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Fifty Ways to Insult Your Friends January 24, 2008

Posted by Kim Crow in : fun for you, Twelfth Night , add a comment

 Whether you  want to exchange venom with your friends or “swear horrible” at your most formidable foes, here’s a list of 50 insults from Shakespeare. Use these invective terms wisely, or else you may suffer a bloody coxcomb.

  1.  cur
  2. rascal
  3. rogue
  4. natural coward without instinct
  5. foe to nobleness
  6. crafty devil
  7. fiend
  8. unbaked and doughy youth
  9. amorous surfeiter
  10. O vile viper!
  11. foul offender
  12. infinite and endless liar
  13. sprat
  14. froth and scum!
  15. thou mongrel beef-witted lord
  16. ribaudred nag
  17. envious emulator
  18. ruffian
  19. you kite!
  20. boggler
  21. dog-ape
  22. backfriend
  23. daw
  24. gorbellied codpiece
  25. brazen-faced varlet
  26. basest thing
  27. popinjay
  28. dastard noble
  29. whoreson mandrake
  30. rotten thing
  31. bastard
  32. ‘Uds pity
  33. flinty Tartar
  34. saucy eunuch
  35. canker
  36. sad wrack
  37. Piss o’ the nettle!
  38. hellhound
  39. clotpoll
  40. thorn
  41. serpent’s egg
  42. intruding fool
  43. fellow of no merits
  44. abominable fellow
  45. whoremasterly villain
  46. O gross and miserable ignorance!
  47. detestable villain
  48. wretched sinner
  49. measureless liar
  50. taffeta punk

Pencils December 22, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon , add a comment


Are pencils period at all?


Yes, some sort of pencil could be used, but it would not be the manufactured wooden sticks we are familiar with today. The first mass-produced pencils weren’t created until   1662.

Graphite was discovered in England by 1594. It was almost immediately quarried and used to create writing instruments. Previous non-ink writing instruments would include a metal (typically lead) stylus. Due to the fact that graphite left a darker mark than lead, it was soon the preferred material for writing. However, graphite was much softer and more brittle than lead; it required a type of container. The first graphite pencils were solid pieces of graphite wrapped in string. In the mid 1600s, the graphite would be inserted into sticks hollowed out by hand.

Sign of the Cross December 20, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Twelfth Night , add a comment

Question: Did people in 1602 make the sign of the cross?

Answer: Yes.

There are examples of early Christians making the sign of the cross since 200-300 A.D. Early indication of the sign would have been made with two fingers marking the forehead. It was used as a greeting to other Christians and as a liturgical rite. Making the sign of the cross to include the shoulders would have been practiced at this time as well. The According to OrthodoxWiki, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) made an important change to the direction of the sign of the cross to distinguish the (papal) Roman Catholic Church from Orthodox Christianity. The distinction was reversed after the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other during the Great Schism.

The cross should therefore be made with the right hand. One should cross the body from forehead to heart, from left shoulder to right shoulder (up, down, left, right). The cross should be indicated by bringing together the thumb, forefinger and middle finger to symbolize the Holy Trinity.

Life of a Script December 8, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon , 1 comment so far

 What happened after an Elizabethan author finished a script?

Life of a Script

Gestures December 7, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon , 1 comment so far

I have a new packet of information about rhetorical hand gestures. This translating captions from John Bulwer’s 1644 publication Chirologia, The Natural Language of the Hand. For your benefit, I have translated the captions into English. Please note, the words and phrases are not directly translated. Instead, I chose to provide the infinitive verb tense as I believe it is better suited to today’s theatrical ear. I am distributing copies at rehearsal today, but please ask for one in case I missed you.

I’d like to thank Brad for the visual source material and Leah for the Latin assistance. I used the University of Notre Dame Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid as  guide.

I hope these gestures compliment the architecture.

Shakespeare + Zombies = Not in Illyria Anymore, Toto. December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : fun for you, Twelfth Night , add a comment

In our Meet & Greet, several people mentioned that they were introduced to Shakespeare through productions like Twelfth Night, or Whatever… Now I’m wondering if any of our New York affiliates got to see the recent Twelfth Night of the Living Dead? Thanks to Lillian (one of the production’s stitchers) for pointing out this bit of fun.

Twelfth Night of the Living Dead

(photo source: New York Times)

Dramaturg’s Notebook: 12/4 December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon, Dramaturg's Notebook, Twelfth Night , add a comment

Our third rehearsal began with a meet and greet with the entire PCS staff. It takes a lot of bodies to get a production on its feet, and we had a sizable congregation to meet or greet.  We introduced ourselves with a brief explanation of our first exposure to Shakespeare.  There was a diverse set of introductions, from “the horrible Ms. Butts” high school English to the Little Rascals to RSC in the park. It was great to be better acquainted with the faces on staff (and to indulge with a slice of delicious beet cake).

Tablework resumed shortly after the meet and greet and continued through the end of the day. We made it through the first scene of Beard of Avon working backwards through the text. Twelfth Night is also making marked progress, though the nature of Shakespeare script work slows its pace.  In addition to talking about ideas, characters and plot elements, Shakespeare often necessitates a consideration of punctuation and changes to the script which will inform the development process.  It’s been a fascinating process, and my list of research topics is getting dangerously long!

Dramaturg’s Notebook: 12/2 December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon, Dramaturg's Notebook, Twelfth Night , add a comment

Today marks the beginning of the tablework process for both plays. I like tablework, particularly because it is an active outlet for dramaturgy. I think I was particularly antsy to get this process underway after spending he past few weeks holed up in my apartment (or nursing the same cup of coffee for six hours at Pix Patisserie) absorbing information. While I’m glad I had the opportunity to fill my dramaturg’s filodex, my brain was telling me it was time for me to be engaged in a different set of pursuits.

I’ve been really impressed by the collective group of minds in this production process.  It’s fascinating to consider the perspectives, insights, and personal research of our assembly as it informs the business of the texts. Everyone here has a lot of gifts to offer the process, and, as the holiday music in the PCS lobby reminds me, ’tis the season for giving.

We made it through the entire second act working backwards through Beard of Avon. Chris brought this back-to-front approach to tablework after reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It’s an interesting process to approach Freed’s story from this perspective, particularly as it reveals how the story is told.

Our Twelfth Night tablework included a lively discussion about the use of dialect. Using British dialect goes against the grain of most American theatre training, but the use of dialect could tie the two productions together.  What does the use of dialect in Shakespeare imply? How will our audience perceive this choice?  These are big ideas to consider, and I am glad we have the time to flesh out both perspectives in rehearsal. We also began to look at the first few scenes beat by beat.  We’re well on our way…

Hey, Crow! December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : business , add a comment

I am posting this entry as a placeholder for communications. This is a good place to:

I check for comments frequently and I am equally accessible by email (which can be found on the production contact sheet).


Glossary of Names, p. 53 December 5, 2007

Posted by Kim Crow in : Beard of Avon , add a comment

“By the way, I’ve just finished most of the books you gave me—I’ve got Lyly, just done Euphues, Sydney, Spenser (and oh, by the way, a-DORED Catullus—)” Will, p. 53 The Beard of Avon


John Lyly (1554-1606) was playwright, raised in Canterbury and educated at Oxford. Lyly moved to London after several fellowship petitions to Lord Burleigh failed. Shortly after his arrival, he published his first plays and gained instant notoriety. By 1583, he controlled the Blackfriars Theatre. Nearly all contemporary playwrights emulated Lyly’s style and language.  Lyly also wrote many plays for children’s companies, which were popular for their allegorical and satirical material. His reputation was discredited for his prolific contribution to these companies after professional adult theatres were established as the principal source of entertainment in the 1590s. Later in life, Lyly had an active political life, and served as a Member of Parliament three times.

Lyly’s influence on Shakespeare was tremendous. Characters such as Polonius in Hamlet, Jacques in As You Like It and Moth in Love’s Labour’s Lost emulate characteristics of Lyly’s writing. Shakespeare biographer Peter Ackroyd notes that Shakespeare was “indeed a great cormorant of other writer’s words,” and cites Lyly’s influence in nearly all of Shakespeare’s comedies.


Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and its sequel, Euphues and His England (1580) were two of Lyly’s most famous works. These prose plays were noted for their rhetorical style, which incorporated such literary devices such as alliteration, anaphora, antithesis and rhetorical questions. The style became a literary fashion known as “euphuism” and was noted by an elaborate sentence structure based on parallel figures. Ornamentation was central to the style and included incidents from history, proverbs, poetry and philosophy. Euphuism was parodied and replicated by Shakespeare. It was a contemporary fashion and most of Shakespeare’s contemporaries would have employed the modern style.

The complete text of both Euphues plays can be found here. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/lylybib.htm


Philip Sidney was a prominent Elizabethan poet, courtier and soldier.  He quarreled with Edward de Vere and challenged him to a duel to the death.  The queen forbade the duel, which prompted Sidney to write a detailed declaration of his distaste for the Queen’s developing French marriage. He retired from court as a result of this letter. Coincidentally, Sidney’s marriage arrangement with Anne Cecil, daughter Lord Burleigh fell through while they were bothe underage. Anne Cecil later married de Vere. Sidney married the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham in 1583.



Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for his epic poem The Faerie Queen. The poem was an allegory of Tudor England under the control of Queen Elizabeth I. The title of this fantastical poem became an emblematic epithet of the queen.  Spenser was educated at Cambridge. He is known as one of the leading contributors of early Modern English verse.


Gaius Vallerius Catullus was a Roman poet from 1st century BC. His poetry took up many subjects, including friendship, love, and politics. Many of his poems are explicitly erotic. Cicero condemned Catullus for his obscenity, and Catullus fell into obscurity until the middle ages. His most famous poems honor a woman called Lesbia, who is believed to represent the poetess Saphho of Lesbos. Catullus’ poetry indicated heterosexual and homosexual liaisons. He is considered one of the foremost writers of Latin lyric poetry. 

Astrophil and Stilla

A sonnet sequence published in 1591 by Thomas Newman. It features 108 sonnets and 11 songs. Though the author was anonymous, many believe it was written by Philip Sidney. The sonnets are adapted from the Petrarchan model. Some believe that the sonnets are autobiographical allegory of Sidney’s love affair with the wife of a courtier.