For Orpheus’ lute was strung with poet’s sinews,/Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,/Make tigers tame and huge leviathans/Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands. TGV III.ii
The Two Gentleman of Verona is one of Shakespeare's early plays, perhaps even his first. We do not k now, exactly when it was written or first performed, but its stylistic and dramatic features distinguish it as early work: a small cast, a preponderance of end-stopped verse lines, a degree of simplicity in both language and characterization. Though the play has the relative superficiality of youth, it also has the virtues of that time of life: freshness, energy, pace, wholeheartedness, a desire to get to the point and to speak its mind. It is about the things that matter most urgently to young people: themselves, their friendships, and their love affairs. It makes its drama out of the conflicts between these things: how can you be simultaneously true to yourself, to your best friend, and to the object of your sexual desire?
Bate, Jonathan and Eric Rasmussen. William Shakespeare Complete Works (RSC 2007)
It will be fun to read through this play to coincide with the production by Wooden O touring the parks this summer. Apparently we see early roots of characters and plot devices to come in later works. I have taken a look at the character list and line counts, and we can read this with a cast of seven or eight, if need be. A synopsis and great photographs are available elsewhere, but I will not be posting any here. I do welcome notes ahead of time about readers' interest in various characters. It helps with planning both for the organizer and those, who like to prepare.
For the next three read-throughs, our wonderful organizers, Nancy and Aidan, have other adventures they are participating in, so I will do my best to assist in hosting these, but with a modified protocol. My apologies for the delay in getting this meet-up posted, but it has been extremely difficult to get time at the library to work on meet-up information. That has been compounded by not working with a PC for some time, Mac files on my flash drive not transferring, learning the changes at the meet-up website, etc. Yesterday I lost an hour’s worth of work, after I tried to load a map of the arboretum. Thank-you for your patience.
I have been saddened by the fact that long-time loyal members have not been coming to read-throughs because of the number of readers scheduled to attend. We have experienced a large growth in membership so there will be growing pains. To deal with this, I would like to suggest, rather than running these like meet-ups, that we run them more formally like traditional read-throughs are held. These are ensemble experiences and participation has guidelines. I would like to suggest a modified protocol for readers’ participation. Everyone is welcome!
Arrive on time. If you are running late, please join us without any expectations of participating in the reading. If it is easy for someone to share some lines, that may occur, but it likely will not. We try to alert you to traffic issues–closures and special events – but please check into these details, when planning your commute.
Please RSVP within the time frame set only if you are sure
that you will be able to attend the entire session. Other members make decisions based on this. The RSVP time period will close prior to the meet-up date to allow the organizer time with the script and details. Please change your RSVP before it closes if there is any doubt that you will attend. If something comes up after closing, please contact the organization team (there is a link at the upper left of the home page) if you cannot attend. If you haven’t RSVP’d and are then able to attend, please feel free, but with no expectations of participating in reading.
Share the wealth. We try to divide the reading in a fair way, but it is often true that some readers will have far more lines than others based on the characters chosen and, frankly, oversight. Please keep this in mind, when expressing interest in reading certain characters for the next few read-throughs to allow others more major rolls. We have tried to post line counts in our more recent synopses, but this information is also available at a google site using ‘Shakespeare’, ‘line’, and ‘count’ as keywords in a search.
Thank-you so much for arriving on time for the last three read-throughs. Things went far more smoothly because the ensemble was ready to read and there were no disruptions.