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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

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.

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…

Symbolism of Violets December 4, 2007

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

A violet was a symbol for faithfulness, fidelity and constancy in love. The Shakespeare Garden by Esther Singleton offers an excerpt from the poem “A Nosegay always Sweet for Lovers to send Tokens of Love at New Year’s tide, of Fairings, as they in their minds shall be disposed to write” first published 1566:

Violet is for faithfulness,
     Which in me shall abide;
Hoping likewise that in your heart
     You will not let it slide,
And will continue in the same,
     As you have now begun;
And then forever to abide
     Then You My Heart Have Won.

Shakespeare’s Peddler explains that violets represent humility, innocence, modesty in needlework samples.

Stewards December 4, 2007

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

I was very pleased with the description of the role of the steward at the “Life in Elizabethan England” site that I’ve included in the list of resources. I doubt I could describe the role more precisely as these articles:

The Steward and His Office

The Steward in Matters Domestical

Staffing a Great Household

A print copy of the three links will be available in my Dramaturg’s Black Book.

The role of the steward was honorable; in higher courts it would have been held by a gentleman. I wasn’t able to ascertain how one trains to become a steward. I believe one would work through the ranks as an understeward. I will keep my eye out for more information.

As a Beard of Avon note, The Earl of Derby was Queen Elizabeth’s steward for many years.