The Most Interesting Person in the World

Archive for the ‘In a Nutshell’ Category

This year, I saw 8 productions at the Toronto Fringe Festival, and the one that stood out most, as it happens, is the only one I had no personal connection to. Well… except that the character on stage was, essentially, me.

Let me explain. In short, the character on stage marries herself. Now you know why she’s just like me.

Normally in a one-person show, there’s a certain way the performer holds herself, a certain fineness of speech, a fake way of being, that I have come to expect. The heroine of ONEymoon started that way, but then, just before I could brace myself for the typical, she grabbed a mic and started hip-hopping. In her wedding dress. I couldn’t hear everything she was singing, and I’m not normally a fan of hip-hop (or wedding dresses), but it was awesome! The images clashed so well together.

What I like best about this play is how much fun she was having. Here is a woman with a dream: She wants to marry herself–and really, who doesn’t? Not only does she take that dream and think about it, not only could she take herself up some mountain and hold a private ceremony like someone I read about in California, but she buys a dress (or gets sponsored, maybe), and puts together a chance to repeat her ceremony night after night, with an audience full of people who pay money to see it. Brilliant!

Even once I get beyond the concept, the show was well-executed. Full of audience interaction, including getting two “members of the bridal party” up on stage to read their “pre-written” speeches to her. Trained as a dancer, she threw in a little tap dance for our benefit. It’s clear from her physicality (not to mention the program) that she’s had training as a clown, which is a huge benefit to anything, ever. She even speaks some Dutch, with no explanations, no apologies, just because she can.

The biggest thing for me watching was just how much she enjoyed herself. This is obviously someone who loves the idea of getting to wear a wedding dress, and so she has this excuse to wear one every show, and she milks the feeling for all it’s worth. When she talks about marrying herself, she lights up. And at the end, when she throws the bouquet, blessing whoever catches it with the bliss she’s found to be happily commited to herself forever… for the first time at any wedding, I wanted to catch it.

(3-day novel by Myles Stocker)

Words spin around wildly in a variety of different styles and parodies.

Jeremy, Eli, and Sal are introduced without me feeling like I know anything about them. Eventually, they all die (as does Dmitry, but that gets ignored.)

Dana decides to go on a vacation, and takes her husband Dmitry.

Philosophy is philosophied; advice is given to horny men and advice to mistreated women; a new land mass is created and designed; a detective is murdered by a red-headed femme; a man befriends his beef but ignores his salad; Toronto streetcar lines are dissected and analysed; it begins; and then it snows.

The End.

p.s. What book or movie should I nutshell next?

For those of you lucky enough not to have an upcoming exam on William Wycherley’s contribution to Restoration comedy, well, isn’t that lovely. But for anyone stuck having to know about a play even SparkNotes won’t touch, I bring you…

The Country Wife in a nutshell

Plot #1

Horner: Look everyone! I’m impotent!

Sir Jasper Fidget: Ha, ha! Take my wife, please!

Lady Fidget: Ew, I don’t want to be near this boring loser!

Horner: She must be a slut.

Indeed, she is. Horner sleeps with her and all her friends, as we witness in the witty China scene, and they confess to each other in the famous ladies’ drinking scene.

Plot #2

Sparkish: Look everyone! I’m witty! Harcourt, what do you think of my fiancée?

Harcourt: I love her and want to marry her.

Sparkish: I’m so glad you approve!

Alithea: No, really, dude; your friend is making a move on me.

Sparkish: That’s great! I feel approved of already! Now I’m going to wander off and be witty somewhere else, leaving you two together.

Harcourt: Your fiancé is an idiot.

Alithea: I don’t believe you. Okay, now I do. Oh, forget it, let’s just get married instead.

Plot #3

Pinchwife: Don’t anybody look at my wife! I hate her!

Lady Pinchwife: Who is that handsome man you keep hiding me from?

Pinchwife: I will never reveal to you the name of Horner! (…Oops.) He loves you! (…Oops.) Now write him a letter, saying you hate him.

Lady Pinchwife: Okay. But I will also write him a letter saying I love him.

The ignorant country wife has an affair with the falsely impotent; when the man obsessed with his reputation finds out he has caused his own cuckoldry, the Londoners convince him that it’s okay, since they won’t make fun of him. Everyone is proved either a hypocrite or a fool–except the virtuous Harcourt and Alithea–and all are happy with their lot in life. The End

*Warning: Apparently there are other characters and innuendo and such. The night before your exam, it might still be a good idea to Google more information on the play. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Best quote:

Mr. Pin.: Come my poor rogue, but thou lik’st none better than me?
Mrs. Pin.: Yes indeed, but I do, the Player Men are finer / Folks. [She means us actors]