Author Archives: John Gilmore

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Well, it’s not exactly an angel…

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, after being shipwrecked on an island, Antonio, Sebastian, and Alonso seek food and shelter. Unbeknownst to Alonso, his two followers seek to murder him in his sleep, eager to increase their own political power. Stumbling across a banquet full of food placed by invisible spirits , the travelers sit down and begin to feast. Out of the blue, a harpy (a female monster with a human head and a bird body), crashes their treat-laden party by landing on the table and castigates the villains for their terrible deeds. Continue reading

Angelo: The Counterfeit “Golden” Boy

For a play about justice and mercy, Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure focuses a lot on currency and forgery. While it’s not exactly The Merchant of Venice, the story involves people and their comparisons to money. And Angelo, our selfish and typical villain, is smack dab in the center of it.

Continue reading

Cressida: A Sexual Delicacy or Nauseating Refuse?

Whats for dinner? Bread? Sex? Betrayel?

In “Troilus and Cressida,” Shakespeare uses food imagery everywhere as a thinly veiled euphemism for sexual  and carnal desire. Appealing to the crowd, Shakespeare knows that he’s among commoners who spend time drinking at taverns, wasting money away on whoring and gambling. Some of the male characters’ “hungry desires” for women probably reflect the viewers’ cravings for members of the female population. This male-female dynamic is especially inherent in the supposed “romance” between Troilus and Cressida.

Continue reading

Why So Angsty? Jaques and the Four Temperaments

Ever hear someone call you “sanguine” to compliment your bubbly personality? Maybe people worry that you become a bit too “melancholic?”

Jaques, one of Duke Senior’s lords In Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” spends his time as a merry-sad follower. He exudes a presence of depression and resignation while chilling in solitude. When characters talk to him, they quickly realize he’s a pretty dismal guy with little ambition in life. Continue reading

A Hip-Hopping, Rapping, and Beat-Boxing Twist to King Henry IV

Ever wonder what would happen if someone were to use characters from Shakespeare and make a musical inspired by them? What if a single person performed all of the roles?

Emerging playwright Matt Sax pushes the boundary of acceptable story content in his one man musical, “Clay,” using an combination of hip-hop, rap, and comedy to tell the coming of age story of Clifford, a traumatized teenager fleeing from a fractured family at home. While many renditions of “King Henry IV” have been acted over the centuries, this modern take on the play loosely fleshes out Prince Hal and Flagstaff’s mentor-student relationship, weaving contemporary struggles of an adolescent musician with a dark childhood.

Continue reading

Fortuna & The Wheel of Fortune

In The Merchant of Venice, Portia, an affluent and quick-witted heiress from Belmont, aids in rescuing Antonio from his legal plight with Shylock. The fates of people around Portia shift constantly, while her situation generally improves without problem. Portia’s actions through the play embody Fortuna’s whimsical interest in humanity.  Continue reading

Changeling: Usage In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” vs European Folklore

In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Fairy King Oberon and Queen Titania are at odds with each other because of some individual referred to as a “changeling.” Puck, Oberon’s main attendant, describes the source of the strife: “For Oberon is passing fell and wrath, Because that she as her attendant hath a lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king; She never had so sweet a changeling:” (Ii.i.20-24). Continue reading