Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our Latest Shakespeare Date

It was time for date. T & I hadn't been out alone in too long. It doesn't have to be all that long to be too long for us.  More than a week is too long. We have this horrible buildup of too many unfinished sentences and a lack of quiet moments. Children are lovely, but they can make it hard to have a conversation and conversation is at the heart of our attraction.

So, we talked about what to go do. Luckily, we live in a great area of the country full of wonderful things to do.  We thought about going to see a double feature big screen showing of Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Lon Chaney's Wolfman at the Carolina because I am a big old movie fan and T's appreciation is growing.  But babysitting was going to be a problem on Friday night.  

We thought about just walking around Franklin Street looking at stuff and talking, but T's got a foot problem right now, and it was supposed to rain. Walking was going to be a problem at the art museums, too, and no one had anything we were really drawn by right now and hadn't already seen. We didn't really want to just go eat.

Then, T had the thought that we hadn't seen a play together in a while (this is how lucky I am--I have a husband who has "theater" in the top five list of places to take me on a date night).  Fiasco Theater was doing a production of Cymbeline at Duke.  Shakespeare. Shakespeare that neither of us already knows by heart.  Perfect!

Shakespeare is special to T and I. 

First off, we are both tremendous word nerds. We drive our tween crazy when she wants help with her vocabulary homework because we can go on for fifteen minutes about the various ways a word might be used and where that word came from.  We email each other articles about new language items we see on the Inter-webs.  We quote from Much Ado About Nothing to flirt.

Second, we are both romantic saps. We're a collective sucker for happily ever after.  But at the same time, it has to be a believable happily ever after.  We're not an easy sell.

Then, there's the coincidences of Shakespeare for us.  Our first real date (the one where we both went in knowing this was going to be a date and not just friends getting together) was on Shakespeare's birthday.  Our first couch-movie together was 10 Things I Hate About You. Our first dress-up date was Twelfth Night at Playhouse in the Park.

Cymbeline, by the way, was amazing! It was a lot of fun to hear echos of other plays and other lines that I knew better. I figured it would be worth seeing, because I have enjoyed every Shakespeare production I have ever seen--even the bad ones. The writing is that good--it's hard to kill if you have any talent at all.

And Fiasco Theater is a group of six very talented and versatile actors, who each played multiple roles in the production. One man was the king, the doctor, and Cloten the oaf/villain.  Another was a servant, the long last Prince, a rich Italian host, and a pompous Italian general. One of the women was the evil stepmother queen, the runaway kidnapper of princes, and a couple of different men.

Costuming was simple. Additions of jackets, hats, or small props were made on stage as actors transitioned from one role to another. The actors made the transformations with body language and voice. Costuming was just a nod for the less observant audience member. Or maybe they just like to play dress up a little.

All six actors were also amazing singers and musicians and the production made wonderful use of this with a variety of music--madrigal, martial and bluegrass--all worked naturally into the show.

The untangle at the end, the reveal of who everyone really was and how they relate to each other, was brilliant.  I laughed aloud to the point that I snorted.

So, another wonderful date, brought to us by William Shakespeare, and Fiasco Theater. Thank you!

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