EDITORIAL- DON’T ASK WHY

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DAVID VOGEL
A musical number has just finished in front of the bright red curtains. The audience applauds and the lights dim. They come back up as the curtain opens and….

“Football players!” yells the voice from the orchestra pit.

This is the standard procedure at the musical practices for the Hillsboro High School production of “Good News!”

The voice in the pit is our director and the football players are a group of guys, including myself, who are supposed to come out at that particular moment and do various football “warm-ups” that will give the audience the impression that we are getting ready for the big game, which is coming up later in the musical.

What we actually are doing are a few jumping jacks and other mediocre activities that really require no more energy than what you would get from eating a cardboard box.

That’s what I like about acting: you really don’t have to do that much and the audience just has to use its imagination to make up for it.

In fact, it’s been that way for hundreds of years, dating back to when you were young and Shakespeare’s plays were just beginning to emerge.

The Elizabethan Era stages did not require the use of complex sets. In fact, an average stage was basically a platform that would be set up in a courtyard somewhere, and then a bunch of extreme-lower-class men would get on it and act out a play.

To get really off topic, I could also add that The Theatre, the first public theater, was rebuilt across a river and renamed the Globe Theatre. It later burned down when someone lit a cannon for a sound effect during a play and started the place on fire.

This is what I learned last week in English II. For the second time in my high school career we are reading a Shakespeare play. This time it’s “Julius Caesar.”

Shakespeare, for those of you who were lucky enough to flunk out of high school before you had to read a Shakespeare play, was a man who lived from 1564 to 1616 and wrote 37 plays, including romances, comedies, tragedies, epics and really under-budgeted blooper episodes.

From what I can tell, in “Julius Caesar” there is this guy (Julius Caesar) who defeats this other guy named Popeye or something and then comes to this town where all the people suddenly love him except for a few senators and then Caesar gets really pompous and full of himself and has a statue raised of himself that says “the unconquerable god” and-anyone else noticing that this has turned into a giant run-on sentence?-then he declares that he “won three purple hearts” and then the certain senators who don’t like him plot to assassinate him which they do and then Caesar is obviously dead.

So there you have it: the entire plot of “Julius Caesar” in a little more than 100 words. Yet, we are required to read this play that contains about 92 percent of all the words that have ever been written. Not to mention all the incredibly hard to comprehend quotes, such as:

“Well, honour is the subject of my story.

“I cannot tell what you and other men

“Think of this life; but, for my single self,

“I had as lief not be as live to be

“In awe of such a thing as I myself.”

Not that I’m bitter.

One thing that would make Shakespeare’s plays a little more entertaining is if they were musicals.

Sometimes I wish that musicals could be put into real life, so that every time you feel emotion-whether it be happiness, love, sorrow, envy, anger, confusion, constipation-you could spontaneously break out into song, and everyone around you would automatically know the words and sing along with you on the repeats.

I remember a “Gilligan’s Island” episode where they performed a Shakespeare play, and added some of Shakespeare’s phrases to various opera tunes.

As irrelevant as that is to this column, I feel it needed to be said because it adds to the word count.

Anyway, in the high school’s production of “Good News!” I play three very important roles. I am, like I stated before, on the football team. I am also a “student.”

Then in the second act I have the very prestigious role of “Policeman No. 2.”

I am very proud of this.

“Policeman No. 2” has exactly three lines, all of which I memorized in about a minute. But I am very proud of this position. Maybe next year I’ll get to play a “No. 1” part. By my senior year I’ll probably be accepting a few Academy Awards.

I bet Shakespeare never got an Academy Award.

But being on the Publicity Committee for the play, I should probably mention that “Good News!” will be performed Nov. 10-12 in the HHS auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in the high school office at 947-3991 and are $5 each.

Tell them David sent you.

It won’t get you any special treatment, but I just want to see if you’ll do it.

And finally, to quote Julius Caesar:

“Let me have men about me that are fat,

“Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o’ nights:

“Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;

“He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

***

UFO: An average American has a vocabulary of about 10,000 words, 15,000 if you’re really smart. Shakespeare’s vocabulary consisted of over 29,000 words!

Don’t ask why.

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