What was I thinking? Finish thirty-seven plays in twelve months while crafting a dramatic career change? For those of you keeping score at home, that was twenty-three months ago, and I have not only remained inert at the soul-crushing job, I have also managed to avoid cracking my giant copy of William Shakespeare Complete Works (a “Bargain Value” at £3.99 circa 1992). However, I did put my hands on it at least twice daily: it is the perfect thickness for blocking out the blue digital glow of my clock radio.
I haven’t taken a vow of a-literacy, though. Recent favorites include Melvyn Bragg’s The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011 and my hero Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life and Notes from a Big Country. The latter contains a line I am trying to adapt to describe myself, “…my father was the last person in the Midwest to buy an air-conditioner. He thought they were unnatural. (He thought anything that cost more than $30 was unnatural.)”
Well this is it: I’ll “screw [my] courage to the sticking-place” (I, 7, 49-51) and begin my Shakesyeare again!
So, before I update my resume (again), I need to express a few thoughts on the Scottish play. Writing a blog post without actually typing the play’s title is a welcome exercise as well. How do I know that the theatre superstition doesn’t apply to the theatre of the blog as well?
I selected it while perusing the umpteenth Republican debate, thinking that a vicious, power-hungry couple would be infinitely more pleasurable to watch. I also thought it would be a welcome respite from my waxing corporate disgust. Good call!
As usual, I enjoyed this play a lot more than I had in 10th grade. Lady M. and the witches are fascinating and entertaining characters which kept me fully engaged.
I love Lady M.’s “man-up” language! What man then or now could resist that eloquent nagging?
“When you durst do it then you were a man;
And, to be more than that what you were, you would
Be so much more the man.” (I, 7, 49-51)
What could the title character do but start hacking his way to the top? On the positive side, for all of his horrible deeds, he didn’t eliminate hundreds of employees’ positions at the end of the year, did he? I’m not saying that corporate restructuring is worse than murder of course – I’m referring to fictional murders and real layoffs. For all his bloody ambition, at least Lady M.’s husband wasn’t motivated by the desire to increase the wealth of his shareholders. I digress.
Several of the witches’ lines are so ubiquitous in our age that even my eight-year-old thought some of the rhymes sounded familiar, and he’s been raised without the cultural benefit of Warner Brothers cartoons, much to my disgrace.
Here’s a lovely recipe for a cool April afternoon (vegetarians, look away!):
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
(IV, 1, 12-19)
(No anti-Gingrich sentiment intended; on purpose anyway!)