Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One; two: why, then 'tis time to do't

Wow, over 80 views of my blog already! Y'all make me feel so welcome and encouraged! Comments are always welcome. I try to respond to them all directly.

Today's shirt is actually my newest purchase. I bought it this summer at Vancouver's Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival. Every year, Bard presents four fabulous plays on two separate stages and if luck, timing and finances decree it be so, I can usually make it down for at least one. 2007 was probably my best year when I think I attended all the productions AND came back for their Taming of the Shrew done Western (as in "cowboy") style at least three additional times. (It was REALLY REALLY good!) My friends, Mike and Lynne, visited Vancouver from England that year so I was pleased to be able to show off the "culture in the colonies" ;) 

This year's offerings are Macbeth, King John, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Ontario!) and another staging of Shrew. Coincidentally, the leads in Macbeth this year, the ever-present Bob Frazer and the stunning Colleen Wheeler, were the same leads I saw in 2007 in Shrew. Everything comes full circle eventually, I guess. Mr. Frazer commented jokingly at a fundraiser earlier in the spring that in all of Shakespeare's canon there are only two happily married couples - Kat and Petruchio in Shrew & Lord and Lady Macbeth - and now, he and Colleen had played both. 

When I saw this shirt Ye Olde Merchandise Shoppe, I was compelled twofold to buy it. One, we were actually attending "The Scottish Play" that night (and it was a wonderfully spooky, tartan-clad production) AND the quote is the title of my very favourite Ray Bradbury book and possibly the only Bradbury/Disney co-production film adaptation EVER (correct me if I'm wrong). If you didn't know, Ray Bradbury passed away this year. It struck me, a simple fan who had never met or interacted personally with him, as a terrible loss to the world but to a colleague and friend like Neil Gaiman it was obviously exponentially more. On his journal the day of Bradbury's passing, Gaiman posted a piece he had written a couple of years ago and then composed a piece for The Guardian. And then, the following day, posted a recording of him reading "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury", a story he had written for Bradbury's last birthday gift. I highly recommend a listen if you have thirteen minutes to be transported.

Back to Something Wicked This Way Comes, I actually saw the film first, starring Jason Robards Junior (whom IMDB now lists as simply "Jason Robards") and the delicious Jonathan Pryce as Mr. Dark. In one scene, Robards' Charles Halloway gets to mutter the title line about thumbs while sitting in an immense and empty library as a wind blows through it. Suddenly, Mr. Dark, the sinister yet charming purveyor of the visiting yet diabolical circus appears next to him responding to the  Shakespeare with Longfellow:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

...which Halloway finishes off, defiantly:
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men"

I was probably only nine when I saw the movie on TV, well before studying any Shakespeare, and for the longest time, I thought that those lines actually belonged together and even quoted the Christmas verse when a friend quoted the Macbeth at me. 

Weirdest call-and-response reaction ever.

I own a copy of the movie although on re-watching it as an adult, the creepy Bradbury atmosphere combined with the hokey early 80s Disney effects makes for a really strange dynamic in the show. Still, the idea of the people desperate to amend a life-long regret by making a deal with the devil is a powerful one and scenes, if not the entire film, have stuck in my imagination for decades now. I am still think back to those scenes when I discuss regret - the shudder, the sorrow, the sigh - and part of why I am so loathe to pass up opportunity for new experiences is that I never want regret to be the overwhelming feeling in my life.

Well, then, there's two posts in a row. I'll end it with Mr. Dark's quiet and ominous warning to Charles Halloway in that library:

"It's a thousand years to Christmas..."

(Lucky for us, the Xmas Clock says it's actually only 110 days.)