Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are...Hilarious

     Daughter #1 and I saw a performance of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, courtesy of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. This absurdist play (think Waiting for Godot) is based on the two knuckleheads who show up in Shakespeare's Hamlet. They're old friends of Hamlet's, and are instructed by the king (Hamlet's uncle) to accompany him to England...where a handy letter supplied by the king orders Hamlet's death. Fortunately (or unfortunately for R & G), Hamlet finds the letter, and changes it to specify the duo's death, instead. 
     The play is actually quite funny, if you assume that all of life is ridiculous, and act accordingly. Lots of charging around, smarty-pants remarks...and a beginning that focuses on something impossible: dozens and dozens of times the coin flip lands on heads! 
     To my great surprise (and pleasure), the characters in this play used exactly the same actors as in the real Hamlet, which we'd seen back in June in Boulder. I thought that performance ridiculous -- now the same shenanigans fit in PERFECTLY with the silliness of this play! Even Hamlet ('Hamletta?'), prancing about like a teenage drama queen, was a brilliant foil to the admittedly-foolish Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 
     Unfortunately, half the audience, I'm guessing, didn't see the earlier Hamlet, so they wouldn't have caught some of the funniest ironies. Daughter #1 didn't...and she's pretty quick on the uptake. Even so, she loves the play. And she loved this performance of it. 
     The play ends with R&G realizing that the letter orders their deaths -- and delivering it, anyways. (Why not contrive to 'lose' it overboard, instead?) Strangely, you really don't care that much. They knew something was wrong, and chose not to act on that knowledge. Rosencrantz's final impassioned speech seems like an afterthought, more than anything. (I found myself thinking, "Serves them right." Bad girl.)
      It doesn't put Hamlet in a good light, either. These men are supposed to be her old friends. Yet she seems almost enthusiastic about their impending deaths, when the person she should be revenging herself on is the monarch who ordered the letter in the first place. 
     The final irony happened when the cast came out to take their bows. We've seen three Shakespeare plays at the festival this summer -- two (Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar) were 'okay,' and one (Hamlet) was just plain stupid. All three got enthusiastic standing ovations from the Boulder crowd.

     And this play? The best, by far, of all four we'd seen this season? 

     Daughter #1 and I were getting ready to stand up, when the clapping suddenly stopped and the cast filed off. The only person who stood up that we could see was a lady in front of us. 
     Serves us right for being slow. The cast deserved a standing ovation -- they were wonderful.

That brings up yet another question. Was the 'serious' performance of Hamlet that we saw actually meant to be ridiculous -- on purpose?

 If so, they were making fun of a play I, and many others, hold dear to my heart. Frankly, with Boulder's habit of sneering at convention, I wouldn't put it past them.

     Makes you wonder. 

Mousey update:  We're doing better. The traps inside haven't had anything for nearly a week -- a blessing to the Brick, especially, who is particularly occupied with our furry friends right now. (He spent some hours sweeping out the garage, as well as under the kitchen sink, frustrated every time he found evidence of Their Existence.)
      I'm just glad they seem to be decreasing. 

John Elwes: the celebrated miser who complained about birds stealing his hay to building their nests. Possibly the inspiration for Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge.

Jumbo diaper packs from Target -- for less than $4??  Moneysaving Mom shows you how.

Ten REALLY well-preserved shipwrecks.  (From Listverse)

Butter pecan pancakes. Oh my.  (From Crazy for Crust)

Celebrities -- 77 of them -- who lost their homes (and other stuff) to financial problems. Nicolas Cage begins the lineup... poor guy. He should have known better.  (From Loanpride)

Letters from parents left back in Ireland after the Great Famine -- to their son, who emigrated to America. Sad and moving.  (From Irish Central)

Five 'lost' paintings -- found under other paintings. 

LOVE this tiny saltbox house!  (From Tiny House Design)

A garage becomes a light-filled studio.  (From Dwell)

From $30,000 to $200,000 -- how he did it.  (From Penny And Rich)

Solomon's Stables: history and deconstruction. Did you know that a mosque was built on the stables' footprint?  (From the Temple Mount Sifting Project)

"Jeweled patterns with atmosphere:" a painting tutorial inspired by medieval designs. (From Painting

Thirty-three facts about famous landmarks.  (From Mental Floss)

Thirteen Disney Park secrets:

Drinking from the hose, eating from the dirt.  A word poem to summer from Donna Freedman at Surviving and Thriving.

"How I trick my chickens into growing my garden."  (From My Pet Chicken Blog)

A very cool upcycled denim crazy-quilted chair. (Vicki Meyers Creations, via Funky Junk Interiors)

Seven smart ways to invest in Old Master paintings.  (From Artnet)

Gentle Readers, you visited this blog more than 6,000 times in July! Thank you so much.

Stay cool, and have a great week.

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