Act Three: Can You Give Me a Hand (or 3)?

Act Three, Scene One of Titus Andronicus begins with a procession of Judges and Senators heading to the trial of Martius and Quintus.  Titus, attempting to get them to hear his pleas, prostrates himself before them and gives a long (26 line) speech.  What he doesn’t know is that the audience isn’t there, they’ve walked on by.
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Act Two: Three Gothic Villains, One Roman Baddie, and the Moorish Puppetmaster

As Act Two of Titus Andronicus begins, we hear from Aaron the Moor for the first time.  He is named in the list of characters as “Aaron, a Moor, lover of Tamora.”  Most critics state that Aaron is her slave, but there isn’t much to support this in Aaron’s opening speech, the play’s first soliloquy. [is Aaron the only character to have monologues?  we’ll have to wait and see] Aaron makes reference to his “slavish weeds and servile thoughts” (II.i.18), but this is less than clear-cut; and if he is her slave, his job to “wait” on her turns out to be to “wanton” with her (II.i.21), then he would be her sex slave.  This may be the appearance, but he says that Tamora is his “prisoner held, fettered in amorous chains, // And … bound to Aaron’s charming eyes” (II.1.15-16).  So it’s an interesting relationship to say the least.
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Act One: Immediately into the Blood

OK, as I mentioned on Saturday, Act One, Scene One, of Titus Andronicus is the longest first scene in all of Shakespeare (at 498 lines, it’s longer than five plays’ entire first acts; the next longest is Much Ado About Nothing, at 312 lines).  With all that length, you might suspect a quiet opening, a slow expositional build to content.  And you’d be wrong.  It begins with a flourish, literally, as the Roman Senators and Tribunes enter, then followed onstage–through opposite doors–the late (and unnamed) emperor’s sons, Saturninus and his younger brother, Bassianus, and THEIR soldiers.

That’s a boatload of people on stage… more than enough to grab the audience’s attention.

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Podcast Episode 06: Julie vs. Julia

This week’s podcast includes the discussions of and film review for the upcoming Nora Ephron movie, Julie and Julia.
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Titus Andronicus

July is now behind us… the laughter from The Comedy of Errors is fading… and the ugliness (or cool goriness, depending on your take on horrorshows) rises like an incoming tide…

Titus Andronicus begins today!
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Comedy of Errors… a look back…

OK, so our first month ends today.  The Comedy of Errors is over.  I think we’ve made a pretty good start… I had hoped for a little more interaction from the community, but hey, that’s ok… it’s a pretty demented mission I’ve set for myself, and I don’t expect many — any? — of you to follow.

As the month was ending, though, I began thinking hard about this blog.  I’ve tried to stay as objective as possible in the composition of the daily entries (for those who know me well, you know how hard this is for me, a pretty SUBjective, heart-on-sleeve, passionate guy [read, at times pedantic and blowhard-y… yeah, not a word, I KNOW]).  And in the past few days, I’ve began to wonder if (since there doesn’t seem too many readers out there to offend) maybe I shouldn’t just, you know, loosen up, let loose, and let the ever-lovin’ bullsh!t flow.
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Beginnings, Part Two (individual scenes)

Yesterday, we talked a little about beginnings, specifically of the plays themselves, about how they could be either strong and loud (to grab the audience’s attention) or slow (building exposition at a more leisurely pace).

Today, let’s take a microcosmic look at this concept: what about the beginnings of scenes themselves.
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Beginnings, Part One (the play as a whole)

So how does the/this/a play begin?

Why is it important?

Well, riddle me this, Batman: what does the modern theater have that the Shakespearean Globe did not?  I’m not talking plush seats.  Or cocktails in the lobby.  Or validated parking.

I’m talking about house lights.

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Numbers: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Before July started, I talked a little about a truly great Shakespeare professor at UCLA, David Rodes (and I still need to get around to writing more fully about him).

One of his many interesting insights concerned a little simple math.
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Quick Hits: Scansion for Laughs

In Act Three, Scene One, Dromio of Ephesus is trying to get within the locked gates of his master’s home… but is tormented from inside by his twin who answers the question of identity with:

The power for this time, sir, and my name is Dromio

— III.i.43

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