Theater review: Love’s Labor’s Lost by Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival

Last night, Lisa and I caught Love’s Labor’s Lost by Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival at the start of its closing weekend on the campus of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. Now, those of you who have been around since (near) the beginning of this project probably know how I feel a out Love’s Labor’s Lost. Not a huge fan (it ranks down in the lower quarter of my favorite plays). People who’ve been around nearly as long also know how I feel about Kingsmen. A big fan.

So which wins out?

Continue reading “Theater review: Love’s Labor’s Lost by Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival”

News Flash: Shakespeare’s Bawdy. (No kidding.)

We interrupt our usually scheduled entry on Hamlet for this breaking news:

Shakespeare has some bawdy stuff in it… and more than we realized just a few months ago.

Continue reading “News Flash: Shakespeare’s Bawdy. (No kidding.)”

Much Ado About Nothing: Love’s Labor’s Won?

Last month, the Royal Shakespeare Company opened a duet of plays, Love’s Labor’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing. Only the RSC isn’t promoting the two plays as that bill. Instead, they are presenting Much Ado as Love’s Labor’s Won.

Now for those who don’t remember, Love’s Labor’s Won is a play referenced in 1598 in a book that mentions both Lost and Won as being by Shakespeare. Its text has never been found, though. Many consider it a lost play, while some critics have claimed it is an alternate title for another play (much like how some critics believe the original performance title of Richard III was Buckingham, and the subtitle of Twelfth Night is “What You Will”), with the most popular suspects being Troilus and Cressida, The Taming of the Shrew, and–you guessed it–Much Ado About Nothing.

Continue reading “Much Ado About Nothing: Love’s Labor’s Won?”

An Audience with an Ass

The performance of “Pyramus and Thisby” at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is met with some sarcastic commentary by the Duke and his wedding party.  I initially thought that their statements were not as cruel as those lobbed at the inept performance of the “Show of the Worthies” at the close of Love’s Labor’s Lost.

Now I’m not so sure.
Continue reading “An Audience with an Ass”

Podcast 34: Love’s Labor’s Lost–A Mashed Up Wrap-Up

This week’s podcast is the conclusion of our month-long discussion of Love’s Labor’s Lost, including a little wrap-up, touch upon the writings of Harold Bloom about this play, and I’ll play around with a mashed-up production concept.  Then we’ll do our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
Continue reading “Podcast 34: Love’s Labor’s Lost–A Mashed Up Wrap-Up”

Losing the Labor of Love’s: Wrap-Up

Ah… Love’s Labor’s Lost.  How to sum up?  For those who’ve been following along this month, you probably know that I’m not a big fan of the ending of the play.

But like the last competitor in a judged competition, it’s the last performance that sticks in the head.
Continue reading “Losing the Labor of Love’s: Wrap-Up”

Love’s Labor’s Lost by the Numbers: Overall

Love’s Labor’s Lost

  • 2665 total lines; shorter than average play, longer than average comedy (average play: 2777; average comedy: 2424)
  • At 360 and 914 lines, Act Four Scene Three and Act Five Scene Two are the longest of their kind in the Canon
  • Act One: 476 lines; shorter than average, sligntly shorter than average comedy (average play: 590, average history: 488)
  • Act Two: 257 lines; shortest second act in the Canon; shorter than average (average play: 568, average comedy: 495)
  • Act Three: 202 lines; shortest third act in the Canon; shorter than average (average play: 576, average comedy: 512)
  • Act Four: 671 lines; longer than average (average play: 563, average comedy: 460)
  • Act Five: 1059 lines; longest fifth act in the Canon; longer than average (average play: 480, average comedy: 471)
  • 935 lines of prose (35.08% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 13.31%, Titus Andronicus: 1.39%, The Taming of the Shrew: 20.82%, 1HenryVI: 0.37%, 2HenryVI: 16.64%, 3HenryVI: 0.14%, and Richard III: 2.89%])
  • 272 rhyming lines (40.86% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 20.10%, Titus Andronicus: 2.42%, The Taming of the Shrew: 3.93%, 1HenryVI: 9.79%, 2HenryVI: 3.16%, 3HenryVI: 5.37%, and Richard III: 7.55%]… but a whopping 62.95% of poetic lines [the previous leader was The Comedy of Errors at just over 23%])
  • only 9 scenes; tied with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest for the fewest in the Canon); less than average (average play: 21; average comedy: 16)
  • only 19 characters (tied with The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It for the second lowest total in the Canon, behind only next month’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (17); less than average (average play: 36, average comedy: 22)


In Love w/ Death: Labor=Birth & Lost=Death (the Countdown Edition)

I shouldn’t be surprised given the recurrent death images in Love’s Labor’s Lost, that the play ends without a classically comedic conclusion.

The imagery begins early, in the play’s opening sentence:

Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live registered upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death,
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavor of this present breath may buy
That honor which shall bate his scythe's keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.

— I.i.1-7

In this opening line, the King sets forth the proposition that what he and his fellows are going to attempt will outface death, and give them eternal fame.  As we latter learn, their goal is less than earth-shattering, and the concept of defeating death by studying for three years is laughable.

So why is it here?  You would think that a play about learning (ostensibly) or love (more clearly) would fill its opening speech with imagery more befitting those subjects.  But no.  Why?
Continue reading “In Love w/ Death: Labor=Birth & Lost=Death (the Countdown Edition)”

Rods and Mockers

For those who’ve been keeping up, you know how I feel about the ending of Love’s Labor’s Lost.

But in the last week, I’ve kept thinking to myself,

“That last scene… maybe it’s not as cruel as I read it the first time.  Maybe I was just grumpy that day.  Maybe I’m missing something.”  

Continue reading “Rods and Mockers”