, vixen

Related Words: fishwife, gorgon; carper, castigator, caviler (or caviller), censurer, critic, faultfinder, nitpicker, railer, scold; belittler, derider, detractor; pettifogger, quibbler[+]more

Now for some Shakespeare analysis that offers a little somethin' somethin' different. I will dissect and examine all the Bard's works through a Feminist's lens, a twist of ethnic intellectuality, and a splash of Lesbi-tonic.

DISCLAIMERS: I am by no means an expert on the subject nor will I pretend to be. I am not some hoighty-toighty, bow-tie wearing Professor Pitstain from blah, blah, blah Ivy League University with yada, yada, yada credentials or anything like that, so please, do not use this blog as cliff-notes for your school paper. You will FAIL, epically, if you attempt to do so. You are reading a blog from someone who reads books like, "Shakespeare For Dummies", and the "No Fear Shakespeare" series, so you have been warned.

The opinions of this blog are not necessarily...anyone else's. Just mine. I consider this to be my very own, open, personal Shakespeare journal, so I will be as judgemental as I please. Don't get me wrong. I am a HUGE fan, or else I would not have bothered with this. I enjoy his goods immensely, however, I believe there is much that can be learned from it all, if we really take the time to look and think about it.

I am going to take every single play: comedy, tragedy, and histories, and his sonnets, and break it down, my way. To give you an idea of what the "table of contents" will be like each time, it will go something like this: (whenever and wherever applicable) 1 - LIST OF THE CAST, 2 - SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY, 3- MY ANALYSIS. As simple as that. Take it for what it is.

So, if you can deal with what will probably be a pretty biased, opinionated, and quite possibly at times crude critique and commentary, then welcome!

Hey, I ain't the "Untamed Shrew" for nothin'.