Monday, September 7, 2015

Much Ado About Shakespeare

Last week I watched Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. If you don't know Joss Whedon, he's reached the pinnacle of geek-heroism by creating...  Well, just about everything.  Just look at his IMDB page.

He's so.... Shiny.
His version of the play is even better than Kenneth Brannagh's version (no matter how hot Kate Beckinsale is).

I kept expecting her to bite off Don John's head.
While I watched his movie, I found myself wanting what every actor in Hollywood wants: to be invited to one of Joss Whedon's Shakespeare-reading parties.

He has these parties where he invites his friends over and they all read a Shakespeare play to each other.  I know, right?  Sounds like as much fun as having your brother take you into the basement to re-enact The Cask of Amontillado.  

"And you'll play the part of First Commander from Julius Caesar."
Suddenly, being at one of his parties seemed fun.  Then I remembered my own, failed history with Shakespearean readings.  

My downfall was Mrs. Helms' seventh grade English class.  We did a group reading of Romeo and Juliet.  Since there were so many of us, the larger parts were split between multiple students.  I got one of the smaller parts to myself.

I got to be The Friar, a tiny part with one, enormous, soliloquy.  That would be my Big Break.  I sat through the whole play, waiting.  Waiting.  My soliloquy was coming, and it was long.

Like, Ayn Rand long.
I was nervous.  Would the other kids get bored?  Would I run out of breath?  What if there was a fire drill in the middle, and I had to start again from the beginning?!

Finally, the prince told the Friar to speak.  The class turned the page to my soliloquy.  And they saw how long it was.  And they saw it was a recounting of the entire play we'd just read.

Big moan.  From everyone.

"I will be brief!" I started.

Big laugh.  From everyone.

"Matthew," Mrs. Helms said, "Just skip that part."

But... But...  *SIGH*

I'd become Terry Gilliam's Viking with One Line from Monty Python.

And that's when my career as a great Shakespearean actor crumbled.  No Joss Whedon parties for me.

Unless you know him.  In which case, have him call me!!!!! 

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