It all got in the way and hence the hiatus.
In that time, I had a rather stressful tech week, a really good opening week, and not very much sleep, got certified in First Aid, saw Much Ado About Nothing (OMGSOGOOD) and freaked out not a little about the fact that I am LEAVING IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.
It feels like I have simultaneously too much and too little time before I leave. There’s so many things to do and people to see before I leave, and time is moving fast and there’s not enough of it for everything, but at the same time I really just kind of want July 29th to come so I can start work, because I’ve been thinking about it and imagining how it will be since April, and I just want to find out already.
We only have four more shows for Twelfth Night, which in itself is another one of those weird feelings where it seems like we’ve been working on this forever and also like we just started (I guess that’s what short rehearsal periods do to you). This show has been an experience–both good and bad. The good: the people, and the play, and the size and consistent engagement of our audiences (especially the kids. We had a ton of kids laughing in the audience last night and it was the best). The bad: PUBLIC PARK. Interference from outside parties actually hasn’t been much of an issue for performances (probably because of official-looking set and lights and the number of people in the audience and the staff), but I gotta say guys, the set up and tear-down every night is wearing on all of us a little bit, especially since our storage is at the top of a hill and the set is at the bottom. I was saying to a friend yesterday, it’s like being on tour, except that we don’t actually go anywhere. I shouldn’t complain too much, because with all of us working it actually only takes about forty minutes tops to set up and thirty to strike, which is actually not much time. But I will be so happy to work on a show where I can set things and then they STAY THERE.
Lastly, let’s go back for a minute to Much Ado About Nothing:
My favorite Shakespeare play. Made into a film by Joss Whedon. Let me tell you, to say I was excited about this when I first heard about it is a gross understatement. I was also not a little apprehensive, because when two things you love a lot come together, things could go really well, but if they go badly it’s that much more painful because you love both things so much.
Well, I needn’t have worried. Much Ado was AWESOME. First, it was really pretty, and the black and white film really worked well with the setting. But I have to admit that I wasn’t paying much attention to the scenery or the look as much as I sometimes do, because I was too busy being fascinated and impressed by how well this adaptation worked.
Adapting Shakespeare to modern day is something that people do quite often, but it’s actually really difficult to do well. There’s all kinds of lines that don’t make sense when taken out of the original context, and you basically have to go through and find parallels and ways to make it all fit. But this one really worked, in more ways than I can list here, from making one of Don John’s henchmen a woman (evil couple is somehow way more interesting than two evil dudes) to Benedick cringing when Claudio makes a racist comment.
My favorite part was, of course Benedick and Beatrice. Even though their plot is technically a side plot, they are the reason people like this play. Benedick and Beatrice make Much Ado the original romantic comedy, from the classic banter and bickering to being tricked into admitting their love for each other. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof were brilliant, of course (though I think Kenneth Branagh still wins as my favorite Benedick), but what I loved so much about this interpretation was that it made them such a believable couple. There’s a bit in the text that implies that Benedick and Beatrice have a history, and Joss took that and ran with it–the film starts with a scene (implied to be a while before the main action of the play) of Benedick leaving Beatrice in bed without a word, thinking she’s still asleep (spoiler: she’s not). It was so simple and so painful and it made all their subsequent interactions so much more interesting, because you could see that incident hanging between them.
My second favorite was surprising: Dogberry. I’m not a big fan of the Dogberry scenes, possibly because I always think of Michael Keaton’s interpretation (in the 1996 film) which I never really liked. But Nathan Fillion’s Dogberry was perfect: he was played as the clueless head of security with Verges (Tom Lenk) as his smarter subordinate trying to keep things going. I think it worked so well in part because it was played very understated and natural, but also because it was so believable–the guy in the suit is a bumbling idiot, and the guys under him try to figure out what actually needs to happen without contradicting the boss directly. Also, Nathan Fillion is really really good at playing a doofus (see: Captain Hammer), which is funny considering he’s also really good at playing smart (see: Castle, Firefly, etc.)
I could go on with all the other things I loved (Borachio being in love with Hero, the really understated use of technology) but instead I will end with this conclusion: if you are into Shakespeare, go see this film. If you’re not into Shakespeare…go see this film. It really is fantastic.