Forsooth, “Henry V” was a disappointment. It’s really too bad, as it’s my favorite of the history plays and one I was really looking forward to. I told Kate all the way there that it contains one of the greatest follow-me-boys speeches in the English language, and she should watch for it. Alas, as drama the St. Crispin’s Day speech played more like Ben Stein in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” than, well, this:
Love me some Kenneth Branagh. What’s he up to these days? I heard him interviewed on NPR around the time this film came out, and he talked about the day he was playing Henry V onstage, and lost the glove he needed for a key scene. Shakespeare doesn’t specify many props in his plays, but the glove in “Henry V” is key. So he had to turn to the actor at his side and ad lib, in Elizabethan English, something like, “Fluellen, hast thou seen my glove?” Fluellen blanched and ran offstage to fetch another out of wardrobe, while Branagh wandered around the stage, freestyling in iambic pentameter to the other actors. As he did so, he spotted the glove; he’d dropped it a few feet away. He picked it up, returned to his mark, and continued the scene, just as Fluellen runs back onstage with a second one. I doubt if many people who were unfamiliar with the play even noticed the glitch, although he said that when he was leaving the theater that night, a passing car stopped, the window rolled down and a voice came from within: LOVED THE BIT WITH THE GLOVE.
Fortunately, the weekend improved after that. “The Pirates of Penzance” was a great deal more fun, and “42nd Street” even better. But you know, it’s really hard to go wrong with a) tap dancing; and b) “We’re in the Money.” I remember when the show opened in 1980, it wasn’t well-reviewed. It must have aged better, because it passed as a pleasant blur of tappin’ and singin’ and lots of sparkly costumes.
And now I’ve had my dose of theater for a while, at least until someone presses tickets to something else in my hand.
Stratford has changed since we were last there, and hasn’t. Same restaurants, same tourists, same townie kids hanging downtown after dark. I considered asking if any of them knew Justin Bieber, but thought better of it. After all, there’s plenty of Bieber-material on the web. (David, Adrianne? CLICK THAT.)
And so concludes the week of vacation. I saw friends and family, absorbed culture, rotated my tires. I’ve had worse weeks.
You guys, on the other hand… Did I mention what my heart did when I came home, after 36 hours without internet service, and found 136 emails waiting for me, nearly all comments? Did I? Well, it sank. It sank because I knew I’d soon have MEGO syndrome, and I did. Is this what it’s going to be like through November?
Please, say no.
On the other hand, when this is part of the election-news cycle, how can things not get crazy from time to time?
So, because I have to get ready to go back to lovely Lansing, a few notes:
Would my fifth cousin a million times removed, my reader in Connecticut who does Nall genealogy, get in touch? I got an inquiry from a Googler looking for Nall family info.
While this story in Salon takes some cheap shots at Tampa, I do think its foundational thesis is sound: If a world run on Tea Party principles is something we want, then Tampa is what we’ll get.
A good week to all.