...A little rain must fall.
Thanks again to Michael Meigs for his wonderful review!
Last night's audience included a group from one of the local Baptist churches. After the show, the Theater Board got an email from a very dissatisfied customer. The communication was passed along to the director, who shared it with us, and we got quite a hoot out of it.
It seems that the lady objected to the play being set in modern times. She wanted to see us sweat in Elizabethan garb, I guess.
Never mind that Shakespeare did all his plays in modern dress. All that Elizabethan stuff was, after all, modern in Willie's day. To continue to perform these plays in that way is to perform history. Performing history has its place, but our aim is to bring Shakespeare to a modern audience; an audience that is not necessarily interested in history, and just wants to see a good story.
She also complained about our "introduction of gangs into the story." Now, I ask you--what are
"two houses, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean,"
if not warring gangs? I suppose we could have set in in Scotland, and dressed everyone in tartan and called them "clans" instead, but...oh...wait...didn't Shakespeare already do one of those?
Our director cast several traditionally male characters as women. Samson, Abram, John, Tybalt and Mercutio, to be precise, and I dressed Mercutio in tight black jeans and a black satin shirt, open over a teal brocade bustier. Not to put too fine a point upon it, she looks ripe for a wardrobe malfunction. It ain't gonna happen, because the girl knows her bust and her bustier, but it's enough to keep the audience on edge, which is where we want them. It sort of pushed this lady over the edge. Not a happy camper.
Oh. She bitched about the script, as well. Apparently, she is not at all familiar with Shakespeare's bawdy humour, and thought we must have been messing with the script.
Hell, we CUT STUFF OUT to get the thing down to two hours from its normal three and a half!
And, a big HELL NO! to her suggestion that we refund her money!
We heard her out there. The scene where Merc and Ben are looking for Romeo after they have left the Cap's party (where R and J have just met) is played drunk. It's written drunk, so we played it drunk. We heard a very audible and disgusted, "Oh no! They're DRUNK!" from the audience. I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut it was her!
I hate to tell her, but Willie the Shake has been around a lot longer than Baptists!
Behold, Dearly Beloved, life (and theater) in Williamson County, Texas.