We had our first stumble-through of Act 1 tonight, and it wasn’t bad. It was even good, in spots. Most people are off book, or nearly so, so there is some real acting going on. Alas, I still have a lot of work to do in our scene 12 (Shakespeare’s II.vii). But we have some talented, hard-working cast members playing the young lovers, and Jay’s Touchstone is giving me a lot to work with, so I think it will be an enjoyable show.
We have most of the rolling and sliding set pieces built and available for rehearsal, so Michael has already assigned scene shifting responsibilities, and we worked those into the run.
Michael has set the play neither in Shakespeare’s time nor our own, but rather at an interesting juncture in recent European history. So the forest-dwellers, like Brian (Silvius) and me, are shaggy-haired. So shaggy that I’m counting the days until I can cut my hair in May.
Moreso than “All the world’s a stage,” Michael and I are wrestling with Jaques’ material from earlier in that scene. The passage that begins, “Why, who cries out on pride” is especially vexatious. It’s not that the reasoning is all that subtle: for the most part, it’s just variations on “I can criticize anyone, and if he complains, then I win (because my criticism strikes home), and if he does not, I win (because he’s innocent and I’m just blah-blah-blah).” But the language is a little twisted, and the trick of physicalizing the argument so that the audience can follow it has escaped me so far. The couplet “Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea/Till that the weary very means do ebb?” is a challenge. Footnotes in some of my sources suggest emending wearer’s or watery for weary, but I’m not sure that any reading makes any more sense.