Monday, August 24, 2009

Shakespeare & Company

Okay, I've left Jeff up there long enough. I think all 5 of you have gotten a chance to see it.

Onward, then, to a whole bunch of stuff about me, and what I've been doing.
Mr. Cate and I went out to the woods to see Shakespeare, and eat scones and coffee and wine in a big, fluffy white hotel bed. In other words, a snobby adult weekend. ("adult" in this instance meaning "without juice box fights, whining about the bathroom, and kicking of the back of your seat the entire drive")
Don't feel bad for little Cate Junior. He went to the county fair, a pool party, and a Day Out With Thomas, so, he was covered.

The play was "The Winter's Tale", not the most loved Shakespeare, but I figured, when else are we going to get to see this one? It's not done that often. This one was fantastic, especially in the 4th and 5th acts, when the heavy royal Athenian pretext is generally dropped in favor of very Elizabethan comic characters. The three actors playing Autolycus, the Shepherd and the Clown were perfect. One of the actors also happened to be a guy I performed with in high school theater. Of course, he was great as well.

If you're into Shakespeare, or classic theater in general, try to hit APT at some point. Really. Mr. Cate isn't much of a theater guy, and by the end of the weekend, he was talking about getting season tickets for next year, and spending our anniversary watching Henry V.

We also got to see Inglorious Basterds this weekend. Nice little bookending, wasn't it? Some Tarantino to open, some Shakespeare to close. Actually, I might draw some parallels here. Both of them added wildly comic elements to what could have been strictly dark and gruesome stories. Both of them took tremendous liberties with known history, or in the Bard's case, a previous literary work. Both of them hit the mark about 60% of the time.
The only "problem" with Winter's Tale, is that it seems almost too airy and slight for such a heavy story- one of Othellolike suspicions and Oedipal level misunderstandings, although Shakespeare skirts the ickiest bits in favor of brilliant comic relief.

Tarantino, on the other hand, takes every scene and makes it at least a minute too long. The amount of tension by the end is almost unbearable. You know what's about to happen, and then there's 20 minutes of misdirection and stonewalling before the payoff. Then add the brutal, gory violence, which Tarantino glosses over with his own brilliant comic relief. (much the same way Oliver Stone was nailed to the wall for doing in Natural Born Killers all those years ago. But Tarantino's picture is set in wartime, so fair play, I suppose. If you want to get away with multiple closeups of guys getting scalped, set your story in WWII, not a coffee shop in Nevada)

And both of these stories have "happy" endings. Shakespeare's is weird and almost sappy, Tarantino's is shocking and absurd.

The end of my weekend? I bought three new books, so, score.


Legdahli said...

Ha! I swear, your last lines always kill me. Great b-day weekend. I'm definitely sold on both.

So, who was in the play? I've got to know him.

Mary Witzl said...

I'm not going near that Tarantino story after your description!

It is funny: whenever we see a Shakespeare play, I always love it. But I never look forward to seeing one; I have this crazy idea that it's going to be hard work. We've seen any number of Shakespeare plays and I always enjoy them and get a lot out of them, but I still get that chilled I'm-going-to-find-this-rough feeling before every play. I blame my high school literature teachers (Why not? They're not around to defend themselves...)

MG Higgins said...

Gosh, I so agree with Mary, only I equate seeing Shakespeare with dental work--painful but something you really should do for your personal hygiene. It's been ages since I've seen one! Maybe I've matured and would truly enjoy it. Thanks for the Tarantino review--think I'll skip that one.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Seeing Tarantino's movie this weekend. Can't wait. What books did you buy?

adrienne said...

Count me as another who'd probably go for the Shakespeare, but not the Tarantino.

A grown-up weekend like that sounds awesome. Or divine, rather - as long as we're acting like grown-ups.

Lily Cate said...

Mary- I had the greatest Shakespeare teacher of all time. I now have the goal of seeing all of his plays live at some point in my life. And I've acted in 3. Most fun I've ever had onstage.

Heidi- That would be Matt. He was wonderful, and he's also starring in Comedy of Errors, and Henry V this season- at the same time! In fact, right after our showing of The Winter's Tale, he was turning around and doing Comedy 2 hours later.

MG & Adrienne- Yes, if you're squeamish, then I'd skip the Tarantino. It was the first time in a while I actually covered my eyes and had my husband tell me when it was over. It was funny as hell, though, in some parts.

Paul- The books? What the Dickens, The Water Mirror, and Michael Scott's The Magician.