.... The Messy Mind of J'rod: A Midsummer Night's Play
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Monday, November 28, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Play

September 21, 2011


I've been busy. That's right, BUSY. I took last week off of work to perform in A Midsummer Night's Dream with UC Follies at the University of Toronto. I was Tom Snout, the Tinker... performing "Wall" in the play-within-the-play. I also played an Athenian and a fairy. Here's what'cha missed:

Against the traditional script, we began AMSND (A Midsummer... you get the acronym) with a battle between the Athenians and the Amazons. Shak, our director and Queen Titania (A.K.A. Big Tit) decided that some backstory was needed to show how Duke Theseus conquered the Amazons and took Hippolyta as his bride. ENTER LOUISA ZHU, fight choreographer.
We do some Matrix-style moves as we "duke" it out, leaving Theseus and Hippo to finally compete. THe dudes win, the chicks lose, and thus our play begins.
Stuff happens, I'm backstage (a la tent outside, because it was Shakespeare in the park, after all), Helena is drunk, Demetrius is surly, I must change into my "mechanicals" garb... and here comes my cue. HELENA: For ere Demetrius looked onto Hermia's eyne / He hailed down oaths that he was only mine... blah blah, chatter chatter, and here we go:
ACT 1 SCENE 2 QUINCE: Is all our company here? (Oh right, the director gave me Bottom's first three lines, because he decided that Bottom would be played by a woman who is trying to pretend she is a man so that she can be in the play. Lauren Goodman is playing the person playing Nick Bottom, who will play Pyramus in this play within a play. To show this we must have an "original" Nick Bottom, who {when we are distracted} is knocked out and dragged away. Lauren then puts on his hat and robe and pretends to be BOTTOM, thus, her/his first few lines are mine... YOU FOLLOW???!!!?? I think I lost me after the first sentence)


SNOUT: (sneering and belittling Quince) You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip. QUINCE: Line line line... wedding day at night. SNOUT: First, Good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on, then read the names of the actors and so grow to a point. QUINCE: Marry, pissed off lines, something about a play, and... SNOUT: A very good piece of work I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll. (And don't finish that line, the director cut it out because we are already sitting) More stuff is said, my line "Here Peter Quince" is cut off by Quince (who is actually also played by a woman - Liz - but is supposed to play it like a man, unlike Lauren, who is supposed to play Bottom as a woman who pretends to be a man) because he doesn't want me to talk anymore. More lines, and more, and more... we all say, "That would hang us, every mother's son!", which, in rehearsal we all said, "that would hang us, every motherfucker!"... more stuff about who should play what, and and and... the last line is given to me: SNOUT: Enough! Hold or cut bowstrings! (basically, "keep your word or give it up" or "just do it or don't bother)
Quick change... I'm a fairy in a mask and I play the drum. did I give myself a name? You bet'cha! The fairies are all named things like Peaseblossom, and Mustardseed, and Moth, and Cobweb. So, in AMSND tradition, my character's name was Cowpie. Okay, okay, so that was totally made up just now, and the only reason I'm telling you that is because something funnier than an elf named after turd came up in my research for a good name. Check it out: Thesaurus.com gives the following synonyms for "dung": cow pies, cowplop, crap, dung, feces, fertilizer, guano, manure, meadow muffin, night soil, ordure. CAN WE GO BACK TO "MEADOW MUFFIN"???!!! LSHIBAMF!!!!! Who uses the term "meadow muffin"? Well... this guy, from now on!
One more digression and then I'll get back to the play. I just felt that I had to explain Le She Bamf to you before we continue forth (LSHIBAMF). So there is LOL, "laugh out loud", or to most parents who don't know the lingo, but try hard to be cool, "lot's of love". There is LMAO, laugh my ass off; LMFAO, though also the name of a pop group that came out with the best hit of 2011, Party Rock Anthem (you have to see it with the video), also stands for "laugh my fucking ass off". ROFL means "roll on the floor laughing", and so I thought to add to the ridiculous and establish LSHIBAMF, "laughed so hard I broke all my furniture".  It works, think about it.

So fairy... I enter with Queen Titania, the Big Tit, playing my drum. I sit, then stand, then sit again, then there are some words I don't understand, and then I stand again. Then I play the drum and leave with Big Tit. At some point in the speech between King Oberon and Queen Titania, Bruce, who plays Oberon says, "Tarry, rash wanton; am not I thy lord?" The first time he read that he said "wonton" instead of "wanton". I shit myself, then LSHIBAMF.  I guess that calls for a new acronym: ISMTLSHIBAMF!
I become Snout again, and I wait for like, 15 minutes. ACT 3 SCENE 1: SNOUT: Are we all met? (the line was given to me, originally Bottom's) QUINCE: Yakkity-Yak. BOTTOM: Don't talk back. QUINCE: More stuff to say. BOTTOM: I think there is a problem with this play. (My line is given to SNUG the Joiner, and STARVELING's line is given to me. Ahem!) SNOUT: I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done. (I had notes written in my script like "terrorized" and "nervous", because I was to originally play the character like a fraidy-cat. Director Shak helped me to develop Snout as the pompous asshole that he is instead) Line for Bottom, then Quince, then Bottom... SNOUT: Will not the ladies be afeared of the lion? Snug, Bottom talk... SNOT: Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion. (I left out the "u" on purpose) Bottom, Quince (who is getting pissed at me)... SNOUT: Doth the moon shine that night we play our play? BOTTOM: A calendar, a calendar! Look to the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine. (I love that line, dunno why) More stuff is said, mostly between Quince, who is played by a woman being a man, and Bottom, who is played by a woman, being a woman who is playing a man. SNOUT: You can never bring in a wall. What say you Bottom? More talk, and then Nick Bottom grows an ASS-HEAD! I get scared and say: SNOUT: O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee? [EXIT ME]
There is a short break, and then INTERMISSION. I'm Cowpie the fairy again, until Oberon gets mad at Puck for dousing the wrong Athenian with the love potion petal... then we run away. We were just filler anyway. Then I have like... 45 minutes before I have to return to the stage as SNOUT. Should've brought my iPod.

ACT 4 SCENE 2: Stuff is said, I enter and say what Snug once said: SNOUT: Masters, the duke is coming from the temple and there are two or three lords and ladies more married. If our sport had gone forward we would all be made men. (Not an easy line to remember, what with all the two's or three's, and lords and ladies and such. But, I found it harder to remember my first three fucking lines!!! {to see fucking lines, return to top}). [Exit Me, Again] And... here comes the last scene -- the one we'e all been waiting for: The Play Within The Play! (You gotta check out the link, it's THE BEATLES doing the play within the play) I was instructed to say my line as though I had just done some crazy pills. Just keep moving and running around, was what the director said. I did it different every time. Sometimes I did the Charleston, sometimes I clicked my heels together in the air as I said "chink"; sometimes I did the Party Rock Anthem Shuffle, and on the last night I did the Macarena. SNOUT: In this same interlude it doth befall, That I, one Snout by name, present a wall. And such a wall as I would have you think, That had in it a crannied hole, or chink Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby did whisper, often very secretly. This loam, this roughcast, and this stone doth show That I am that same wall, the truth is so, And this the cranny is, right and sinister, Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
Stuff is said, Bottom accidentally punches me in the junk (the balls, the genitals, the gonads, the nuts, the private parts, the stones, the reproductive organs, the crotch, the testicles, the twig and berries, the mutton dagger, the muffin dagger, the wazoo, the pee-pee, the helmet warrior, the wood, the fishing rod, the tallywhacker, the ding dong, the pocket rocket, the Johnson, the mini me, the cock and balls, the third leg, Greg) and I scream like a girl. The chink, which was once represented by my finger and thumb in the air beside me, is now firm near my junk (the balls, the genitals, the... thank you Thesaurus.com!!!). Pyramus, played by Bottom, played by the girl pretending to be Bottom, played by Lauren, must talk through my groin area (I left that one out of the synonym list to be used later, which is now) whilst Thisby, played by Francis Flute, played by Marco, must listen and reply through my ass-end. This goes on for a while, while I must stand firm, holding my crotch in apparent pain.

THIS IS MY WEAKEST MOMENT IN THE PLAY... I BROKE CHARACTER TWICE OUT OF THREE PERFORMANCES AT THIS PART... never mind the fact that Demetrius, played by Nick said "It is the whittiest partition that ever did the Macarena, my lord," which nearly had me in tears, rather than saying his line, "It is the whittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord."... Now, Thisby (played by Flute --> Marco) must kiss Pyramus (played by Bottom --> girl pretending to be Bottom --> Lauren) through my groin area. They try, and then Thisby says, "I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all." Thus ends my attempts to save face and not laugh while on stage. Finally, I say my final line. SNOUT: Thus have I, Wall, my part dischargéd so, and, being done, thus wall away doth go. Then I fall and pass out. I am carried offstage so that I may come out once more for the triple wedding ceremony, and thus ends the play.
Oh yeah, I should have said this earlier: SPOILER ALERT!!!

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