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BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients

keberoxu 06 Mar 20 - 12:18 PM
Senoufou 06 Mar 20 - 02:16 PM
keberoxu 06 Mar 20 - 03:02 PM
keberoxu 06 Mar 20 - 07:04 PM
Rapparee 07 Mar 20 - 08:18 AM
keberoxu 07 Mar 20 - 10:15 AM
Rapparee 07 Mar 20 - 02:24 PM
Mrrzy 08 Mar 20 - 09:34 PM
keberoxu 09 Mar 20 - 01:40 AM
keberoxu 10 Mar 20 - 05:51 PM
mg 10 Mar 20 - 07:23 PM
mg 10 Mar 20 - 07:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Mar 20 - 10:15 PM
keberoxu 12 Mar 20 - 08:41 PM
keberoxu 14 Mar 20 - 07:08 PM
keberoxu 16 Mar 20 - 06:24 PM
keberoxu 17 Mar 20 - 02:50 PM

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Subject: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 12:18 PM

This will be a very specific thread, on my part.
Threads drift when others comment, which is quite all right.
Personally this thread will assist me in
keeping a tight focus on one subject and having a specific place to do so.
A thread is already going about my treatment as a clinic patient.
And it is true that the drama division of the activities department is an adjunct to treatment at the clinic.
The drama thing, however, is going to be a big commitment for me,
and while my participation positively will have clinical ramifications,
disclosure of the experience of going from selecting one play to the week of performances
will be a lengthy and detailed topic in its own right.
If I can kind of keep these detailed updates out of the
'patient at the clinic',
'stay afloat when others don't' thread,
it may not help anybody else but it will really help me.

So:
we have just completed Week Zero.
Week One, the next week, is when the little custom-designed space
which is the theater for the clinic patients is opened up.
Week Zero was outside the little theater.
During Week Zero, meetings have been held in the clinic, actually,
in the Community Center wing of the big clinic residence.
The Community Center wing has no beds in it -- it is all about
meeting spaces, offices, conference rooms, activity rooms:
the stuff we do when we are not
in our bedrooms, at the dining table, or seeing the nurses and physicians and whoever for treatment.

The drama division director, a lifelong theater professional,
who has been leading the clinic productions for sixteen years,
always chooses Shakespeare for 'the spring play' meaning the season.
There are two drama productions through the clinic each year,
and the play in the autumn/early winter can be
anything BUT Shakespeare (Ubu Roi, one season, for example).

The director is conscientious about not being repetitive in the Shakespeare canon. 'Hamlet,' for example, was a clinic production within the last five years. Therefore,
it will be a long time indeed before 'Hamlet' is up for consideration again.

The choices were narrowed down to two plays, both of which we read this week, sitting in a conference room, as I say, in the clinic.
'Pericles' is very late Shakespeare , contemporary roughly
with 'The Tempest' , 'A Winter's Tale.'
'A Midsummer Night's Dream' needs no introduction as it is, I say this affectionately,
one of Shakespeare's most notorious plays.

We read one play one evening, and the other play on a different evening.
All of the drama activity is scheduled after supper, so our nights are no longer our own (although not seven nights a week until we are down to dress rehearsals and performances).

The clinic patient population is a very diverse one; that said,
I am over sixty and probably of a generation close to the director himself.
Most of the patients who chose this activity
are 'kids' -- I call 'em that because, for heaven's sake,
I am old enough to parent them.
I mean, this majority is legal adult age, and yet they are between the ages of twenty and thirty-five.
Old enough to be out of what we call 'high school' in the US.
Some of them remind me of 'high-school' minors though!

The director, having narrowed our choices down to two Shakespeare works,
left the choosing up to the patients, who are
the first to be cast
(convention of many years standing is that at some point,
especially with a high number of dramatis personae,
casting is opened up to volunteers from the community outside the clinic).
Well, it will surprise nobody that
'Midsummer Night's Dream' won hands down.
We had a difficult time getting through the reading because of the sheer hilarity at some of the utterly ridiculous goings-on in the play, especially 'the mechanicals' including the infamous Bottom.
I delayed the reading about half of a minute when it was my turn to read the lines and I laughed so hard that I couldn't breath for, well, several seconds;
and of course I will never live this down.

The patients, particularly 'the kids,' were positively enchanted (I know, lousy pun) with 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' And this director has a kind of Pied Piper young-at-heart quality to him,
you can tell that he loves doing this work with this population.
'The kids' are going to follow him, Pied-Piper fashion, through whatever hoops he makes us jump through.
I don't know how an out of shape sexagenarian is going to keep up with the kids, will I collapse?!
But if I don't at least try it, what a waste not to.

I'll let you know -- shudder to think --
in what Midsummer role I will end up being cast;
that's the director's decision, not ours.
An awful lot of lovemaking and kissing goes on in this piece,
and with my luck, I will have to smooch onstage, ugh.
Women often play men's roles in this population and setting,
so absolutely anything is possible.
Watch this space.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: Senoufou
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 02:16 PM

That sounds like a lot of fun keberoxu, and I'm so glad you're enthusiastic. Maybe you'll be Titania the Queen of the Fairies?


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 03:02 PM

And have to make love to an ass's head with a man inside it?
Oy veh!

Titania does indeed have a particularly involved verbal outburst towards Oberon,
not an easy bit of dialogue to memorize or perform.
And I can see how I might get stuck with that ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Mar 20 - 07:04 PM

How, you might ask, does the staffperson leading the drama division of the activities department for clinic patients,
take said patients in his cast through unabridged Shakespeare?
Short answer: he doesn't.
He uses abridged versions.

There is some way of doing business as a teacher or instructor,
some educational/business angle here, that is outside my experience.
This past week, when the patients joined the director, and the director's youthful assistant, for the play readings,
these abridged versions of Shakespeare were referred to as "cuts."

"Cuts" means something different to somebody like me, raised with telecasts or cinema showings of films with "cuts" in them,
then it means in an educational branch of live theater
dealing with literature in the public domain.
In other words, I can't explain what was meant by "cuts."
However, the director and assistant cheerfully volunteered to us patients at the read-throughs, that
these "cuts" were not their work, not custom-made for us at the clinic.
Instead, these "cuts" had already been produced and staged at venues limited to, say, high school drama departments, or to some form of regional touring that was at a tier lower than professional.
The assistant rattled off the names of the institutions from which the director had acquired these ready-made, already-staged "cuts," and these places were not far from this clinic, in local areas.
I know nothing about what kind of networks exist to make such abridgments available to a larger clientele of educators,
or what kind of money pays for this ... grants someplace?
Those nuts-and-bolts details were not told to us,
nor did I ask -- literally none of my business, but of course I am curious.

Thus we have, you might say,
"A Midsummer Night's Carefully Abridged Dream."
I had rapidly skimmed over a library copy, elsewhere, of Shakespeare's actual unabridged play;
I could not make out all of the omitted material, but I spotted some of it.
Yes, I had to use the word spotted.
In order to put a spell on the Fairy Queen, Titania,
her consort, Oberon, must wait until she sleeps.
In order for Titania, after a vigorous verbal quarrel with Oberon,
to fall asleep, her fairy attendants
have to sing a lullaby to her.
Guess what? No lullaby. She dismisses the other fairies, lies down, and goes to sleep.
Then Oberon comes in and goes to work.

Some of the business with the 'mechanicals', and with Bottom, has also been neatly excised.
Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and his conversations with Hermia's father, with his fiancée Hippolyta, well, the conversations are there but they have been trimmed in places.
I reckon some of the other fairy mischief has also been cut back.
But we still get the two youthful pairs of lovesick people and we know how they are being manipulated by Puck and Oberon.
What a circus this is going to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 08:18 AM

I remember that play! Hernia is Feces' girlfriend and Shakespeare says that her Bottom is a nice ass. But Feces is married to Hippylighter, who is queen of Amazon. Hernia is in love with Beltsander and Hell Anna has the hots for Demitasse, who has the hots for Hernia. Frank Flute, Nicked , Bottom, Smug, and others come in to play Pyromaniac, Frisbee, and a politician known as Lyin'. Well, O'Brien is married to Titanium and is king of the Theories but Titanium is in love with Frisbee and has to change a baby in Indiana.

It's a real mess.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 10:15 AM

You left out Wall.
As Hippolyta says:
"This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard."


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Mar 20 - 02:24 PM

Wall got knocked down.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 09:34 PM

That's only the second Shakespeare play from last summer, my friend was Wall. It was great. You're gonna have a blast, keberoxu.
Keep us posted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 01:40 AM

Thanks, Mrrzy.
Your post makes more sense in combination with your nice PM
which was private so I won't disclose it.
It was the character 'Moonshine,' by the way,
that made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 05:51 PM

Change of status.
I will still cheer on the spring play,
and I may participate in the production aspect in some way.
But, i've only been at the clinic a few weeks,
my therapy/treatment is starting to dig deeper,
and you know what? It's too much.
I sent a message (it's okay to do it this way)
to the activities department,
saying that I'm sorry to let people down,
but not to cast me in a role in the play after all.

As one of the nurses pointed out when I opened up to her,
the first six weeks at this long-term treatment facility are critical, and it's an especially vulnerable time.
I have to put my well-being first,
and when the examination of my problems really kicked in,
I felt too vulnerable to take on so much all at once.

As I say, I will cheer on my fellows in the production,
maybe be involved in some lesser way.
And if/when I learn second-hand how things are proceeding,
without breaching confidentiality,
I may post some considered updates to this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: mg
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 07:23 PM

well, as an audience member you will have some additional insights from your work preparing for this. I shall see if there are any songs based on this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: mg
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 07:29 PM

sure enough. maybe this is routinely sung in a performance. i think these are high school students

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uNxPwSJfpA
cllick
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uNxPwSJfpA


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 10:15 PM

Yesterday I had to talk to a city prosecutor about a case she is trying (auto accident, the woman receiving the ticket is fighting it). I was the witness. I had major surgery 3 weeks ago & didn't get to court under my own steam. Before the trials of the day I was pulled aside for our interview and though I wasn't feeling good my brain is still working. After a brief description of the accident, I told her that at the scene that the driver at fault kept telling everyone "but I had the light." I told the prosecutor that is was rather Shakespearean - the lady protested too much. That brought a satisfactory grin to the prosecutor's face. :) I wasn't feeling my most confident in the situation, but dropping Shakespeare into the conversation seems to have been just the right touch.

To conclude this non-sequitur post, songs and Shakespeare reminded me of on the the best ever April Fool's stories NPR ran. In 2006 Alice Furlaud yanked listener's chains with a report about a Cape Cod impresario seeking to rewrite the world's tragic operas. It really made me squirm before I remembered it was April 1.

Now back to mental health and Shakespeare.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 08:41 PM

Had a word with fellow patients who continued on with the play
during this, Week One at the little theater in the clinic's activities department building.

Good news:
a strong pair of performers
cast as Oberon and Puck, for this production of
A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Oberon is a patient with a strong, deep, espressive voice,
and he will have an excellent presence for this character.

The patient cast as Puck
has a naturally high speaking voice, very clear enunciation,
and has flowing long dark hair
and is very high-energy physically
with a wiry lean body.

The two of them together will make the most of their scenes,
vital to this particular play.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Mar 20 - 07:08 PM

Although I have dropped out of the play, I have checked in with several fellow patients who continue on, asking them for updates.
Many of the roles, if not all, are now cast.

The casting has now been slightly opened up, and the gradual inclusion process interests me.
In the first stage of casting,
the drama director casts current clinic patients.

When the director opens up from the first to the second phase,
the casting of roles draws on participants
who are not only from the current population of in-patient residents,
but those participants who are former patients from the clinic,
now discharged, and who have worked in past plays produced by the clinic's activities department.

Thus, when I asked after characters in 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' role by role, and got updated reports from my fellow patients,
they named not only people I recognize from the resident in-patient population
but also people from before my time,
who completed their in-patient treatment, were discharged,
and are either in aftercare
or are clinic 'alumnae'.

A later stage of casting will open up and out to
include community members otherwise not connected with the clinic.

I note that Bottom and his "Athenian mechanicals", who
stage a play-within-a-play that is ridiculously amateurish
(Shakespeare no doubt getting some dismaying real-life experiences out of his system),
are largely present-day residential patients,
some of them real drama queens in life outside the theater.
The result ought to be uproarious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Mar 20 - 06:24 PM

The spring play, A Midsummer Night's Dream,
might have to be cancelled
due to the coronavirus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Shakespeare with the clinic patients
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Mar 20 - 02:50 PM

Suspended, for certain.
Cancelled? The drama division lives in hope
that after a short suspension of gatherings,
it will be possible to prepare SOMETHING for May.
If not what they meant to produce exactly,
then still something that could be done in public
that people could attend.
With the suspension of group rehearsals thanks to 'virus,
a production like the one planned on won't have the
prep time that it needs.
But there are other ways, if one is adaptable.

We will see what happens.


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