Subject: Great Literature and Falling off Furniture

Date: 28 Jan 1999 00:00:00 GMT

From: atruwe@shoggoth.uoregon.edu

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 --

http://www.connect.net/ron/howtomakeatoga.html --

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

after all.

 

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.

0<-< Caesar

____________

|TABLE |

| |

------------

|#| <--chair

 

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

is Bru-tus?

 

[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.

 

Annnnna

--

| <atruwe (at) gladstone.uoregon.edu> | Annna Truwe |alt.slack.devo|

|"Nothing's too good for Kodo and Podo." -- Dar, the Beastmaster |

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