Archives for posts with tag: Drama

emilia
Fairness and Wit
by Rachel Voss

Who wants to live virtuous and die vile?
I think I’d rather be liberal as the north.
“Hang me” for naivete: I like her style.
Wilt not, women of the world, but go forth,
and even die, speaking as you think.
Right the universal order with words,
use that prominent shnoz to sniff out the stink,
cleanse the palate for truth. Chaos girds
us like the ocean round an island. No
lullabies—I only play the swan. Peace
is overrated. Silence is my foe.
Wrongs made right when loyalty’s for lease.
Here, I have a thing for you—it’s a poem
in my outside voice, my refusal to go home.

ILLUSTRATION: “Emilia in Othello” by Hannah Tompkins.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece, a sonnet, is inspired by Emilia from Shakespeare’s Othello. As I say in the poem, I like Emilia’s style. She is, above all, relatably human: pragmatic, complicated, weak, but aware that she is at the whim of forces stronger than she is. Ultimately, like us all, she has the potential for redemption, and accomplishes that with the only tools at her disposal: her voice, and the truth. I imaginatively relate to that struggle as manifested in the part Emilia plays in tragedy.

Processed with VSCOcam with b4 preset

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Voss is a high school English teacher living in Queens, New York. She graduated with a degree in creative writing and literature from SUNY Purchase College. Her work has previously appeared in The Ghazal PageHanging Loose MagazineBlast FurnaceThe New Verse News, Unsplendid, Newtown Literary, and Silver Birch Press’s  The Great Gatsby Anthology, among others.

PHOTO: At The New York Botanical Garden. (“Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.”)

Photo by Lucrezia Alcorn.

henry
THOUGH A LITTLE OUT OF FASHION
by Deborah Herman

Though a little out of fashion,
There is much care and valor in the morning

I think we have no great cause to desire
the approach of day.

We see the beginning of the day, but I think we shall
never see the end of it.

A friend
Under you

A good and kind gentleman.
I pray, think of our estate
as men wracked upon a sand,
that look to be washed off the next tide.

I speak to you, but a man,
as I am.

The violet smells; the element shows;
all his senses have human conditions.

Laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man;
his affections are higher mounted,
when they stoop, they stoop with the wing.

Therefore, his fears relish in reason.

He, by showing it, should dishearten.

He may show outward courage;
but I believe, as cold a night as he could wish.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:. I have chosen for my Half New Year Poetry submission page 72 [for July 2nd, Half New Year] of Henry V. I have taken the dialogue between men out of context — they are speaking of rumours they have heard about what kind of man the king may be, without knowing he is present. I have instead turned the prose into a love poem, rather than a dialogue that takes place on the eve of war. The play as a whole is about sexual conquest — Henry must “woo” Catherine of France before forcefully taking over the country to make his leadership (and his offspring) legitimate. The play is also rife with “homosocial” male companionship: the “band of brothers” speech, and even the Harfleur speech, when Henry threatens that his army will kill all the babies and rape all of the girls of the city. So I have taken liberties with page 72 of the play and have tried to make it into something beautiful (and sexually ambiguous).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Herman is an emerging poet with previous publications in Existere, Rhythm, Transverse, and Vallum. Her poem, “Endurance,” will be published in the upcoming water-themed issue of the Motif Anthology (Vol. 4).

Image

Congratulations to Rachel Carey — author of the novel Debt (Silver Birch Press, 2013) — and her fellow playwrights Beth Jastroch and Bob Kolsby on the premiere of their collaborative play Cul-de-Sac at The Shelter in New York City. Directed by Michael Kingsbaker, the play runs from Thursday, June 5 through Sunday, June 8th and features Kelley Gates, Meghan E. Jones, Jordan Kenneth Kamp, C.J. Lindsey, Morgan McGuire, and Aaron Novak.

BACKGROUND:  In the summer of 2013, The Shelter tasked three writers with a unique, collaborative challenge: using a palette of assigned characters, meld individually written stories into a single, seamless play. Six characters, three writers, one narrative. Nine months later, Cul-de-Sac was born. Examining the lives of three couples living as neighbors on a suburban cul-de-sac, writers Rachel Carey, Beth Jastroch, and Bob Kolsby use marriage as a forum to examine the shifting gender norms, cultural expectations, and everyday realities faced by today’s young couples. They show us that what happens behind closed doors can often surprise us, challenging our beliefs about love, passion, and the fidelity of marriage.

WHEN: Thursday, June 5 – Sunday, June 8, 2014

WHERE: Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, New York City 10014 (just below Bleecker in the West Village)

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes with a 10-minute intermission

TICKETS: ovationtix.com

Image
Peter and Alice, a 2013 play by John Logan, is based on the meeting of 80-year-old Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies, then in his thirties, in a London bookshop in 1932, at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition. The London production, directed by Michael Grandage, starred Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. The play is based on an encounter between the original Alice in Wonderland and the original Peter Pan. Find Peter and Alice by John Logan at Barnes & Noble. Watch a trailer for play at youtube.com.

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Logan is a playwright, screenwriter, and film producer. His first play, Never the Sinner, tells the story of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case. His play Red, about artist Mark Rothko, was produced on Broadway in 2010, where it received six Tony Awards. Logan received an Academy Award nomination for co-writing Gladiator, the Best Picture-winner in 2000, and earned another nomination for writing The Aviator (2004). Other notable films include Star Trek: Nemesis, The Time Machine, The Last Samurai, and the Tim Burton-directed musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, for which he received a Golden Globe Award. Logan’s recent feature films include Rango, the film adaptation of Shakespeare‘s Coriolanus, the film adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and Skyfall. In 2014, his original series Penny Dreadful premiered on Showtime.

Image

“Cervantes and Shakespeare occupied almost the same lifespan. In fact, they both died on the same day, April 23, 1616, by the Gregorian calendar. Don Quixote was published in 1605, and the first edition of Hamlet was probably published in 1603 or 1604. It is as if the two men stood back to back, Cervantes looking backward and Shakespeare looking forward. Cervantes pointed his genius backward and illuminated the medieval consciousness that was just ending in Europe…Shakespeare, in Hamlet, looked forward and made a statement about the modern man who was to come.”

ROBERT A. JOHNSON, Transformation: Understanding the Three Levels of Masculine Consciousness

Image

“I have a one-volume Shakespeare that I have just about worn out carrying around with me.”

WILLIAM FAULKNER

Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner (1897-1962) stated many times that William Shakespeare served as his single greatest influence. An article entitled “A Casebook on Mankind: Faulkner’s Use of Shakespeare” by Robert W. Hamblin explores the connection between the two authors. An excerpt is included below.

  • Throughout his career William Faulkner acknowledged the influence of many writers upon his work — Twain, Dreiser, Anderson, Keats, Dickens, Conrad, Balzac, Bergson, and Cervantes, to name only a few — but the one writer that he consistently mentioned as a constant and continuing influence was William Shakespeare…In one of his last interviews shortly before his death in 1962, Faulkner said of all writers, ‘We yearn to be as good as Shakespeare.’
  • The parallels in the lives and careers of the two writers are remarkably striking. Both were born in provincial small towns but found their eventual success in metropolitan cities, Shakespeare in London and Faulkner in New York and Hollywood…Neither received a great deal of formal education. Both started out as poets but shortly turned to other narrative forms, Faulkner to fiction and Shakespeare to drama…
  • Each wrote both tragedies and comedies..A number of dominant themes and emphases are common to both writers, including the imaginative use of historical materials, the incorporation of both tragic and comic views of life, and the paradoxical tension between fate (in Faulkner’s case, determinism) and free will.”
  • Moreover, both writers exhibit a fascination for experimental form and language, flouting conventional rules to create new narrative structures and delighting in neologisms, puns, and other forms of word play. Finally, both writers were acutely interested in the paradoxical relationship of life and art.”

Read the entire article at this link.

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) performs Hamlet’s soliloquy from Act III, Scene 1:

To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, 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. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
Th’ Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action…

Image

Happy 450th birthday to William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564. (Interesting fact: Shakespeare also died on April 23 — in 1616, at age 52.) To honor the esteemed author, here are some of his most eloquent lines…

PORTIA’S MONOLOGUE (Excerpt)
from The Merchant of Venice (1597)

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice…

IMAGE: “William Shakespeare” by Wingsdomain Art and Photography. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

Image

Silver Birch Press began in July 2011, and during the past two and a half years has published a range of books, including anthologies, dramatic works, memoirs, novels, poetry, and short stories.

In 2013, we published a dozen titles from established as well as emerging writers. A thank you to our authors as well as everyone who purchased a Silver Birch Press book during the past year.

A complete list of our releases (along with Amazon.com links) is available at silverbirchpress.com. (Note: If you are located outside the U.S., our titles are available at Amazon.co.uk, and other international Amazon sites.)

BOOKS PUBLISHED BY SILVER BIRCH PRESS IN 2013…

ANTHOLOGIES:
Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (December 2013)

Bukowski Anthology (August 2013)

Summer Anthology (June 2013)

Green Anthology (March 2013)

MEMOIR:
Phoenix by Philippa Mayall (June 2013)

NOVEL:
Debt by Rachel Carey (February 2013)

POETRY:
The Wolf Yearling by Jeffrey C. Alfier (May 2013)

Ransack and Dance by Chris Forhan (July 2013)

Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie (February 2013)

New and Selected Poems by Gerald Locklin (April 2013)

Romancing Gravity by Daniel Romo (May 2013)

SHORT STORIES:
Everything Is Epic by Michael C. Keith (April 2013)

Image

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

ANTON CHEKHOV

Photo: Mrdorkesq, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED