Thursday Morning Riddle

April 27th, 2017

I’m impressed in the wax where a letter will close;
To hide records away so that nobody knows;
I am Navy elite; I play horn with my nose;
I’m the President’s sign; and sing “Kiss from a Rose.”

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Trish. See comments for answer.

The End

Sean Spicer Does Shakespeare

April 23rd, 2017

In honor of Shakespeare’s birthday, I am pleased to share with you an out-take from one of his most popular histories, King Richard III. Historians remember that Richard had a press secretary named Sean Spicer. This is no coincidence – he was a distant ancestor of the current White House Press Secretary! And all of this is well-recorded in the history books.

But what you probably don’t know is that an early Quarto version of Shakespeare’s play includes a scene with the famous spokesman.

Enjoy!

SPICER: And this is how we know that King Richard had the most attended coronation in English history. Period. Now, I’ll take a few questions before we go.

PRESS: Sean, how does the King respond to allegations that he had his brother Clarence murdered in the Tower?

SPICER: Well, I would remind you that this was something that happened under the previous administration. It was King Edward who ordered Clarence’s execution, and these were the orders that were carried out. Nobody was more upset to hear the news than King Richard. Nobody.

PRESS: The Earl of Richmond is reportedly claiming today that the entire York line is illegitimate and the throne was usurped from the House of Lancaster. Any comment?

SPICER: You have to remember that these were horrible, horrible people. I mean, if you look at what happened with Rutland, with the Duke of York… they killed their own people. You didn’t even see that in the Spanish Inquisition.

PRESS: They didn’t kill their own people in the Spanish Inquisition?

SPICER: No, only the Jews. I, of course, do realize that many Jews were… were invited in for conversion interviews, and all the stuff that was going on. But it’s nothing like the behavior we saw with the Lannisters.

PRESS: The Lancasters?

SPICER: Yes.

PRESS: But if the York line is legitimate, wouldn’t King Edward’s son, young Prince Edward, be next in line, and not Richard?

SPICER: You say that Edward is King Edward’s son:
So say we too, but not by Edward’s wife;
For first was he contract to Lady Lucy,
The Duchess lives a witness to his vow,
And afterward by substitute betroth’d
To Bona, sister to the King of France.
These both put by, a poor petitioner,
A care-craz’d mother to a many sons,
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
Seduc’d the pitch and height of his degree
To base declension and loath’d bigamy:
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
This Edward, whom our manners call the prince.
All these are facts and you can look them up.

PRESS: What?

SPICER: No more questions.

The scene ultimately had to be cut from the play, not because of historical accuracy, but because the Master of the Revels had objected to the character of Sean Spicer being played by a woman.

However, we still have the scene as it exists in the Quarto, and it’s amazing how it still feels relevant to our world today!

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

April 13th, 2017

I’m a foul-smelling scent; I’m a chess piece’s row;
I’m an officer’s station, above or below;
To rate things in the order you think they should go;
I’m an amateur title; and weeds as they grow.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

April 6th, 2017

On a metalwork tool, I’m an uneven spot;
I’m a sharp prickly seed, like a Xanthium’s got;
I’m an Ironside actor; a wood puzzle knot;
And in Hamilton, I’m the one taking my shot!

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Review: Twelfth Night – 5 Ways Shakespeare at ShakesCon 2017

April 2nd, 2017

Earlier this week, DeLisa hipped me to a Shakespeare event happening right here in New York. It was called the New York Shakespeare Convention, or ShakesCon for short, and was a gathering of independent Shakespeare-related theatrical companies for a weekend of artistic abandon.

I went on Thursday night and joined up with some fellow attendees to form a team for the Shakespeare trivia challenge. We had a nice balanced range of knowledge across our team, and ended up tying for first place! Between rounds, various groups performed scenes written or inspired by Shakespeare. I had a great time watching the performances and socializing with fellow Shakespeare fans. I even ran into Cassius, who I had never actually met in person and only recognized from her videos back in the day.

I missed Friday evening’s festivities, but I was able to return on Saturday for both afternoon and evening sessions. The afternoon consisted of more Shakespeare-themed presentations (plus one on Beowulf), hosted by a trio of Shakespeare improv artists called “As You Will” who were seriously impressive.

The evening’s performance was something called “5 Ways Shakespeare.” It was a complete performance of Twelfth Night, but each act was prepared and performed by a different company. To help the audience keep the continuity of the story, each character had a scarf with a color representing that character. The colors remained consistent for the character throughout the play, even as the actor playing that role shifted.

What really stood out to me was how cohesive the performance actually was, even without a unifying directorial vision and with five different philosophical approaches to Shakespeare explicitly articulated. The characters in this play are all so well defined that I think we’d have known who was who even without the scarves. When Toby and Andrew enter in each act, they couldn’t be anyone else. Olivia could never be mistaken for Viola. And Malvolio is Malvolio is Malvolio. Also, I hadn’t noticed before how much the characters describe what they’re about to do and what they’ve done, but it turns out that the text lends itself well to this kind of experiment.

With each performing group responsible for only an act, there was an added urgency to make each act count. But at the same time, there was a more relaxed feel. Without the pressures of an entire production to sustain, each team was free to have fun with their segment. The players frequently brought the audience into their performances, which created a community in the room and added to the sense of joy. It wasn’t clear to me that any of the teams knew what any of the other teams were doing, so the audience and the performers were sharing in the spontaneity of the theatrical moment together. And when a performer in the Act V group made a seemingly-impromptu callback to a gag introduced by the Act IV team, it brought the house down.

I know DeLisa directed Act II, but I don’t know the names of any of the performers, so I can’t give any shout-outs. The companies are listed on the website. But the acting and directing were fantastic across the board. Malvolio was somehow a standout in each of the five acts, which speaks well of the character Shakespeare wrote as well as the five actors cast in that role.

Kudos to the organizers of ShakesCon 2017! I’m looking forward to joining you again in 2018.

The End

Shakespeare Anagram: As You Like It

April 1st, 2017

Happy April Fools’ Day!

This week’s anagram comes from Touchstone, one of Shakespeare’s wittiest fools.

From As You Like It:

Why, thou sayest well. I do now remember a saying, ‘The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

This day is a known hot web full of lies, not only by our leader whose egotism makes him tweet his whims of hate on the Web.

The End

Shakespeare Anagram: Macbeth

March 25th, 2017

Lacking the necessary votes, the Republicans have pulled their health care bill from the House floor.

It’s hard to tell what the future will bring, but Paul Ryan seems to be backing off for now.

From Macbeth:

Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Hit the core GOP, shot down in its folly.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

March 23rd, 2017

I’m the tire in the trunk; I’m to donate a dime;
I’m to not use the rod; to reprieve for a crime;
I am parts for a car; I’m superfluous time;
I’m a second-ball strike; and a ribs dish sublime.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End

Shakespeare Anagram: Richard II

March 18th, 2017

From Richard II:

Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
End in a word: such is the breath of kings.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

We learn to get through this sordid windbag in office, sprung on us sans frank warning.

The End

Thursday Morning Riddle

March 16th, 2017

I’m a substance for buildings or clothing when made;
I’m a college-bound student who should make the grade;
I’m the girl of Madonna who wants to get paid;
And the relevant facts when court cases are weighed.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

The End