Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

I like my little office. Hopefully someday, the works I create here will be bound into a seemingly impossible volume. It will be so instrumental in this, and the next few centuries that many will find it hard to understand  and barely relevant, but still masterful. They will modernize it it awkwardly unnecessary ways in order to make it hip. They will attack the books with fervor without first studying my era, language, writing style or any of the back stories which I have represented.

I know my volumes will have reached full adoration and canonization when a comedy troupe, albeit full of scholars in the area of me, proceeds to put on a menagerie of my work, in in a cacophonous whirlwind and still do it justice and pay due respect  One can dream.

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause:

And now don’t I sound so much smarter. I qouteth Hamlet. The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is 37 plays wrapped into one sketch comedy bit.  Sure there’s an intermission, but it precede’s the rendition of Hamlet. It is necessary to give them a breath and let the Zamboni come out and smooth the ice. I saw the final run at Orlando’s Shakespeare Theater just this afternoon. The theater is nice. The tickets were reasonable. They serve crap wine at the concession, but allow you to bring it into the theater and sip it from self important plastic stemware during the show. How do I know it’s crap wine? I sold it for $9 a bottle -touristy beachfront dining price- a few years ago. I digress. If you have never been to Orlando’s museum and cultural complex, visit it before Disney. Visit it instead of Disney. As a resident of the Greater Orlando affiliated area, I beg of you to peer through thicker prescription glasses of our town-increasing your acuity-before putting on 4 fingered white gloves and mouse ears, effectively numbing your senses.

The troupe began by introducing themselves, with schtick. They continued by schtickin it up and introducing The Bard, and schticked the whole production, lampooning even themselves before doing a quick-take of Hamlet in reverse, schticking the landing.

This could be all or none of the plays….

Some liberal politics and just enough inappropriate sexual innuendo (no more than ol’ Billy provides actually) complete the equation. The 5 minute opening with Romeo and Juliet was educational, in case you haven’t heard of the play. Except for the Hamlet redux at the end, the rest was an amalgam, a mash-up if I may be so social-media hip. All the comedies done as one episode of The Love Boat Goes to Venice was genius. The subtlety of introducing Love Boat-esque guest stars: Charro, Jim J Bullock, Charles Nelson Riley, (insert full celebrity panel from Match Gameand Little Jodie Foster, was the nail that gave the coffin validity. The football play by play while the Crown of England was tossed from one Monarch to another, at least recognized the titles. Throwing a flag for an illegal fictional king (Lear) did the histories the injustice they deserved.  I thought the “Once more into the breach…Band of Brothers” speech was ripe for riffing, but it was left out.

I just recently watched Coriolanus. See the Movie Mayhem review. It was disappointing that they ignored that one, only because I knew it and it would have validated me in front of my wife. They did mention that the word anus was part of the title, and then moved on. Fair enough.  I would recommend seeing this production live. I am sure it is good on film. Shakespeare is too. But live is the way it was meant to be seen.

I give this production, to which I could not give enough of an explanation, 3 great actors and a bad crowd participant.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.


The Bourne Legacy-Movie Monday


Can I get a Trilogy out of Bourne and from The Avengers?

The Bourne Legacy stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross (if that is your real name…), a shadow government assassin who comes to a Jesus moment-rather it comes to him- in the form a drone attack on a hideout. It is clear to him, perhaps not the audience, that operatives are being wiped clean, eradicated. The reappearance of Jason Bourne in Manhattan, and Pamela Landy’s upcoming senate hearings spark panic amongst the shadowy unaccountable bureaucratic patriots who then decide to just zero the equation.

Willing participants take medication as a genetic virus therapy in order to increase cognition (blue pill), and increase physiology (green pill). They are then tricked into taking a yellow pill. the Levitra look-alike kills them off quietly. Insert Jefferson Airplane track here. Our man, Aaron has completed his viral gene therapy and has reached his peak performance physically. Handy, since he has to kick so much ass in such a short time, on only one bowl of oatmeal. The camerawork leaves a little ass-kicking to be admired. A lot of it is just accepted in the blur.

We learn that young goodman Cross needs to “viral-0ff” his smart pills or else the government assassins will take him and the pretty doctor, Rachel Weiss, on a long walk off a short rifle. The humanity-peak suggests that before entering the program, Aaron Cross’s original identity was a dummy, and his records show him as dead. He only has this identity now, and is deathly afraid-pun intended- of returning to his formerly stupid self. Insert parallels of super-soldier a la Capt America and irony of Renner-as Avenger-archer. 

A lot of the talent, and my biggest complaint of the whole Bourne series, is that most of the veteran talent is wasted in screaming and order giving roles, in tiny offices. This installment gives us Stacy Keach and Edward Norton bouncing protocol and government speak off one another. I have to comment that in these roles as senior analyst and department director-they pose a bigger threat to justice in America than their previous partnership in American History X. Just saying. A least as the Neo-Nazi and A-pupil skinhead, you knew they were the bad guys. They had accountability, too.

Bourne Legacy was a good intro to what is sure to be another decent action and spy trilogy. It constantly one-ups our expectations by adding layers to the corruption and manipulation of which we know our government is capable, but we accept as necessary. If Jason Bourne was a trained and brainwashed savant, Aaron Cross is the genetically modified next-best-thing. We also learn that there is another program which produces super soldiers, but with diminished empathy. The motorcycle chase scene was good, but it reaked of Terminator 2.

Jeremy Renner is solid. Rachel Weiss plays the necessary female role. I give it 3 blues and a green