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SCA Theater - request for ideas
Bar Harbor
In the kitchen t'other day, herooftheage and I were talking about SCA theater. He was trying to convince me to direct another show, and I seriously considered the matter. Part of the reason I *haven't* done anything since The Knight of the Burning Pestle is that if I'm going to spend months deeply involved with a show, I really want it to be something I can get behind 100% -- and Sturgeon's Law applies as much to Med/Ren theater as it does to any other field. Heck, I think part of the reason that Shakespeare gets thought of so highly is that only about 80% of his stuff was crud.

Tom brought up Henry V, and I allowed as how that was one of The Good Ones, as is Hamlet. But there didn't seem to be any burning *need* for me to do either of those. There are very good movie versions of each readily available, and those shows are each still popular enough that you can see one on stage in the Boston area every few years. I would certainly bring my own interpretations to any production I did, but I'm not (at the moment) convinced that my vision for either play is sufficiently unique and interesting to be worth the effort.

One of the reasons I did Pestle was because it *wasn't* readily available for viewing. If I wanted to see it, I pretty much had to do it myself, so I did. Sturgeon's Law has a flipside; 10% of everything *isn't* crud, and that is as true of the lesser-known works as it is of the famous ones. I feel that if I'm going to go to the bother of putting on a big production, it should bring something new and different to the table. At the moment, there isn't anything I'm aware of that is calling out to be done, and which hasn't been. But my awareness is very limited, so why not ask for input?

What (SCA-appropriate) play have you always wanted to see performed, but haven't been able to yet? What is it that you love about it? I make no promises, but if you can get me excited enough, I might help make it happen. And, of course, if you can't convince me, maybe that means that *you* should go out and do it yourself :)
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I would have put no more than 70% of Shakespeare as worse than good, and only about %30 as actually bad. And that's because I think the comedies are mostly pretty bad.

I'd agree on a line-by-line, or scene-by-scene analysis. But a Shakespeare play tends to run no less than 90 minutes, and often upwards of 180. There are very few of his plays that (IMAO) are good all the way through. When I started reading King John, I was extremely excited about how great it was -- for the first half. The second half was so dull, I don't even remember what happened. If there's just one awful bit, you can cut it, but a lot of them have more than that wrong with them.

I'm not really sure what to suggest. Every time someone does a big play in Carolingia, i Sebastiani ends up on hiatus. Still some plays worth doing include:

Period plays of interest:
Aminta (Torquato Tasso)
A Comedy of Betrothal (Leonne de' Sommi)

Slightly Post period plays of interest
Volpone (Johnson)
Cupid's Revenge (Beaumont & Fletcher)

I've read Volpone, and remember not liking it much. Could you give me at least a one-line description of the others?

I was going to say Medea or Antigone, but the play I still really want to participate in is Lysistrata!

Oooh. I remember reading that oh so many years ago. That would intriguing undertaking.

Hm. Do you know if/when these was performed in Med/Ren times? They are interesting shows, but I'm not keen on going back to Greek/Roman material that wan't actually performed so much before the centuries I focus on (roughly 1350-1650).

Yes! No one has the ...*ahem*... balls to put that on anymore.

(OK, I'm not SCA, so I'm not sure how much my opinion counts here, but I know I and several of my mundane classics-geek friends would happily rent, beg, or borrow garb to see Lysistrata staged.)

Where are you from? Don't most cities see a production of it once a year or so? I don't see the big thing, myself. (That's a sort of joke. Most productions involve elaborate puppet penises that are as realistic as the company can afford except for being 2-3 feet long. Because dick jokes may be sophmoric, but CLASSICAL dick jokes are CULTURE.)

You're not looking hard enough. Lysistrata is staged at least once a year around Boston -- probably more since the war in Iraq started.

A blend of the two versions of Dr. Faustus attributed to Marlowe. Each one has its strong points.

There's famous Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, Henry V) and there's obscure Shakespeare (A Winter's Tale, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus). Now, okay, the obscure stuff is obscure for a reason, but it strikes me that there's a Shakespeare play that's perceived as popular, but relatively rarely performed: Julius Caesar.

Of course, why even stick to Shakespeare? I've never heard of a Marlowe Repertory Theater...the guy needs some PR.

Of course, why even stick to Shakespeare? I've never heard of a Marlowe Repertory Theater...the guy needs some PR.

Marlowe is an exquisite poet. As a playwright... he deserves to be in Shakespeare's shadow. I know I'm arguing against myself, since I suggested Faust, but I also said that it needs a good editor.

I'd second the vote for Ben Johnson's Volpone though.

I loved Volpone, right up until the end. IIRC, the ending is very *just*, but for me it kind of wrecked what was otherwise a rather delicious little play...

My great loves are just a *shade* post-period - but then again, so is Pestle. Duchess of Malfi is, of course, the front-runner, and Tom and I discuss it from time to time.

I would LOVE to see the Revenger's Tragedy put on, even though the girl roles are largely teh suck. I love all the Theater of Blood stuff because it's so totally over-the-top. It's all flawed (The Changeling has phenomenal set pieces, a brilliant fall from grace, a squick-worthy villain - and about 1/3 of the play is utter dreck), but some of the joy in it is simply that it exists in its baroque dementedness.

I'll insert my usual tuppence about genuinely medieval plays, and then make an argument for plays like The Jew of Malta. Yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, it is the kind of stuff we gloss over with the "as it should have been" rubric. And by those lights, I think it should be performed so that we look hard at it.

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