Since the graph of my views per day is looking exactly like the stock market right now I’m forced to take emergency actions to inspire readership. Are you ready? Because if you’re not ready you can go click on NPR or the NRA or something else that you can handle. But if you’re feeling bold and you don’t mind me spoiling some of the funnier parts of last nights outdoor theater experience read on. That’s right, I’m upping my game with a theatre review and with alternating spellings of theater.
Last night Hugh (Happy Birthday Hugh Dog!) dragged me and my bottomless Home Depot bag full of picnic goodies to the Montford Park Players performance of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. I thought maybe it would be some sort of wikipedia-based performance art and a good excuse to drink wine out of a mason jar and top soft cheese and bread w/ McLure’s Mayhaw pepperjelly. That’s pretty much how it turned out, only it was WAY more energetic and clever and silly hi-larious than Shakespeare has ever been before.
Stop reading now if your memory is long or you plan to see this show soon.
Prepare yourself for a play that shifts madly between the depth and breadth of the Completeness. To do the theatrically undoable there are meta-plays, time reversals, work stoppages and kidnappings. Motor vehicles are involved, and beverages are commandeered.
The entire caper is pulled off, on the acting side, by three inexhaustible men, each filling a necessary character niche. The one hiding in the audience looked pretty good in a wig so he got almost all the female roles. He looked good enough bewigged to pass as theatrically female but Monty Python enough to keep me from being sexually confused. The second guy had a shaved head and short beard and specialized in dramatic intensity. The third guy was the prerequisite big guy with booming voice. He had a powerful mojo that compensated for many of the missing actors and characters and his gay Chris Farley-esque Romeo was just fantastic.
The Montford Park theater is under a terraced hill hidden by a ridge of pine trees behind some baseball diamonds. I’d only been there once before to check out the hundreds of zombies milling about before the annual zombie parade. I can still remember cresting the ridge to discover a time-killing metal band on the stage and the horde of zombies below. Zombie Brides were popular that year. I digress. Each terrace is wide enough to set up chairs or sprawl out with a picnic. The stage itself is this overgrown tree fort that kind of looks like a landlocked pirate ship minus the masts and rigging.
Those 3 poor bastards must have burned a zillion calories with all the voice projection and costume changes and running up terraces to interact with the audience. There were endless literary jokes and plays on plays but my favorite bit was when bearded wig and gown guy would get pretend-sick all over the audience and their belongings. He did this as a poisoned Juliet and as Ophelia sickened by emotional turmoil and right now I’m drawing a blank on any other vomititious heroines but I’m sure I’m missing several. Projectile vomit mode involved lots of running around in dresses spewing (deep voiced BLAAAAAAAHHHH!) into faces and boots and purses and water bottles which were uncapped, spewed into (BLAAAAAAAHHHH!), and then recapped. At one point something really precious was spewed into because when he grabbed the tupper and did his thing there was a simultaneous mighty groan from five or six picnickers. Good stuff.
There’s plenty of funny and clever bits I didn’t reveal in case you change your mind about attending. I’d leave the house every week to sit in the park on Tia Esther (that’s our picnic blanket named after the aunt we inherited her from) and drink just enough to better soak up all the silly projected from the stage and then bounced around and amplified by the hillside and all the merrymakers lounging on it.
Thank you MPP, if you happen to read this, for fostering community and bringing the funny!