July 27th, 2013

Typewriter Guy

Two Elizabethan Hipsters Discuss the Popular Culture of the Day

Inspired by a comment from MetaFilter user Shepherd

Act I, Scene 3
A tavern.


Here be our favorite house for ale and song.

I know it well, Fedoro. Why proclaim
Our whereabouts like thus?

  I'm not quite sure.

Come, let us sit a while here and speak
Of the tragedy this afternoon which so
Moved us to mockery, hence our removal here.

A tragedy t'was billed, and so it was,
But for whom I cannot say.

  Why, us, i'faith.
The players didst not suffer half as much
As we who stood through painful dialogue.

Methought the players plied their craft with skill.

Aye, skill they had, but hamper'd by a tale
So incomplete in telling, that a man
Couldst drive a team of oxen through the holes
Left unfill'd by its deficiencies.

Hast thou an example?

  I have but four or six.
On which shall we dwell first?

  Pray, choose but one.

As you like: The ending suffered from
Contrivances, devices and conceits
So that the climax, which should be as sad
As Orpheus' lament, instead becomes
Predictable. In fact, were it a group
Of tortoises, thou shouldst see them approach
From leagues away. 'Tis indisputable.

Speakest thou of inept Friar John?
Of tasks he had but one, and yet he failed
In sole capacity as messenger.

Though John may be conveniently a goat
My complaint lies chiefly in the family tomb
Where all misunderstanding doth occur.
'Tis my belief if all involved had just
Sat down as one and talked it out, Fedoro,
Then the scenes of horror which came next
Would not be necessary, or even possible.

I pray thy point reveals itself anon.

In all due time! Now then, here's Romeo.
E'en without the note from useless John
Wouldst thou not think he might have held a hope
That his love was still alive, though dead asleep?
Whyfore, then, did he not perchance to search
For further signs of life from Juliet?
Was no physician found? Where be her nurse?
I cannot claim to understand this pap.

Nor I, Chinbeard; my mind's a Dervish dance,
Fill'd with questions gone unanswered yet.

No reply shall we get from the man
Who, inkwell dry and eager to retire,
Decideth that his work be good enough
To claim that these two deaths were fixed by Fate,
When "star-cross'd" lovers both should share the blame.
O not again! That chestnut hath been done
Three score times o'er, and each one just the same.
Thou shalt be interested to know that I
Hath compiled a list, in full, of every play
Which hath used this trope.

  Pray, call it something else.
The word means little to me, it is a rude cipher.

Be it so. Let us call a trope cliche.

That is acceptable; for it is known to all
That wordly repetition pleases Gauls.

Had I the gall to write the words this hack
Allows to be unleash'd upon the stage,
I should be hung in effigy and burned.

Thinkest thou that goes a bit too far?

It may be so, but hear me out: I fear
That should this author be allowed to write
More of the same as he has writ before,
His plays shall grow as tulips every Spring;
Well expected, smelling all the same.

That's still no reason for an effigy.

Thou art right. I spoke that word in haste.
But mark my words: This drama hath no legs.
It will run but half a fortnight then be gone,
Deservedly forgotten and unpraised.

Your criticism hath a cynic's tone.

[Aside] None but a cook can tell the stew needs salt;
His cynicism rivals only mine.

Come, gentle Chinbeard, think of something kind.
Hath this play no single quality
Which upheld could prove artistic worth?

Fedoro, it be not worthe a rusted bodkin.

[Exeunt, pursued by a fixie.]