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January 6th, 2010

Eleventh Night

Tonight was our annual Twelfth Night Play-Reading and Holiday Feast.  Since we don't do Christmas and we both love festivals and rituals, this is our semi-denominational and utterly irreligious Mid-Winter festive occasion, compete with crackers, paper crowns, a galette de rois, and a play reading.  There is a Repertory Cast of Characters--two old friends from Ellen's previous life here in the city and newer friends vschanoes  and d_aulnoy , sometime (but not this year) joined by Distinguished Guest Artists.  There is always Major Cooking, and an interesting play, often (but not always) Shakespeare.

This year, there was Julia Child's boeuf Bourginon, Swiss chard with raisins and pine nuts, and roasted potatoes.  And The Merry Wives of Windsor.  There's a reason that The Merry Wives of Windsor is not often performed, and it's not because of its subtlety and complex language.  Do you remember how I said that nothing dates like humor?  Well, this is a play in which Shakespeare was basically laying down the one-liners as fast and thick as he could think of them--insulting, in the process, the Welsh, the French, the clergy, married men, single women, fat people, dirty laundry, pigs, tapsters, and go-betweens.  He may have insulted other groups, too, but there were many jokes that sailed over my head, even though I'm tolerably familiar with Shakespeare's Bawdy.  Ellen reading Falstaff and especially the coleric Frenchman Caius was a wonder to behold. vschanoes negotiated Mistress Page and assorted secondary characters with verve and exemplary diction.  d_aulnoy read the drunken Host as Howard Cosell, which certainly differentiated him from Mistress Ford.  I did my best with Sir Hugh Evans the clergyman, Mistress Quickly, and whoever else came up, while the two gentlemen (one of them our very own paddymeboy ) present browsed among husbands, hopeful lovers, and serving men at will.

Did we finish.  We did not.  We fell apart at the penultimate scene of Act IV.  Perhaps it was the sack, donated by one of the gentlemen.  Perhaps it was the prose or the puns or the plot, which is lame and of a lameness.  Certainly it was that two members of the company had to be at work in the morning and did not want to stay up to all hours.  Still, a good time was had by all.  And the 3 hours I spent yesterday on doing Juia's boeuf Bourginon properly was not wasted.  It tasted amazing.  There's something to be said for the most complicated way of doing things.

So.  Joy, health, love, and peace to all here in this place.  Old Christmas is past, Twelve-tide is the last.  And we bid you adieu, great joy in the new.

ETA paddy's LJ name, which I didn't know, and to change the subject line, which was inaccurate.

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