Monday, September 12, 2016
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM got in my head last night and I swear I can't remember why. But I lugged out a big old facsimile of Shakespeare's first folio, which I bought so Lee Durkee and I could compare our folio facsimiles - we know how to have a good time! And I looked at Puck's last speech... "If we shadows have offended"... or "fhadowes," ha ha! You know how that old-timey printing makes some s's look like f's. Good times! And then I saw that previous speech of Puck's, which I didn't quite remember, even though I remember tons of lines from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM because I was in it when I was a teenager! That didn't deserve an exclamation point. I played the pivotal role of Snug the Joiner. Anyway, I saw the line, "And the Wolfe beholds the Moone," and thought, "Oh no! There is going to be an owl in this speech!" And there was: "the fcritch-owle, fcritching loud." And then I was like, I want to hear someone saying these lines. So I found a free streaming video of an old BBC (?) production and boy could you tell why it was free! It was copied from a terrible print. There were scratches and slashes and blotches all over the film, and the color was grotesquely faded. It was so washed-out that you couldn't read the white credits over the white sky. And I thought, "I'm not going to watch this!" But then came along the young David Warner, the young Diana Rigg, and the young Helen Mirren as three of the young lovers, all so captivating! And then some lump playing Demetrius. It's not his fault! I'm sure the actor is fine. Demetrius is just a big dud. He's no Snug the Joiner! Everyone knows if you ranked all the lovers Demetrius would come in last in every poll. But everyone else was so good that the blotches and slashes and missing frames and washed-out atmosphere started to seem like plusses... like... in fact... a line that was quoted to me from A MIDSUMMER'S DREAM one night in City Grocery Bar: "Trust me, sweet, out of this silence yet I pick'd a welcome." I couldn't stop watching it! It's a truly bewitching play! And then here was young Judi Dench, telling her fairies about "the clamorous Owle that nightly hoots," and I was like, okay, I definitely have to "blog" again, just this once, and you know why.