There’s maybe a 50/50 chance I have seen The Merry Wives of Windsor. I have some memory of doing so, but it’s also quite possible I dreamt it, and there’s no record on this blog. If I did, it didn’t leave me with an abiding appreciation for Sir John Falstaff, which is a shame because Sir John is a great comic character: the fat, drunken, cowardly knight who is subject to endless practical jokes. (Originally the character was called John Oldcastle, but then one of his descendants complained, forcing Shakespeare to change the name and add an epilogue promising that any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, was purely coincidental.)
I bring this up in gratitude to Marti for inviting us to the Backroom Shakespeare Project’s take on Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2 mashed together) which, as the name suggests, takes place in a relaxed setting at the back of a pub and finally got me properly acquainted with Sir John. Chatting and wandering about among the audience is encouraged – which explains how I was able to scan Wikipedia for so many facts while trying to follow along with the plot – as is improvisation and levity up on stage. The result is a performance which simultaneously diverges from the original (I’m pretty sure Prince Hal didn’t always steal cheeseburgers) and more authentically recreates the rowdy and boisterous atmosphere of actual Elizabethan theatre. (I’m not a time-traveller, so I’m trusting in what we were taught in GCSE English.)
On the theme of authentic recreations, I should mention Star Wars: The Force Awakens which I saw with Randi, Nolan, Todd and Carolyn on Saturday. As a group, we ranged from “Star Wars was the most perfect movie from my childhood” to “I’ve never seen Star Wars before”, so it must be a good sign that everyone enjoyed themselves, and were still talking about it at Robert and Julie’s leaving party later that night. J.J. Abrams certainly has a gift for taking a tired old franchise and making it fun again. [Insert joke about taking on the presidential debates here. Seriously, though, they are not even fun anymore. Karol can attest to this.]
Other things: I fulfilled a life’s ambition I didn’t even know I had by seeing Salt-N-Pepa perform at Groupon’s 007-themed holiday party. It was especially nice to prelude this year’s party with a game of drinking Jenga at Todd’s. And speaking of drinking games, for Hanukkah we came up with an inspired game of dreidel which included shouts of “power gimel!” (two in a row) and then Hanukkah transfer tattoos.
Necessary alcohol (and it sure was necessary) was provided by Nisreen’s lightning-fast Bundle Club company, and in turn this reminded me that I hadn’t seen Nisreen in far too long, so we followed-up with a lunch to set the world to rights.