(This post was originally written on 750words.com. It has been edited.)
I’m still trying to convince the theatre to do Shakespeare. Or any of the classics, really? Sophocles? Is that a bit too much? Shakespeare, I think, is easy because everyone knows it. Maybe they don’t know A Winter’s Tale and maybe they’re never actually read Hamlet, but Shakespeare is familiar. They know the tropes and the characters and the language. They know the way the language works, even if they don’t know the story. I think, in that sense, you’re free to do any Shakespeare. Mom thinks that for a small community theatre, they need to start with a comedy. And I agree, a little, but I don’t want to be limiting from the start.
If we do a comedy, it should be a lesser known one. Everyone does Much Ado About Nothing. Everyone has seen Midsummer’s Night Dream a couple of times at least. I threw out Two Gentlemen of Verona. It’s not actually one I’ve read, but that’s kind of the reason I picked it. It’s not one I’ve read or studied. I don’t know it well. But that means it’s new and has potential. It’s never been adapted in Hollywood, so any interpretation wouldn’t be tainted by those that came before. It’s a chance to make something new.
The first thing Dad said when I suggested the play was, Do you want to direct it? And I do. I kind of said, OK, maybe. Because I’ve never done it before, and that’s kind of scary, but I really do want to direct it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot now. I’ve got the play open right now in another tab, and I’m planning to grab a paper copy when I go to the library tomorrow to drop of books. Or maybe we even have a copy downstairs? I don’t know.
Could I direct it? That’s the question I’ve had running through my head the last week or so. I could, but would I have the time. I could, but would anyone listen to me. I could, but would it be any good. I’d like to adapt the play, too. I don’t imagine we could do the whole thing, unedited. Maybe something interesting would be a larger adaptation project. The same characters pop up in Shakespeare’s work, again and again. The same kinds of characters. Two Gentlemen was based partly on what Romeo and Juliet was based fully on. That’s fascinating.
I don’t want to do an abridged complete Shakespeare thing. I want to conflate the plays, bring them together, stitch scenes together that go together. A little bit Shakespeare in Love then, maybe. I really want to watch that again. Oh, man, I really want to write a Marlowe play. I want the story of Marlowe and Shakespeare and Kyd. Now that I’ve strayed so far away from my original topic. This is exactly what I do, always. I get my ideas not from the fiction I read, but from the non-fiction behind the fiction I read.
Has somebody written this already? It seems like they must’ve. How can we let Kit Marlowe go so long without acknowledging his importance next to Shakespeare? Sure, Will wrote more plays, but only because he had more time. What are the plays they wrote that are the same? That’s the interesting intersection. Didn’t Shakespeare copy Othello mostly from Marlowe? And Thomas Kyd, too. He wrote the one that all the academics love, but nobody else has ever read The Spanish Tragedy. I don’t think it’s ever been adapted and rarely gets performed even on stage these days.
That’s why Kyd turned Marlowe in. He hated that Marlowe and Shakespeare were more famous than he was. They were the cool kids, and they never let Kyd sit at their lunch table. Or their table in the tavern where they would get drunk after a show. Marlowe and Kyd were roommates, but Marlowe and Shakespeare were best friends. That’s an interesting kind of jealousy. So Kyd goes and testifies that Marlowe is a spy. He probably isn’t. Maybe he bragged about something that sounds similar, but he really isn’t a spy. He’s just one of those cocky guys that talks too much, too smart for his own good.