Mother Goose

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Mamet’s Hamlet

Published September 1, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

 

I don’t think V– will be impressed.

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like giving Harry Potter the Fairy Godmother’s Wand. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

It’s a brand new school year, full of unrealistic hopes and Lovett’s Pie-in-the-sky dreams. And with any new school year come opportunities of great shame and embarrassment. We call these moments: auditions: where you can embarrass yourself in a room full of people, and never realize it. Of course, these days, I have a hard time distinguishing between theatre audition-ers and Bieber Screamers. However, in order to help the masses, today’s broadcast will center around the audition process.

For all you actor wanna-be’s, think about your name. It’s understandable that you want a cool actor’s name—one with three names. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tommy Lee Jones. Bertolt…Bale…Brahms. However, just because your name is John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt does not mean you should put all that down on your audition card. I recently received an email from this John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt fellow, who let me know his intention of playing in Richard III by adapting this Shakespearean text into something, which I admit, is much more understandable than Shakespeare’s original. He writes:

Ian McKellen as Richard III

James, Edward, Henry and Richard,

There are so many of you.

When Richard the Third is read,

You all turn up for dead,

He sings James, Edward, Henry and Richard!

(Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die.)

 

Yes, folks, this is deadly theater at its roughest. Which is why I decided to bring in a special guest…my good friend Hans Christian Mamet, to give us some idea of how to do Hamlet.

Bert: Hans Christian Mamet, so good to see you.

Hans: Likewise.

Bert: So, Hans. I thought it might be good if you would give us some suggestions on doing Hamlet’s monologue in Act III—the one where he gives advice to the actors. Any initial thoughts before we dive in?

Hans: It’s uh—ya know…

Bert: What?

Hans: A good script.

Bert: Indeed. Ok, let’s dig in. Hamlet starts this by saying, “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly  on the tongue: but if you mouth—“

Hans: Stop.

Bert: What’s the problem?

Hans: The speech. It’s too…

Bert: Too–? Too what? This is Shakespeare, you know.

Hans: I realize. He was a pretty good one. Playwright. I guess.

Bert: So, why’d you stop me?

Hans: No need to continue.

Bert: What?

Hans: Well, it’s too long. Cut it.

Tell us, Hamlet, how you really feel about cutting your monologue.

Bert: Cut Hamlet’s “Speak the speech” monologue?

Hans: Cut it. Just do that part again.

Bert: Ok, I’ll try. Um, “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you—“

Hans. Yeah. Ok.

Bert: What?

Hans: That’s all. All you need. Do it again.

Bert: “Speak the speech—“

Hans: Stop. That’s it. All you need.

Bert: That’s all? Really? Cut down all of that advice to “Speak the speech”?

Hans: Actually, just “speak.”

Three Uses of Mamet’s Knife

Bert: “Speak—“

Hans: Yes. Good. That’s it! Perfect. All you need. Cut the excess.

Bert: Wow, you sure cut that one up and baked the life out of it. I Lovett, Mamet! Again, thank you so much, Hans. We appreciate your input and thoughts on how to approach this classic monologue.

 

Finally this evening, a small introduction to the next production here at Mother Goose Children’s Theatre. We will be doing Othello: The Prequel. Here is a small sampling.

The thing with Othello:

Iago lies to Othello.

Iago tells lies,

But says that he’s honest,

Which Othello buys.

 

They all end up dying,

But what’d ya expect?

The story was Shakespeare’s,

We’re not yet to Brecht.

 

Good night, folks. Sleep as well as you can.

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My Pens: A Writer’s Confession

Published June 7, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories.

Not Goldilocks’ favorite animal

Which is like taking Goldilocks on a hunting trip in the woods. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

Today, Sweeney Todd announced his retirement. No longer a barber, he has decided to write his autobiography entitled, “Sweeney Todd: the Poet Writer of Yeats Street.”

Tonight, our broadcast will only include the prologue to this book, which you can pick up at your nearest bookstore. Each book includes an autographed fountain pen.

Such sweet selection!

And now, the prologue–“My Pens.”

These are my pens.

I’ll them now christen.

They will be mine

With my name scratched in white.

My pen.

My faithful pen.

Speak to me pen.

Whisper… I’ll listen.

I know I’ll write

In the dead of the night

Till you ache, like me

My pen…

Sleek and shiny

Well I’ve come home

To bring you paper.

Home,

And we’re together.

And we’ll do wonders

Won’t we?

You there, my pen.

You there, my pen,

Come let me hold you.

Now, with a sigh,

All the ink starts to warm.

My pen!

My clever pen…

Drip raven…onyx

Rest now, my pens.

Soon I will use you.

Soon you’ll bleed inkspots

All over the page

Till it’s done,

My manic pens…

Till now your ink

Was merely blackened.

Pens…

You shall drip onyx,

You’ll soon drip raven…onyx.

Completed arm!

AT LAST MY ARM IN COMPLETE AGAIN!

The Wolf and his Double

Published February 25, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

 

Steven Spielberg and Barney the Dinosaur = Worse dreams

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like filming a Barney movie with the cast and crew from Jurassic Park. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

 

 

This week’s History in Rhyme looks at Diderot’s contributions to theatre.

Humpty Dumpty liked the fourth wall,

Then the fourth wall had a great fall.

All the best actors then cheered loudly when

No one put the wall back together again.

 

Inspector Javert

And now we bring you Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Jr. This selection comes from Javert as he searches for Jean Valjean.

Star light, star bright,

First star I see tonight.

I’m in the right, so I must fight.

I wish I could Valjean indict.

 

Last week there was some confusion over an upcoming production here at Mother Goose Children’s Theatre. We announced that we would be holding auditions for Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, and have since received numerous phone calls from children and parents alike. At this time, we are not looking to cast an Alice, Mad Hatter, or a White Rabbit. Please note the difference between Rabbit Hole (a Pulitzer Prize winning play), and Down the Rabbit Hole (the first chapter in Alice in Wonderland). We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

 

Tonight we bring you Story Hour, featuring the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs as told by Artaud.

So cheery in the hands of Disney...

Once upon a time, there lived three little pigs that had escaped slaughtering and were now determined to enter the great, vast, dangerous world to seek their fortunes. They left the crammed pens of the pig farm to set sail for the New World…or whatever. On the ship, they fell ill to the most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad disease. It was…the plague. The poor pigs rolled around on the ship’s deck, moaning and squealing as they lost their lunch. But hey—there’s supper. Finally reaching the New World…or whatever, they immediately started building their houses. But the effects of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad disease had taken their toll on the poor pigs’ peachy skin. Their skin was gray and weak, and all the building prompted blisters to form. Truly, they had rawhides.

The first little pig built his house out of straw because it was the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately for him, the straw brought mites, and the first foolish pig found himself itching his festering blisters when there was a knock at the door.

Who wouldn't be sneezing?

The first pig called out, “Who’s there?” Now, at the door was a big, bad wolf, who answered, “Little Pig, little Pig, let me come in.” The first little pig called out, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin, chin!” Well of course, the big, bad wolf huffed and puffed, and blew the house in. But unfortunately for him, all the huffing and puffing in such close proximity to the straw caused him to have quite the sneezing attack. And he now had mites in his fur.

The second silly pig had built his house out of wood because it was simple but sturdy. Unfortunately for him, the wood was moldy, and the second silly pig found himself with a lung infection in addition to the terrible, horrible, no-good, you-get-the-point-by-now disease. As he coughed and hacked, he heard a knock at the door. The second silly pig called out, “Who’s there?”

When you have an itch on your back, just start dancing.

The big, bad wolf was now dancing a disturbing jig on the doorstep as he tried to keep itching his back and knees because of the hay mites. But he still managed to cry, “Little Pig, little Pig, let me come in.” The second silly pig called out, “Not by the–” and was reduced to coughing and hacking up a lung. Well, of course, the big, bad wolf had no intention of huffing and puffing ever again, so he used the door as a back scratcher before it fell in. Unfortunately for him, he now had moldy splinters in his fur along with the hay mites.

The third thoughtful pig had built his house out of bricks because he was smart. Unfortunately for him, he still had the…terrible…disease. But he had contracted nothing new. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. The third thoughtful pig knew just what to do. He peeked through the peep hole in the door. By this point, the big, bad wolf could not even announce his arrival due to the painful, itching jig he was dancing on the doorstep. The third thoughtful pig called out, “I know who you are! What big ears you have! What big eyes you have! What big teeth you have!” The big, bad wolf, now huffing and puffing, toe tapping and back scratching answered, “That’s my twin—he’s at Red Riding’s house.”

The Wolf and his Double, by Third Thoughtful Pig

Well, the third thoughtful pig knew just what to do. He put a large pot under the chimney, and waited. The wolf drove himself to distraction, going completely insane. He climbed upon the house, determined to crawl down the chimney to capture the pig. Unfortunately for him, the wolf fell into the boiling pot of water and became wolf soup. The third thoughtful pig eventually recovered from the terrible…plague, and wrote a book entitled, “The Wolf and his Double.”

 

Checkmate, Chekhov

Published January 28, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Elmo as "Matador"?

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like Elmo training to be a Matador. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

 

In recent news, Sanford Meisner met up with the television comedian, Jack Benny, for a special two-hour interview with BBC. The interview will air in two weeks, but the following review can be found on their website.

English: Publicity photo of Jack Benny.

Jack Benny

Sanford Meisner met a miser

 

Ebeneezer Scrooge was he

 

He cast Jack Benny, counting his pennies,

 

Repeating “Bah Humbug,” for a fee.

 

 

In an attempt to bring the world of sports and theatre closer together, as Brecht would have liked, Mother Goose Children’s Theatre will soon produce our own version of The Threepenny Opera in which an entire football game will happen simultaneously. But until then: if theatre had a sport’s announcer, here are some phrases you might hear.

 

The game’s aFoote!

Chekhov and his Australian teammate, Checkmate

Aannd…Noises Off!

It’s going…it’s going…it’s Far Away!

Boy, is he ever hitting those aside lines. Nailed ‘em.

 

Capra's answer to shoplifting.

 

The retail clothing store located next to us has recently started using our advertising posters as a new way of communicating with their customers.

For example, right now their “Shoplifters will be prosecuted” sign has our “You Can’t Take It With You” sign displayed directly below it.

 

 

 

 

Finally this evening, we leave you with a sweet little lullaby for all you children out there whose fathers are actors. If he weren’t in rehearsal right now, this is what he would sing to you.

 

The Actor’s Lullaby:

 

How to study for a biology exam.

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,

Papa’s playing Hamlet; or have you heard?

 

 

If you heard, then you must know

I auditioned for Edgar Allen Poe.

 

 

If old Poe does not pan out,

Papa’s playing Bishop in Shanley’s Doubt.

 

 

If in Doubt I seem a goof,

I’ll be trying out for David Auburn’s Proof.

 

 

And if in Proof all I do is bellow,

Then sign me up to play Othello.

 

 

Magic is like acting. Deception for a living...

And if Othello can’t be contained,

I’ll try sleight of hand with David Blaine.

 

 

If David Blaine should just seem a clown,

Then I’ll stay right here, and not go into town.

 

 

 

One for the Money

Published January 14, 2012 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

 

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories.

Little Red Riding Hood

Which is like showing The Wolfman movie to Little Red Riding Hood. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

 

Harold Clurman has written a new book called On Directing 2. Because of mass confusion over the title (some thinking that Clurman gave instruction on how to direct a two-person cast), there will be a re-printing with a new title, A Second Installment of Directing Principles as it Applies to the Theatre of Today and as Seen Through the Experience of Harold Clurman. Here is Clurman’s introduction:

Little director has lost her actors,

And can’t tell where to find them.

Read them Antigone;

They’ll come right back you see,

Punctuality now more important to them.

 

And now we bring you, “A Taste of the Theatre,” where our everyday experiences turn into conflict-laden scripts.

Where all the best drama really happens.

Today, we step into the box office, amid a flurry of telephone calls and visiting patrons.

One for the money

“Yes, ma’am. You can only purchase one ticket for that price. No…no, I’m sorry, there is not a meal included. I’m sorry…cages? No…no cages. Ma’am. …Ma’am. There are no foxes in this production. Ma’am…I think…I think you misunderstood. No, ma’am, this is not a joke. I’m very serious. This is a theatre. We are performing The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman. This is not the Zoo. Hello? …Hello?

 

Two for the show

“Thank you for holding, sir. Yes, there are only two remaining seats left for this evening’s performance. I double checked that with the Front of House Manager, the Head Usher, the Assistant Director, and the Director. I’m sorry…but three seats are just not available at this time. …Well, I did just confirm this with the playwright and publishing house as well. Yes, sir, I’m positive. Two seats. Not. Three. Yes sir, I counted them myself, just today. Yes. Thank-you.”

 

Three to get ready

Such signs bring great joy and fear.

“Yes, ma’am, I did appreciate your audition. Well, you see, it was supposed to be a one-minute audition. Not a three-seconds audition. Well…it wasn’t a terrible three seconds. Yes ma’am, you’re right—it was very concise. Well, you see, I’m not really sure how to tell you to improve…it was hard to tell in three seconds. Uh…but you didn’t throw up! That’s a positive!”

 

And four to go

“Ma’am…I appreciate the fact that she’s your granddaughter, but you cannot speak with her right now. Yes, yes, I know you want to congratulate her, but she’s performing right now. Well, let’s see…it’s a five act play…and it looks like…yes—they are still in the first act. …So yes, four more to go before it’s done. Yes, then you can congratulate her. Yes, ma’am, I’m sure she is a sweetheart. No, no…I’m already dating. Well, I mean—I  don’t think it’s a pity.”

 

Finally this evening, we bring back our series, History in Rhyme. This week focuses on the 1930s.

Cropped screenshot of Stella Adler from the tr...

Stella Adler

Three Group Theatre peeps,

Stella Adler they could not keep,

And they began to cry;

“With Stella there,

Will Stanislavski dare,

His system to her teach?”

 

“What? Teach his system?

This does not show wisdom!”

But they did not know why.

No, no.

They did not know why.

 

Now Miss Adler bought

What Stanislavski taught.

“Yes, he’s a swell guy!

I learned imagination

While in this other nation

Yes, he’s a swell guy!”

 

Pop Goes the Weasel

Published December 31, 2011 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,”

Who could say no to this headshot?

bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like casting Shirley Temple in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

In the news today: It was discovered in some of George Bernard Shaw’s last diary entries that he was starting to write a new play that would fit nicely as a follow up to Babe, and Babe, Pig in the City. This new play, called Pig Mailin’, will feature James Cromwell as a postal service worker.

A revival of interest in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire has prompted a flood of poetry contest entries by middle school students nationwide. This winning poem will be featured in the next scholarly article published by Mother Goose Children’s Theatre and will be reviewed by myself, Bertolt Brahms:

Brando had a little wife

Her sister felt so low

And everywhere that Stanley went

Dear Blanche was sure to go.

The tragic event that lead to the now popular, "My Fair Lady."

And now, Theatre News from around the world: Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, has been touring successfully in Great Britain. They were scheduled to show in London this week. Unfortunately, London Bridge is Falling Down, so the performance has been moved to next week.

In light of the Christmas holidays, we bring you the summary of our production of the children’s ballet, The Nutcracker:

Hickory, dickory, dock.

The Mouse ran up the clock.

The Nutcracker

Found his attacker

Hickory, dickory, dock.

The natural result when the housing market looks bad.

And now for a Little Literary Lesson:

There was a Grotowski who lived in a shoe

He had so little money, he didn’t know what to do.

He wrote down his thoughts, and called it a book,

If only “Poor Theatre” was available on Nook.

And now, Bedtime Discussion. This week, we will be studying Pop, Goes the Weasel from the perspectives of Stanislavski, Artaud, and Boal.

All around the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought ’twas all in fun.
Pop! goes the weasel.

Discussion questions include the following:

-From a Stanislavski perspective, discuss what motivates the monkey to chase the weasel.

-From Artaud’s perspective, discuss how the weasel’s popping may have affected the monkey. Also discuss the influences of the monkey and the weasel in Eastern theatre.

-From Boal’s perspective, was the chasing incident or the popping incident more effective in “purging” the monkey, the weasel, or the potential audience?

Finally, we travel through history as this particular story unfolds. It’ll be a Walk to Remember.

Good old Pulitzer!

Once upon a time, there was a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He had suffered a Long Day’s Journey into Night, intent upon walking Beyond the Horizon. He made it All the Way Home to Anna Christie, who exclaimed, “Looks like you had The Time of Your Life! How’d ya make it? Did ya Look Homeward, Angel?” The cat had climbed over Fences, Driving Miss Daisy crazy. That resulted in a Street Scene in Our Town that night, bringing about The Death of a Salesman. The cat learned that day How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. As the Salesman lay there dying, contemplating the Crimes of the Heart, experiencing Doubt, searching for Proof that he wasn’t Ruined, he saw the Angels in America. They saw him holding the Cat and said, “You Can’t Take It With You. You’re not Icebound, but you are Hell-bent Fer Heaven and will be In Abraham’s Bosom.” At the funeral, The Subject Was Roses and he was like a Buried Child. As the cat dozed off, no longer Lost in Yonkers, it seemed to The Old Maid that his purring was his way of saying “’Night Mother.”

Where the Red Fern Grows

Published December 10, 2011 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,”

Cover of "WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS"

Sequel soon to be released: "Most Dogs Go To Heaven"

bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like reading Where the Red Fern Grows to your puppy.

I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

First off, tonight, I’d like to announce our upcoming season here at “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre.” I know these plays will delight you in the forthcoming year.

Hey diddle diddle,

Cats, and The Fiddler,

The Buffalo’s Over the Moon,

The Little Mermaid, Proof,

The Cryptogram,

And The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Of course, every season here ends with our own piece, written by myself—Bertolt Brahms—

English: Meryl Streep

"Mother Goose seemed like the natural conclusion after Doubt and Mamma Mia!"

entitled Mother Goose and her Nursery Rhymes. This year’s guest artist will be Meryl Streep starring in the lead role, Mother Goose.

Later this evening, the beloved bedtime story, Peter and the Wolf, as read by Konstantin Stanislavski and Alexander Ivanovich. Afterwards, Stanislavski and Ivanovich will be available for your calls.

But before that…History in Rhyme. Last week we covered the Renaissance. This week, we move into the 1800’s.

Little Actor Horner

Sat in a corner

Drinking his whiskey rye.

He thought he was Booth

Which was rather uncouth

And said, “What a good Hamlet am I!”

On to our Gossip Corner. Last week, I was headed to St. Ives, and I met a man with seven wives. I called him Henry the VIII, to which he took no small offense. I had to admit my error. The man had outdone Henry. Henry only had six wives. I never could seem to remember, as Shakespeare never told me. I went on my way, grateful that I did not need to count the number of kits, cats, sacks, and wives, and also pondering what Shakespeare would do with such modern day characters like this man, Liz Taylor, and Kim Kardashian.

The Halloween script contest results are now in. First place winner goes to Alice for her play entitled “Sweeney Todd in Richard III.” 

As a teaser, I have here the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to read the opening line.

Child Catcher:  “One, Two,

When I say ‘Boo,’

Three, Four,

You’ll see more gore,

Five, six,

Lollipop licks

Seven, eight,

Fingers taste great,

Nine, ten,

Let’s do it again!

Bert: In other news, the writers of the hit television series, “24,” have started a new series for children, called “12.” And instead of the pounding countdown that starts each hour, the episode will begin with—

“Jack be nimble,

Jack be quick,

Jack hit the President

With a heavy brick.”

I’m also pleased to announce that next summer we will be celebrating the Corpus Christi Feast Day with our own live production. It will be outdoors on the green by the parish. Tickets are free, but seating limited. Everyman for himself.

Updates from the playwrights:

Cover of "Three Uses of the Knife"

1) As a prop on stage. 2) As a straight edge when drawing stage designs. 3) As a means of termination of the pain associated with grad students' thesis papers

David Mamet, inspired by the 4thaddition to the Twighlight saga, is coming out with his complete series, Three Uses of the Knife, Four Uses of the Fork, Five Uses of the Spoon, and Stupid Uses of the Spork. You can preorder them now on Amazon.

And now our tongue twister of the day.

Peter Brook picked a peck of problematic plays.

Before our first commercial break, I would like to take this moment to thank our sponsor “King’s Horses and Men: Lifetime Insurance,” who after a lifetime, have finally put Humpty Dumpty back on wall street. We’ll be back after these messages.