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Love's Labours Lost

From up here, we look down on a picnic. Sumptuous fabric is spread out on the stage, weighed down with bowls of fruit and batons of bread. The princess and her ladies laugh and gesture. One rolls two apples across the stage to delighted audience members whose heads and arms show above the stage's lip. By the end of the act, the bread will be in pieces as an all-out food fight breaks out.

Love's Labours Lost is an erratic play. I suspect most of that is in the text itself, although I have not read it (except for a little last-act fact-checking post-play). G. likes Don Armado, but I could decipher barely half of what he was saying from up where we sat above the stage's roof at the Globe. This melancholic drip has the final lines of the play - and I had to look them up afterwards since I couldn't decipher a word of them.

The plot is particularly flimsy, but that didn't mean it didn't have its moments of brilliant delights. The princess and her ladies were wonderful, in wit, in delivery, in most of their body language, and in their gowns. Biron bantered well. Costard was lively. The production made nice use of a pair of fairly lifelike deer puppets, which were a particular highlight.

It was good to see a production at the Globe again, but my heart wasn't fully in the play. I suspect that's the play itself more than the production, but having only seen the one rendition, I can't be certain.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's a weird play and one of the rare ones that I think is better on the page, since it's all about word-play and puns and meta-literary jokes. I think The Globe did the best they could with it, though perhaps over-doing the raunch a bit (I really didn't need to see the Parson's naughty bits -- and from where I was standing, I saw everything!). But did you find Rosaline rather, um, bitchy? And not bitchy-and-therefore-hot bitchy, but just bitchy. The press reviews, btw, also complained that Don Armado was difficult to hear, so I'm glad I was in the center of the yard, where we could hear him. (And a side note: I found Othello hard to hear from the Middle Gallery -- what is it with these men who can't project?)

All that said, I was surprised how much our audience was into it. Did your audience give a sympathetic "awwww" when the nobles interrupted the Pedant's Judas Maccabeus so much that he gave up?
Aug. 2nd, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
From way up high on the side, I didn't see much of the Parson's horse-dropping moment - but I'm just as glad I didn't see any more of it than I did. Rosaline - yeah, she was pretty bitchy. But I also really liked her, so clearly the bitchiness didn't kill all her appeal for me.

Good to know about Othello - if I end up going, I'll be closer than the rafters. The whole expedition was arranged by a friend of my houseguest. I'm glad it got me to go, but they were fairly obscure seats as the venue goes.

Yes! Our audience awwed too! Poor Pedant. They also awwed over the stag nuzzling the doe at the beginning.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, I really want to comment about the Othello at the Globe, which my dad and I saw, but in case you ever go see it, I wouldn't want to bias your judgment because I'd be curious to hear if you reacted like I did to the way they wrapped things up.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
It's closing in less than 3 weeks, so if I'm going, I'm going soon.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Buy the Kenneth Branagh version on DVD - done as a 1930's musical with Adrian Lester (hurrah!) and various other great people. It really comes to life (and I believe you like musicals too?)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
I love musicals! I have the soundtracks to two of the Branagh Shakespeare movies, but have never seen that one. Thank you for the recommendation.
Aug. 2nd, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yes! I second the Branagh version. It's immense amounts of fun, and the musical style works surprisingly well.
Aug. 3rd, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
Yes, the play is erratic with much that is arbitrary and much that is left unresolved. In fact "Love's Labours Lost" is the best argument I know that there really was a "Love's Labours Won". The conversations can be hard going on the page as well. I suspect that a carefully edited and acted version would work much better on the stage, at least if you could hear it.
Aug. 5th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's my least favourite Shax play, actually. It's just not as structurally tight as his others. I actually didn't like Branaugh's version either, though I can appreciate that he is pushing the play in a creative, new direction--and it was very colourful and pretty, if nothing else.

I've somehow still never been to the Globe!!! I'm hoping to check out Merchant of Venice when I return to London (I'm in Montreal for five weeks on a fellowship at McGill Uni.)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )