Subject: Great Literature and Falling off Furniture
Date: 28 Jan 1999 00:00:00 GMT
Organization: Spiked Fists of Hatred III: The Vengeance
Newsgroups: alt.slack.devo, alt.foot.fat-free, alt.freaks
Tuesday my Literature teacher offered extra credit to anyone who would
act in a scene from Julius Caesar, which we were reading at the time.
Mind you, not actually memorizing or rehearsing or anything, just
reading from the book. I volunteered for every part as she handed them
out, and eventually got assigned Mark Antony.
We were to put on the scene of Caesar's funeral, act III scene ii, I
believe. I was going to make a toga, but all my sheets are
inappropriate colors and too short anyway. I found a site that tells
you how to build a better toga --
and planned to go buy some nice red fabric. Unfortunately, that would
have involved actually leaving the dorm, so I ended up not doing it
I managed to borrow a large white sheet from Liz, the one person in this
wing with whom I have managed to converse successfully. She kept it for
this very purpose. Preliminary draping indicated that it was a Bad Idea
for me to wear a toga, particularly a white one. I folded the sheet and
put it in my bag. If the guy playing Caesar (Dead) couldn't keep a
straight face, we could put it over him.
Meanwhile, I decided to take the Elizabethan attitude towards
costuming. Modern dress all the way. Except I found a box of red
"Hello! My Name Is" tags when I was searching for a highlighter for my
lines, so I wrote the main characters' names on 'em. Perfect.
Oh, yeah. I did read the lines a lot and practice saying 'em. It's not
like I was totally preoccupied with the outfit.
So we all showed up for class, having decided not to meet a few minutes
early and rehearse. Everyone liked the name tags, especially Plebes
1-4. Caesar (Dead) tied the sheet into a toga over his Hawaiian shirt
and cowboy boots. Caesar (Dead) and myself went outside the classroom,
waiting for our cue. Wait.
"You're dead. I have to get you in somehow."
Caesar (Dead) sort of panicked, but I quickly looked through the script
and realized Plebe #4 had no lines until after Caesar's body entered. I
opened the door slightly. He was right at the end of the mass of
plebes. I bet they were in numerical order. Anyway, I yanked him out
the door and explained the situation.
While Brutus was winning the crowd over with his oratorical skills, Mark
Antony and Plebe #4 were in the hall, experimenting with different ways
of carrying Caesar's body. We eventually decided that I would grab his
legs and Plebe #4 would grab his arms. We also decided that he was
_not_ going on the table, but rather the floor in front of the table.
We heard our cue, and picked up the Emperor.
He was a very good sport about it. The class suppressed a giggle as we
tried not to whack him against anything. Plebe #4 went and stood next
to (presumably) Plebe #3, and I did some crouching and half-sobbing
while waiting for Brutus to wrap it up.
Anyway, Brutus was standing on the chair. He finished, and I ascended.
"Friends, Romans, countrymen--"
And that's when I nearly fell off the damn chair. I did some pretty
fancy gyrations and managed not to tip too far.
The rest went pretty well, except for the crowd. Whenever kids read
Shakespeare out loud, the ones reading the crowd think they have to
CHANT the crowd lines in unison, like some demented chorus.
EVERYBODY: Oh! Mur-der! We will burn their hou-ses! (pause, pause) Where
[example. I don't have the book on me.]
Anyway, I was emoting the heck out of the lines and stuff, and started
tearing up at one point. We finished the scene to thunderous applause,
and Caesar (Dead) stood up and announced that our bungling had given him
an Atomic Toga Wedgie and if we had run a minute longer, he would have
scooted himself offstage and dealt with it. He then left the room and
came back disheveled and toga-less.
During our 5-minute break, the professor wandered over to me and
complimented my ACTING! I said something like, "Uh, was it real obvious
when I nearly fell off a chair?" "Oh, no," she said, "I just thought
you were being distraught."
She went on to praise my acting ability even more, which confused the
hell out of me, because I seriously have about three acting styles:
Shouty Person; REALLY Shouty Person; and Person Related to One of the
Actors, Holding the Scenery Up but Not Actually in the Scene so Please
don't Notice Her.
I guess Shakespearean stuff is good for actors who only know how to
enunciate, project their voices, and pronounce things well, even when
they don't know what they mean. It would explain the percentage of Star
Trek actors who are former Shakespeareans. It's not like talking about
being foolish fond and about your bodkin is much different than
announcing that the inertial dampers have altered the phase harmonics of
the warp nacelles.
The professor said something to the effect of "If you ever decide to
stir up a riot, tell me. I'd like to see it."
And the moral of the story is: If you can disguise the fact that you're
about to fall off a small chair, you're probably a pretty good actor and
can incite the masses to revolt.
| <atruwe (at) gladstone.uoregon.edu> | Annna Truwe |alt.slack.devo|
|"Nothing's too good for Kodo and Podo." -- Dar, the Beastmaster |