The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Joys of Live Theater

So, in proofreading, I need music, but not music that is too challenging or so engrossing that it pulls me out of the weird zen state--something a little frivolous, say. Pandora served up some interesting varieties, and that led me to discover this:

Yeah, the chorus-singer takes over the female lead for the ailing Barbara Dickson, and nails it.

The clip reminds me of something that happened to my old friend known on the blog as Athos. In the days before I came to Fordham, and Athos was an undergraduate, he was cast as Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew. Now, Tranio is the servant of Lucentio, and they open up the play-within-the-play, with Lucentio's monologue about why they are arriving in Padua in the first bloody place. Well, the production dropped the frame story, and just opened up with Lucentio and Tranio, who came out on stage.

On opening night, they made their entrance, and Lucnetio drifted moodily about the set, taking out his sword, swishing it about, but ….not saying the opening lines. After a few minutes, Athos prompted him, asking "Whyfor, my lord, fairest we to Padua?"


Lucentio: Oh, I don't know.

You or I, Gentle Reader, might have acted reasonably. Turned on our heel and left, say, or sung some Elizabethan ditty with a lot of hey-nonny-nonnies, and hoped to God that the blockhead would snap out of it. Not Athos. I am informed (and not by him) that what he did was this:

My lord, hastthou not oft expressed the great desire thou hadst
To see fair Padua, nursery of arts,
We are arrived for fruitful Lombardy,
The pleasant garden of great Italy;
And by thy father's love and leave are arm'd
With his good will and my good company,
thy trusty servant, well approved in all,
Here let us breathe and haply institute
A course of learning and ingenious studies.
Pisa renown'd for grave citizens
Gave thee thy being and thy father first,
A merchant of great traffic through the world,
Vincetino come of Bentivolii.
Vincetino's son brought up in Florence
It shall become to serve all hopes conceived,
To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds:
And therefore, my lord, for the time you study,
Virtue and that part of philosophy
Will thou apply that treats of happiness
By virtue specially to be achieved.
Tell me thy mind; for thou hast Pisa left
And art to Padua come, as he that leaves
A shallow plash to plunge him in the deep
And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst.
A good save, no?

Alas, the next passage belonged to Tranio, so Athos continued:
And indeed, gentle master mine,
I am in all affected as yourself;
Glad that you thus continue your resolve
To suck the sweets of sweet philosophy.
Only, good master, while we do admire
This virtue and this moral discipline,
Let's be no stoics nor no stocks, I pray;
Or so devote to Aristotle's cheques
As Ovid be an outcast quite abjured:
Balk logic with acquaintance that you have
And practise rhetoric in your common talk;
Music and poesy use to quicken you;
The mathematics and the metaphysics,
Fall to them as you find your stomach serves you;
No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en:
In brief, sir, study what you most affect.
If only Luecentio had not replied, "Well said!" and feinted an attack on on stage fern. But, alas, he did. Athos nobly went another round:
Perhaps, Master, we could at once put us in readiness,
And take a lodging fit to entertain
Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.
But stay a while: what company is this? Surely some show to welcome us to town.
Thereby winning the Karin Glenmark Award, some years before the lady herself created the title….

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