SHAKESPEARE ALOUD

Two Gents Act 2, Scene 3 – Buckingham Palace

Funny thing about reading Shakespeare outside Buckingham Palace – the BBC may be watching you.  So it happened today – after reading my scene, a reporter clearly out with his headphones and microphone to do some audio interviews, couldn’t resist asking me what in the world I was doing.  We chatted for a bit about Shakespeare Aloud – he was very interested which was nice of him.  At some point he turned his recording device on and suddenly this became taped.  My mother, valiantly cinematographing for me today as we parade about London’s more famous sites, decided a couple minutes in that she would tape the interview too.  So I have that as a separate interview – by that time I think we were onto politics!

The Palace grounds really do look fabulous – the royal wedding just 3 weeks prior had everything looking as spic and span as is humanly possible.  You can still see Big Ben from where the camera’s pointing if the light were better.  Very beautiful spot .

THE SCENE

It’s so amusing with this project to read a pretty banal scene of ruffians outside such prestigious landmarks.  All the charm of the project.  This particular ruffian’s opening speech however, Lance with his dog Crab, is a speech I got a whole lot of mileage out of in high school and college auditions.  I loved doing this speech – then it got old.  It was nice to reprise it for this video.

Musically speaking, Lance, or better yet the actor playing Lance, has got to favor the music of comic timing over all.  His is a sort of densely cadencing punch line usually.  And most of the laughs a good Lance will get will be between the dog and the audience.  Probably just looking from one to the other a few times will get us all right on the same page.  Lance, like all lower clowns, looks with his nose.

It’s a beautiful speech, and while it of itself may not be that funny haha, it is funny (greatly amusing), and buried not so deep within is a real sadness, sense of longing, and fragile vulnerability.

The only observation I’ll make musically speaking is that the ensuing Pantino/Lance bit (lines 31 to 55) is exemplary of the way characters use each other’s words ‘against’ them if you will in a typically prose way as opposed to a verse way.  In verse very often characters will borrow the other’s words (see the first scene of this play) to build upon the argument – it is an altitude-altering exercise.  Or to say it differently, the one-upsmanship smacks of an energetic game of tennis between two posh worthy adversaries.  But in prose, as in here, repeated words are more spat between the two or kicked at each other like a half-baked game.  Of course the argument is always still there (this is Shakespeare after all and everyone’s always pushing something), but the energy with which people borrow each other’s language is just more basely playful than in verse.  Usually.  Witness:

PANTINO

34 Away, ass, you’ll lose the tide if you tarry any longer.

LANCE

35 It is no matter if the tied were lost, for it is the

36 unkindest tied that ever any man tied.

PANTINO

37 What’s the unkindest tide?

LANCE

38 Why, he that’s tied here, Crab, my dog.

PANTINO

39 Tut, man, I mean thou’lt lose the flood, and in

40 losing the flood, lose thy voyage, and in losing

41 thy voyage, lost thy master, and in losing thy

42 master, lose thy service, and in losing thy service –

43 why dost thou stop my mouth?

LANCE

For fear thou shouldst lose thy tongue.

PANTINO

45 Where shall I lose my tongue?

LANCE

46 In thy tale.

PANTINO

47 In thy tail!

LANCE

48 Lose the tide, and the voyage, and the master, and

49 the service, and the tied?  Why, man, if the river were

50 dry, I am able to fill it with my tears; if the wind were

51 down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.

PANTINO

52 Come, come away, man.  I was sent to call thee.

LANCE

53 Sir, call me what thou dar’st.

PANTINO

54 Wilt thou go?

LANCE

55 Well, I will go.

Pantino gives us another typical prose ‘list’ speech, which really should all be assembled and read in order sometime by someone.  But it’s clear that sharing language is part of the gag in this scenelet.  Shakespeare also tries out here the old ‘tongue in your tail’ gag, which if this is indeed before Taming of the Shrew, was obviously quite a riot because he put it smack dab in the middle of the Kate/Petruchio wooing scene.

BB

 

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One Response to Two Gents Act 2, Scene 3 – Buckingham Palace

  1. John Essay June 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Love love love this!

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