Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shakespeare farce in Phoenixville

Last evening Linda and I went to see Shakespeare in Hollywood at the Forge theater in Phoenixville. It's quite an amusing little farce - based on an actual film of Midsummers Night's Dream which was produced in Hollywood in 1935.

I just googled the 1935 film and learned that it did indeed star James Cagney, Olivia DeHaviland and Dick Powell, among others. Linda mentioned after the play that we're going to have to seek out the film and see it one of these days.

I recommend the play if you can get to Phoenixville to see it by October 4th. Tis true it's written about like a typical high schooler's satire, but then Shakespeare's play itself has a plot like a typical high schooler written satire. Midsummers Night's Dream is the one where a character is changed into a jackass and in which a magic spell causes characters to fall into hopeless love with the first person they see when they wake up. Of course, Shakespeare's play may be a smidgen better written than a typical high schooler's if you can handle all that iambic pentameter stuff.

Have I mentioned that I wrote a play back in high school, and even published it on the school mimeo machine? There was no iambic pentameter; but there was a fair run of poetry in one rather humorous scene. It was overwhelmingly well received by the cast and a small audience at its first reading. And it garnered quite a bit of word of mouth. That play could well have had a run like Midsummers Night's Dream had it not been altogether less well received by the principal and head disciplinarian when the word of mouth reached them. Alas, it never opened to wider audiences, and all the mimeo copies were rudely destroyed by the book burners. Worst was that all of our study halls, and all of our detention hours, were closely monitored after that, eliminating all scope for creativity.

Anyway, enough of life's little trials and the sacrifices made for art. Here's a little sample of the 1935 film that's precious:

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