February 06, 2004

"An Infinite Deal of Nothing"

-Quote from The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene 1)

Well, I've been devoting myself prodigiously to the completion of The Sound and the Fury. After I vented in my last post . . . ummm . . . How does one say it? Let's just say that something clicked. I caught the wave. I'm jiving to the groove. Yeah. Something like that. I just lack 50 pages now, and I'm enjoying myself, all in all. More on all that once the book is actually done.

I also went to talk to Dr. Coppinger about the book on Thursday afternoon. I had often noted his sizable collection of Faulkner while sitting in his office staring hungrily at his books, and had always found it odd that The Sound and the Fury was not among the novels on display. Well, as soon as we started talking about it, guess what came out from under his desk (where he apparently keeps it within easy reach). Yeah. And it was full of colored tabs to mark his favorite passages. Very cool.

We talked about why it is so highly acclaimed, what the value of it is, etc. As I said before, more on that later. Then I asked about the rest of Faulkner's stuff. He recommended Light in August and As I Lay Dying as being more "accessible to the reader." And, if I wanted something more difficult ("There's something worse than this?!") his personal favorite is "Absalom, Absalom." Glancing to the side, I noticed that that one wasn't on the shelf either. Hmmm . . .

I was shocked to find that our library actually has every novel ever written by Faulkner. No, really! I'm not making that up! So, that's another *estimates* twenty-ish books tacked onto my ever-growing list of "Things to Read, like, Now."

In other news, this week's play was The Merchant of Venice. Yes, it was supposed to be Romeo and Juliet (for my Shakespeare class, you know), but Batts is, amazingly, even slower than I had anticipated. So we picked another one (I believe Moore suggested it) and Romeo and Juliet will wait a week.

Martinez- Duke of Venice, Prince of Morocco, Prince of Arragon, Lorenzo, Stephano, Leonardo, etc.
Myself- Antonio, Tubal, Balthasar, etc.
Moore- Bassanio
Gallagher- Salanio, Salarino, Salerio, Launcelot Gobbo, Nerissa, Jessica, etc.
Scott- Salanio, Salarino, Salerio, Old Gobbo, etc.
Sharpton- Gratiano, etc.
Scholl- Shylock, Lorenzo
Wilson- Shylock
Sharon- Portia
Anna- Nerissa, Jessica
Ardith- Portia, Nerissa, Jessica

If you were paying any attention at all, you can't help but notice that many of the parts were played by multiple people. This is because, over the course of two nights and two and a half hours, there was much coming and going by certain persons. As such, the female parts got passed around like candy, if you'll pardon the expression. At one point, I came within a few seconds of playing Jessica myself. Also, the characters of Salanio, Salarino, and Salerio were absolutely impossible to keep straight (especially since they seemed to swap roles depending on which edition you were using) and the long and short of that was, if you played one, you played them all.

I, for one, was highly amused by Sharpton's performance as Gratiano (ask him about Russian/Italian mafiosos). Wilson picked up Shylock at the point where he started really showing his true colors in the play, and the effect was chilling . . . at least to me, since he was up in my face a few times . . . with a knife. Gah. Gallagher, of course, played the clown (Launcelot) for all he was worth, very much enjoying a male role. Martinez generally had loads of fun playing a number of jilted suitors . . . I wonder about that, but no matter.

The last scene, as anyone who has read the play knows, is loads of fun to perform, almost impossible to mess up, and teaches a valuable lesson (that women are, amazingly, even more ruthless and conniving than Jews . . . who'da thunk it?). A few of our number, having read the play in high school, were surprised to find that the edition they read had censored some of the more . . . blatant innuendo and the bawdy double-entendres.

This weekend I have much work to do in continued preparation for the month I am already calling "Bloody February" (there is a plethora of good reasons to do so). And I will finish The Sound and the Fury. And I will continue everything else I'm reading. And I will continue all my normal weekend activities. See you on the other side.

Posted by Jared at February 6, 2004 09:23 PM | TrackBack