Saturday, April 21, 2018
Santa Cruz Shakespeare strikes back this season with a 2018 program entirely devoted to love and all its complications — romantic, comic, and carnal.
Taking centerstage in this season-long homage to Aphrodite is the enduring combination of youthful roistering and tragic romance that is Romeo and Juliet.
The second Shakespearean production is Love's Labour's Lost, the comic misadventures of four young scholars foolishly trying to live without love — until four beauteous young women invade their studies.
This year's Fringe production is a play based on Dorothy Parker's droll prose piece, Men I Am Not Married To, adapted and directed by Kayla Minton Kaufman.
Celebrating its fifth season as an independent company, and its third year in the Audrey Stanley Grove at Delaveaga Park, the SCS presents its 2018 season from July 10 through September 2.
SCS Member discount tickets go on pre-sale next week, starting May 1st, at noon, available online or by calling 831 460-6399. (Tues-Fri 12 noon - 5 pm.) Have your member code number handy to get a $5 discount. (Look for your member code number on your membership thank-you card receipt.) Tickets go on sale to the general public starting May 15.
Meanwhile, there's still time to join the SCS team and become a member, or renew your current membership, and get your discount!
July is just around the corner. I'll see you in the Grove!
(That's Romeo and Juliet, by Bulgarian illustrator Svetlin Vassilev. Watercolor, 2003. See more of his gorgeous work here!)
Saturday, April 14, 2018
The plot begins when the infamous poet Dante Alighieri (long exiled, and now a caustic celebrity) joins the court of his new patron, Francesco della Scala, called Cangrande, the cunning, charismatic, ruthless, and dazzling Lord of Verona.
Over the template of Cangrande's raucous real-life exploits, Blixt sows the seeds of themes, plots, and characters that will evolve into some of Shakespeare's most famous plays, to be further developed in the next three books (and counting) in the series.
Despite teasing hints, few of Shakespeare's actual characters appear in this book, but the devilish glee with which Blixt foreshadows conflicts and stories to come keeps us turning the pages.
The story is so dense with historical action and intrigue, I meant to skim an early, detailed battle scene, but the character-building was so excellent, I didn't want to miss a word. (Also, the busy plot demands you pay attention!)
|Statue of Cangrande, Verona|
It may take Blixt 100 pages to describe the events of a single day, but he knows his Shakespeare, his Dante, and his Renaissance Italian history. And there's literally never a dull moment!
It's fascinating to watch protagonist Pietro Alighieri evolve from studious youth longing for the approval of his famous father, accidental war hero, and confidant of Cangrande, into a man for whom honor and justice are so ingrained, he doesn't even realize how extraordinary his values are.
Full disclosure: I started reading this book for practical (or possibly piratical) reasons. Working on my own Italian Renaissance project, I was hoping to steal, er, sample some of the period color.
|Evidently, flamboyant Cangrande laughed at danger!|
So, I found both books online. The first one was a little too YA for me. Then I picked up this daunting volume: it weighed a ton, the pages were numerous, and the print was tiny.
Well, I thought, I'll just skim through it and hopefully pick up a little of the flavor of the era through osmosis.
Hah! Flavor? This book is a fourteen-course meal! No point standing on ceremony; better just dive in, for all the reasons mentioned above!
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
So my Beast of the Month for April is this ceramic art tile depicting scenes from Beauty and the Beast, ca. 1867. Tile from Morris (as in William), Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Painted by Edward Burne-Jones and Edward Coley.
Okay, this Beast is basically just a bear, but I love the decorative quality of this Pre-Raphaelite tile. In design terms (very loosely speaking), the mid-Victorian Pre-Raphaelites led to Art Nouveau led to the Craftsman style around the turn of the 20th Century.
These eras were all about fine craftsmanship and beautiful decoration. And just look at that lower right image!
I love how Beauty is having a romantic dream of Beast back in his rose garden, as her conniving sisters slumber on obliviously. Yes, according to the story, this is probably the dream that tells Beauty to hurry back to the cattle because Beast is dying without her.
But there's so much tenderness in that image! That's why I love it.