Saturday, September 25, 2010

MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This

Malvolio, the Puritan of Twelfth Night is gulled by the clowns into wearing yellow stockings that are cross-gartered. They also fool him into constantly smiling while in Olivia's presence.

In Twelfth Night: The Shakespeare Club, the student playing Malvolio is similarly gulled by her classmates. Only instead of cross-gartered stockings, they convince her to wear yellow Hammer pants and dance for them.

This song came out in 1990--two years after our play takes place, but it is an example of the type of dancing he did and the infamous Hammer pants.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trip through the 80s - The New Wave

Under the original plan for doing the full "Twelfth Night" in the 80s, the musical emphasis would have been on New Wave music with each of the two households representing a different strain of New Wave (which I'll let Mr. Redman comment on further).

Trip through the 80s - A Video Compilation (HQ Version)

We're including a fair amount of 80s music in the script, though Mr. Redman has been merciless in cutting them out where they drag down the plot. Here is a quick look of the top 10 songs of 1980-1989. For many of us, it brings back a lot of memories. But they're also good to look at for hairstyles, dance moves, clothes, accessories, etc.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Puritans & Televangelists

In "Twelfth Night: The Shakespeare Club," the student who plays Malvolio has her own way to modernize the part. Rather than playing him as the Puritan the script describes, she's playing him as a televangelist. Her line:

(haughtily) Puritans are totally bogus. They’ll make people think of Salem witch trials and grody stuff like that. I’m playing Malvolio as a televangelist.

The Salem witch trials are fairly well-known, particularly because of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. They are a part of our modern culture and Krista is correct that people tend to associate Puritans with witch trials.

Historical Puritans

However, the Puritans were not simply superstitious folk who were settling America during its early history. They formed in England as a theological splinter of the Church of England--believing that the reformations that separated the Church of England from the Catholic Church did not go far enough. They were active during the reign of Elizabeth I--Shakespeare's time--and were very anti-Catholic.

The term "Puritan" was first applied as an insult--and Shakespeare continues to adopt that policy, with people using Puritan as a way to insult Malvolio. There are rumors that Shakespeare or his father might have been a hidden Catholic--to be an open one invited a sentence of death or exile. If so, that would explain one reason Shakespeare consistently ridiculed Puritans. Another reason is that Puritans believed that the theater was evil and frequently campaigned that the London theaters be closed down--thus taking away Shakespeare's livelihood.

Malvolio as a Televangelist?

Does Krista's comparison of Malvolio and Puritans to the televangelists of the 80s hold true? It's certainly an interpretation that could be defended. Puritans shared some things in common with televangelists of that period: Both believed that Christians should live by the standards of the Bible and should read the Bible with great devotion and frequency. They both had elements of anti-Catholicism, with some televangelists going so far as to claim that Catholics aren't Christians or that they are a cult.

Just as televangelists called on people to live a holy life that excluded drinking, dancing, gambling,movies, and other pleasurable vices; Puritans were known for preaching the same. Both promoted conservative lifestyles and harangued others to do the same.

While many televangelists were devoted ministers who were simply adapting to new mediums, the 80s were filled with the scandals of those who used their religion for their own personal gain. The video below shows some of the televangelist scandals that rocked the 1980s.

Hey, where did it go?

I know I made a blog post on Monday. Where did it go?

Friday, September 17, 2010


Twelfth Night's second scene has Viola and a sea captain talking about how they survived a shipwreck. In Twelfth Night: The Shakespeare Club, set in the 80s, the young man fiddling with the boom box has missed most of the conversation--but he catches the word "shipwreck," and has this exchange with his classmates:

Mike: Shipwreck? My little brother just got that action figure.

Debbie: Not the GI Joe character, dipstick.

Mike: Why not, Debbie? It’d be awesome. I could play the captain as a sailor in the U.S. Navy instead of some hoser in tights with an eye patch. (getting excited) Then we could totally set it on Cobra Island instead of Illyria! That would be righteous!

(There is a pause as his fellow students look at him as if he’s grody to the max.)

Debbie: Dude, you’re such a nerd.

For those of you too young to know what Mike is talking about, take a look at the videos below. His action figure even came with a parrot. And no, neither Mr. nor Mrs. Redman had a Shipwreck action figure, but if anyone wants to donate one to our silent auction, we'd be happy to help you declutter!

Oops, the photo got a little big. Guess I'll have to work on uploading photos.

In the mean time, I'm happy to report that we have a first draft for the first half of the play. It will still need some clean up and the students have been very good about finding things that don't work (it's pretty awesome to have 12 editors when you're writing on the fly).

I'm going to start introducing the characters (at least what I know about them so far). Later, I will introduce each actor through an interview.

In "Twelfth Night: The Shakespeare Club," much of the main plot revolves around a love triangle between three characters: Tony, Jenni, and Krista.

Jenni is a senior who has been dating Tony for a few years. The actress creating her is working on her back story and I'll share it here if she gives permission. The play starts the afternoon after she and Tony have broken up. Jenni is an intelligent, down-to-earth person who is actually glad that the fall play is Shakespeare. She's researched the play and is able to answer the questions her fellow students have about it. She also has a sense of humor, but it is quieter and doesn't come out in the clownish fashion that others display. Her role in the play is Olivia, but through the course of our play, she ends up filling in for other students and their roles as well. As the high school drama takes people on and off the stage, students will end up playing multiple roles.

Tune in this week for more character intros.