To the Theatre!

Naturalist and I had a chance to jet into the city and go to the Theatre! With a capital T and -re on the end, pronounced “Theatah” like an aristocrat. Not like the theater, lower case T and -er on the end…as in, movie theater. I mean the real deal, with live people running around on a stage and an intermission in the middle.

We got all dressed up, did our hair up nice (not her favorite thing), and drove down to see Shakespeare’s “Richard III”. My first experience with Shakespeare was my high school “Romeo and Juliet” English class, and I swore off Shakespeare for the rest of my life. All that decoding the iambic pentameter stuff nearly did me in. Thank goodness for Kenneth Branaugh putting Shakespeare on the big screen, where I could just watch it instead of comb through it line by tedious line. If Shakespeare wanted me to read his stuff, he would have written books, not plays.

We did prepare for our experience, however, by reading plot notes, character summaries, themes and motifs, and key facts of the play at Sparknotes. We learned the play was about the bloodthirsty humpback Richard III who killed just about everyone in his immediate and not so immediate family to ascend to the throne. We learned the play was full of murders, curses, foreshadowing, ghosts, and psychotic characters…what’s not to love?!

I told her that whenever I watch Shakespeare, I get about 10% of what’s being said. If I watch it again, I go up to 20%, and maybe after the 4th time I get to about 50% comprehension, so it was OK if she didn’t really get everything as it was happening. For help, we brought along a cheat sheet (from Web English Teacher) that broke each act down into a cartoon reenactment. It turned out to be a great resource–how can it not, with this kind of narrative:

richard

The play was fantastic. Amazing! The actors were so good, I was up at about 30% comprehension my very first time watching it! Naturalist said “I get everything…about 3 minutes after they finish saying it…” She was enthralled for the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes it took to complete it. It was right up her alley, especially the way Richard III was written. He’s definately the antagonist, running around killing off brothers, uncles, nephews, and wives, but he has monologues with the audience that make him kinda likable. Kinda funny. Kinda the protagonist…to a point. By the time he has his young nephews taken to the Tower of London and killed he stopped being so funny.

And then, at the very end, a scene developed that I expected to be like this:

richard2

and it turned out to be pretty (very) scary. Everyone that Richard had killed up to that point (which is like, most of the characters) reappears bathed in red light and somewhat hidden in a ghostly fog. They each take their turn reenacting their death on him while shouting, “DESPAIR AND DIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!” Naturalist didn’t mind, but I was totally freaked out. All those murders left me a little jumpy by the end.

The Theater.

Aside from the amazing play, a highlight of the night was each chugging 12 ounces of soda pop in about 5 minutes during the intermission.

She loved the theatre so much, we’re going to Phantom of the Opera next month! Next time, I think I’ll skip the soda pop at intermission…

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