Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Double Heart: The Kendal

Kendal at Oberlin is one of my favorite stops on the tour. For one, I get to see old family friends. Joanne and Don took us "out" for dinner ... as it happened, all four of us arrived, without even discussing it, an full hour before call. So we had time to set up, and then relax, prior to the performance. As I was saying, Joanne was right there waiting for us when we arrived, she and my mother grew up together as little girls in Lakewood and it is a treat having family to receive you after a long drive.

One other thing I like about touring there is that this is Oberlin. There's a certain tribe that congregates in that community, and the residents at the Kendal are well-educated, many of them big fans of Shakespeare ... and they are opinionated. People can comment on the script all they want, and I am ordinarily prepared, I have confidence in the work. Here I am often caught off-guard.

The feedback in general, was not just high, but extraordinarily so. Men who profess to adore Shakespeare were very happy with the words and the meter, and told us so. There was a general appreciation for all of the fun, the action, the passion present in the play ... the mentioned passion on Sunday at Clague, too. Not sure I can take credit for that, the most of the really intense bits have few words, it's up to Emily and James to sell it.

But hey, there was that one kid who came up to us after the performance while we were packing the van at ECHS who had to ask if that kiss was for real. Because it looked real. Like they really meant it. I had to excuse myself and leave James on his own to sheepishly mutter it out.

One woman last night, asked why I chose to provide all the "low" characters with working class English accents, and wasn't I making some negative comment about class. She called Pene a "dirty old man" and I hate myself now for not protesting that "he's very clean." I also regret not mentioning Spartacus. I regret a lot of things. I did say, "Some of my best friends are English," but immediately regretted it.

Lisa has been beginning the discussions by asking whether or not Double Heart works as a believable prequel to Much Ado, which is all well can good when the answer is a resounding "yes."  But I could see one attendee shaking her head quite resolutely. When asked why she did not believe so, she said that the Beatrice in my play is certainly not the Beatrice from Shakespeare, however, she refused to elaborate.

I can guess why. Emily is not sure she agrees with me. My wife is absolutely sure I am correct. You will have to come see a performance and decide for yourself.

Tonight we travel to Lakewood Public Library, performance at 7:00 PM. Please join us.

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