My week of exciting activities – Tuesday: Twelfth Night.

My week of culture-consuming continues! On Tuesday night I went to see the Shakespearean play Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance. Stephen Fry was also in it and I imagine most people went because of him, but I love Mark Rylance. I love him. He’s one of the most amazing actors ever. Really. I’m not exaggerating. I don’t much care for Shakespeare most times – too many words, too confusing. But when phenomenal actors perform it, it becomes clear like crystal. It should be the litmus test of whether actors are good or not. They should have to come into a room, do a soliloquy from a Shakespearean play, and if at the end I understood what they were talking about, they’re good. Here’s Mark Rylance doing Richard II in the Globe Theater in London.

Rylance was the director of the Globe Theater in London for a decade where you could go and see Shakespearean plays exactly like they did back in the 1590’s (but with probably less body odor). They often don’t use female actresses, making males play female roles (period-accurate). The audience has to stand the whole time (also accurate). The costumes they wear are insane. There are no zippers or velcro or elastic. It’s all linen and silk and cotton and fur and leather sewn together by hand. One costume took sixteen people to make because each person knew a different olde-timey skill and it took all of them to figure the costume out. Amazing. Anyway, Rylance and the rest of the actors got together and came over here and are doing a double-billing of Twelfth Night and Richard III. I have tickets for Richard III (the royal they found in a parking lot last year) which I will see next week. It is not fun. It’s about a crippled man who kills family members to ascend the throne. Twelfth Night, however, is fun. There’s mistaken identity! And silly stockings! And music! There was one song at the end that I could not get out of my head. The lyrics were, “The wind and the rain, it raineth ev’ry day, it raineth ev’ry day.” Four hours later I found myself saying, “England! It raineth every damn day!” to nobody. What an earworm. The music was really cool. They used authentic instruments and parked the musicians above the stage so they could play various tunes to make the scenes more impactful. Ever heard someone play a hurdy-gurdy? I have, now. If you have a chance to see it, I recommend that you do. It’s really a pleasant farce, and it’s so great to see super-talented people do the thing that they do so well. I’m going to buy the DVD version (which is pretty much identical).
It raineth ev’ry day.

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