In the last couple of weeks, Lorna has brought two stalwarts of The Man Blog to watch, uhm, not a comedy, a thriller or a musical, but Hamlet. As in Shakespeare's Hamlet, perhaps the world's most devilishly difficult play.
The Man Blog, as if you didn't know, is that proud shrine to booze, babes, fuck-you's and all things politically incorrect in the (cough) local blogosphere. Absent a huge sense of irony and humor, you're better off not reading the testosterone-marinated, fratboy-goofy dissertations of The Man Bloggers (sample site section titles: Tittie Farm, Braingasms, The Fag Squad). Then again, you'd be depriving yourself of some really sharp, crazy, fearless stuff from straight guys who know how to write--and we all know how few they are now, right? (Duck!)
So what were Fritz and Ade doing watching Repertory Philippines' Hamlet--traditionally a fancy-pants play with flouncy costumes, archaic manners and a language resembling Elvish in its head-scratching strangeness?
I've no idea how she did it, but Lorna managed to convince these two card-carrying pillars of the alpha-male club to try Shakespeare. Not counting “an extremely lifeless and boring rendition of a Filipino translation of As You Like It” in Ade's college years, both had never been to a Shakespeare play. Or to theater, in fact, though Fritz had seen New Voice Company's Into the Woods last year and found himself sufficiently impressed. So you can grasp the scale of Lorna's achievement here.
Or perhaps the guys were all along ready for some “cal-chur” and just needed a no-nonsense gal to arm-twist them into it?
Whatever, the results are, well, fab--to use a less-than-manly word. Here's Ade's account of his first encounter with Master Will:
“As the lights dimmed, I realized that Shakespeare plays are recited in Old English, and I expected the sound of that would make me snore by the second act. Thankfully, the acting delivered, and even though Shakespeare plays were usually filled with dragging monologue and convoluted plots, I was riveted, taking in every detail. Awesome acting. Strip Hamlet down to its bare essentials they did...”
Then he ends his entry with a laugh-out-loud “Post-play Conversation” (with Lauren, whom Lorna also dragged along) that has him raving, “The performance. It is... awesometh.”
And Fritz? He'd write not one but two entries about the play, the second a bluntly titled “Still Awestruck by Repertory Philippines' 'Hamlet.'”
“Of the many ways possible to render Hamlet, Director Ana Abad Santos-Bitong opted for something that is neither of this time nor plane. It is refreshing to see that stripping the set, props, and costumes down to get the minimalist and desolate vibe still felt edgy but raw in a good way,” he writes. “If you want to at least see a Shakespeare play in this lifetime and want something that won’t bore you out of your wits, then this show is for you. I’m not Shakespeare savvy but I totally dug this shiz.”
As Mike Villar perhaps would say, “What the fuck?!”
Lorna, you know what you are? A miracle worker. Your mission in life is clear: to convert the rest of The Man Bloggers. There are 14 of them. Two down, 12 to go!
PLUS: Lauren was another newbie to the Bard. “Despite my being an English Lit major wannabe I have yet to see a Shakespeare drama onstage,” she begins her entry. “... It wasn’t too difficult for me to follow what was going on thanks to the actors’ fluid acting and distinct body language. Of course, it took some concentration for me to comprehend the nuances and the wordplay in the dialogue. But all you really need to do is pay attention, and you’ll get it.”
And while she has a small beef with the costumes (“A little inappropriate for play and I don’t see how it helps 'strip Hamlet to the core,'”) she “highly recommend[s]” the play.
Hear that? You've got two more weekends to heed her advice.