Thursday, July 29, 2010

Love’s Labor’s Lost: They’re Just Not That Into You

The simple lesson for the fellas in Shakespeare’s comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost is that when four eligible bachelorettes show up at your doorstep, telling them they’ll have to stay outside in a tent because you’re too busy studying is not your best move.

The King of Navarre and his three-man entourage make a pact at the beginning of the play, swearing off female company for three years, so they can focus on studying. A couple minutes later, who shows up but – you guessed it – female company. The Princess of France arrives with her three attending ladies, to an ungracious welcome and a lame excuse. “Here is my best tent for you ladies. Holler really loud if thou dost need anything. We’ll be in this comfortable castle . . . studying.”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Titus Andronicus: Shakespeare’s Horror

Titus has the dagger. The look on the faces of the guys in the back pretty much says it all.

Titus Andronicus makes Romeo and Juliet with its “tragedy” (yep, Titus comparatively puts that in sarcastic air quotes) and even something like Hamlet (which I had previously subtitled “Everybody Dies”) look like Disney movies by comparison. This play has got Quentin Tarantino written all over it. If I were better connected, I would totally pitch that: “Sorry guys, Branagh is out. I have a better idea.” The point is that this play is beyond frightening: it is well and truly disturbing. It’s not just that it’s a bloodbath start to finish, or that it has such an abundance of mutilation, what makes Titus Andronicus so shudder-inducing is the idea of how horrible human beings can be to one another.