Saturday, May 28, 2011

A distant thunder

Challenge #5

Once again, Henry...

"Why doth the drum come thither?"

What does the drum signify?
What show?
The context?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Famous Last Words

Challenge #4, yes that means a prize is attached.
Be sure to answer all parts of the challenge. Seriously, answering part I is just too easy.

OK..maybe not all last words! Henry, the old actor, a great stealer of lines and bumbler of the King's English may not be able to put two of the Bard's lines together consecutively but he he's able to pull them out here and there.

Can you identify the play, speaker and context of the following lines?

"A touch, a touch, I do confess"
"Once more, dear friends, into the breach."
"God for Harry, England, and Saint George"
"Good night, sweet Prince."
"And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"I am Dying Egypt"

"I am dying, Egypt, dying."

Antony and Cleopatra (IV, xv, 41)

Mark Antony speaks these words to Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, as he lies dying in her arms in this historic-tragedy that sweeps across the world from Rome to the East. Antony has fought against his own Rome on the side of Egypt, and has lost, following Cleopatra into retreat. Cleopatra has learned that Antony believes she has betrayed him and intends to kill her, and so she sends false word to him that she has taken her own life. Antony is grief-stricken and asks his knave, Eros, to kill him. Eros chooses to kill himself instead, and so Antony falls upon his own sword. He does not die immediately, however, and is brought to Cleopatra's monument where he utters these words, and dies in her arms. Antony's failure to die immediately from his own sword, in good Roman style, reflects the mark of the East upon him; and yet his beauty of character is viewed clearly in this uncomfortable death-scene. He is finally able to combine the Roman and the Eastern halves of his nature, with which he struggled throughout the course of the play.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"I Am No Pantaloon"

Generally defined as an absurd old man, the butt of the clown's tricks.

In commedia dell'arte, a lecherous old merchant dressed in pantaloons.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Next Stop, Greenwhich Village

As Jones. Schmidt, and Baker were finding their way to 'The City," New York in the 1950's was the center of the universe. The most important city in the most important country. It still had that Damon Runyan feel about it.

The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world, in 1957 the NY Yankees had won their 3rd of 6 consecutive World Series, Irish, Jews, and Italians were the largest ethnic groups in the city.

Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams dominated the theatre world. Rogers and Hammerstein were kings of Broadway along with Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, and Frank Loesser.

The Russian acting teacher Stanislavsky was introducing "The Method" which became something of a "religion" amongst students of the theatre. Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio was in full bloom.

The Beat Generation had made Greenwhich Village their headquarters. BEBOP sounds wafted from clubs. You could go uptown to the Three Deuces or the Open Door and hear Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis.

The Village again became important to the bohemian scene during the 1950s, when the Beat Generation focused their energies there. Fleeing from what they saw as oppressive social conformity, a loose collection of writers, poets, artists, and students (later known as the Beats) and the Beatniks, moved to Greenwich Village. Jack Kerouc was holed up in the Village writing On The Road. the Beat poets were in full swing.The Village (and surrounding New York City) would later play central roles in the writings of, among others, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Marianne Moore, Maya Angelou, Rod McKuen, and Dylan Thomas, who collapsed while drinking at the White Horse Tavern on November 5, 1953.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Go ahead Mortimer. Die for the Man."

Mortimer specialized in death scenes. He's been dying for the past 40 years. On stage at least. But what about real deaths on stage?

Long part of the canon of contemporary lore is the tale of an unfortunate actor who expires on stage, his adoring audience unaware of his sudden demise because they think his collapse part of the show - while they clap and cheer at the brilliance of his death scene performance, unknown to them he is gasping his last.

So who were some of these people who met the Grim Reaper while treading the boards”

Moliere (died Feb 21 16730) Collapsed during his fourth performance of his newly penned The Hypochondriac. Overwhelmed with a coughing fit, he was carried home where he died.

Tyrone Power (died Nov 15 1958) suffered a heart attack during the filming of a fencing scene in Solomon and Sheba in Madrid Spain. He died only minutes after being loaded into an ambulance.

Nelson Eddy (died March 6 1967) This famous actor and singer (Little Mary sunshine) suffered a fatal stroke while performing onstage at the Doral Country Club in Miami at age 65.

David Burns (died March 12 1971) the 70 year old actor died onstage of a heart attack during a performance of 70 Girls 70.

Irene Ryan (died April 26 1973) Best known as “Granny” on TV’s Beverly Hillbillies, this spritely 71 year old suffered a stroke while performing in the Broadway musical Pippin and died six weeks later.

Cyril Ritchard (died December 19 1977) This 83 year old actor suffered a heart attack during a November 25 performance in Chicago of the musical Side by Side by Sondheim causing him to slip into a comma from which he never recovered.Redd

Redd Foxx (died October 11 1991) Actor comedian Redd Foxx had a heart attack on the set of The Royal Family.

Add to this list dozens more.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fantastic challenge #2

Based upon Luisa's proclamation, in what month was she born? Justify your answer.

Email me at

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"I am Lodevigo"

"I am Lodevigo. Just like yourself - a young man looking for the pleasant pinch of adventure."

Matt is put through his paces by a pair of scoundrels who happen to be Henry and Mortimer in disguise (renamed Lodevigo and Socrates).

Jones said he based the two characters on the cat and fox in Disneys film Pinocchio, who lure the ambitious puppet into becoming an actor.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fantastic Challenge #1

Henry, the Old Actor, is having a tough time remembering his lines. He starts out well with "Friends, Romans, Countrymen..." but from there he meanders far afield.

Identify the next 5 lines in his speech.
From what plays are they spoken?
What is the context?
Who said them?

Be the first to email me your answer and you win a prize.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I've Been The World Over

HUCKLEBEE: I've seen it all; mountain cactus, the century plant, Japanese Ivy. And exotic ports where bog-wort was sold on the open market!"

Where exactly did Hucklebee travel?
The mountain cactus is an easy one and fairly close to home. It is native to the dry mountain regions of the Pacific Northwest. It generally prefers cooler temperatures, and usually requires little water throughout much of the year, though it does have increased water needs during its late winter, early spring and autumnal growth periods. They are most often found at elevations ranging between 6,000 and 10,000 feet . They seem to prefer rocky ridges and dry mountain valley habitats.

The misnamed century plant typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spreading rosette of gray-green leaves each with a spiny margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone. When it flowers, the spike with a cyme of big yellow flowers may reach up to 26 ft in height. Its common name likely derives from its semelparous nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life. The plant dies after flowering, but produces suckers or adventitious shoots from the base, which continue its growth.

The Japanese Ivy is a flowering plant in the grape family native to eastern Asia in Japan, Korea, and northern and eastern China.

Bog-wart or whortleberry is native to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, at low altitudes in the Arctic, and at high altitudes south to the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Caucasus in Europe, the mountains of Mongolia, northern China and central Japan in Asia, and the Sierra Nevada in California and the Rocky Mountains in Utah in North America.
It grows on wet acidic soils on heathland, moorland, tundra, and in the understory of coniferous forests, from sea level in the Arctic, up to 11,200 ft altitude in the south of the range.