Friday, July 30, 2010

Magpie 25

“I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!”
Let’s go back a few decades. Young Berowne, 18 years of age, is having trouble in school. He has asked his friend Connie to have a cup of coffee with him.
Connie: “Look, Berowne. I like you; you’re okay. But as I told you before, we could never be a couple. To be real blunt about it, I prefer someone, well, physically attractive, and maybe a bit higher in the intelligence department.”
Berowne: “No, no, this isn’t about that. When I asked you to have coffee with me it was to talk about something entirely different.”
C: “Good. Glad to hear it. So what’s this about?”
B: “Well, I’ve got an English exam this Friday. It’s about the play ‘Twelfth Night.’ If I flunk it, I probably won’t graduate. You can guess how well this would go over at home, me not even able to graduate from high school. Now you, you’re already in college and an English major, so I thought we might just discuss my assignment so I could have a clearer understanding of it.
C: “What? You want me to do your homework.?”
B: “Not at all. Just a discussion. So I’d get to know the play better.”
C: “I’ll bet you never even read the dam’ play, did you Berowne?”
B: “Of course I read it! Some of it. The first parts.”
C: “I know I shouldn’t be doing this. I’ll hate myself in the morning.”
B: “Think of yourself as a good Samaritan. Helping a friend who’s truly in need.”
C: “Okay, maybe I can give you a little help. You say you’ve got a picture? Let’s see it.”

B: “Here. See, it’s a crummy old lock. The assignment is to describe what this has to do with Malvolio of ‘Twelfth Night’.”
C: “Of course. I get it. Malvolio’s locked up in a dark room.”
B: “Yes, of course. He’s locked up. Dark room…”
C: “You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?”
B: “No, but I sure hope you’re going to tell me.”

C: “Okay, here’s the scoop. First off, you should know about Olivia, the Lady Olivia. She’s a countess, lots of dough, owner of a huge estate. She’s got a steward, a caretaker, named Malvolio. As far as Olivia is concerned, Malvolio is of course way down on the social totem pole.”
B: “Olivia. Malvolio. I got it.”

C: “Malvolio has been performed in different ways during the past couple of centuries. Sometimes he’s in traditional dress…”

C: “Sometimes in modern. He may be just the steward but he acts like he’s in charge of everything and everybody; he’s pompous, bosses people around. So a group of characters on the estate get together and decide to have a little fun with him.”
B: “This actually sounds quite modern.”
C: “As Shakespeare often does. Anyway. The wise guys write a letter to Malvolio that seems to have come from Olivia: in it she implies that she is deeply in love with him and she’s sad that their social situation won’t allow her to show it. She asks him to show his love for her by wearing special clothing. Crazy stuff – bright yellow stockings, garters worn outside in a criss-cross way – and the poor guy falls for all this.

B: “He’s been pranked.”
C: “Exactly. When he learns that Lady Olivia is secretly crazy for him, he goes a bit nuts. He wears the yellow stockings, the garters, the whole deal.”
B: “I suppose the pranksters have a huge laugh.”
C: “Of course. As for Olivia, she thinks Malvolio must have lost his mind. So the poor guy is locked up.”

B: “And that’s where our lock comes in.”

C: “Right. Poor Malvolio, stuck away in a dark room, trying to convince everyone that he isn’t crazy at all.”
B: “How does it all end?”

C: “Well, since it’s a Shakespeare comedy, the problems are all solved at the end and everyone has a high old time. Except for Malvolio. When they finally let him out, he sums it all up by saying, ‘I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!’”
B: “And as for Olivia?”

C: “Well, she had a few chuckles about Malvolio with everyone else, but at the end she feels sympathetic toward him.”
B: “All’s well that ends well, in other words.”
C: “Right. Not quite the right play, but the right sentiment.”


spacedlaw said...

I would never have guessed.

Kathe W. said...

oh hah! a fun read once again!

Berowne said...

spacedlaw: "Really? I would never have guessed."
Remember, a Magpie is fiction.:-)

Berowne said...

"Oh hah! a fun read once again!"
Thanks for the comment, kathew. said...

‘I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!’ A handy quote for many a circumstance!

Linda said...

What a fun story!

Dianne said...

Creative and fun...

Anonymous said...

Poor old Mavolio - apart from being a pompous ass, which lets face it none of us can tolerate.

Berowne said...

Linda: "What a fun story!" Dianne: "Creative and fun."
Welcome comments; thanks.

Berowne said...

CatLadyLarew: "‘I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!’ A handy quote for many a circumstance!"
Yes, guess we all have felt it at one time or other.

Unknown said...

Will's plays must be close to your heart and mind for them to spring to mind for these prompts!

Paul C said...

Excellent exploration of Night's themes and poor Malvolio seeking acceptance. I can't imagine you, Berowne, struggling in English in high school.

Berowne said...

Derrick: "Will's plays must be close to your heart and mind..."
Very true.

Berowne said...

Paul C.: "I can't imagine you, Berowne, struggling in English in high school."
Well, I had trouble figuring out when to use the subjunctive in place of the indicative, but we've all been there, right? :-)

Helen said...

You brought Shakespeare to us in living color and well written dialogue ... wonderful!!!

Baino said...

Thanks for the Study Guide. Much fun. I'm ashamed to say that I've never read Twelfth Night! *hangs head*

Berowne said...

Baino: "I'm ashamed to say that I've never read Twelfth Night! *hangs head*"
No, "Hangs Head" is from "Marie Antoinette.":-)

Berowne said...

What a great comment, Helen -- thanks.

Weasel said...

This was a fun read! Great response to the prompt!


Berowne said...

Systematic Weasel: "This was a fun read! Great response to the prompt!"
Great comment to the response -- thanks.

Words A Day said...

That was a great read! Great Magpie

Berowne said...

Words A Day: "That was a great read! Great Magpie."
I'm all in favor of receiving a few Words A Day if they're like those words. Thanks. :-)

RA said...

Brilliant, Berowne, bloody brilliant! :D

ds said...

Fun read! Great way to use the Magpie prompt and educate this reader at the same time. Bravo!

Tess Kincaid said...

I love how you can weave a bit of Shakespeare into Magpie!

RLM Cooper said...

All I can say is that this was extremely FUN. SO glad I stopped by here to give it a read. Loved it.

Berowne said...

RA: "Brilliant, Berowne, bloody brilliant!"
Kiitos (again).

Berowne said...

ds: "Fun read! Great way to use the Magpie prompt and educate this reader at the same time."

Thanks, ds.
"I don't feel dull,
I don't feel hollow.
I found myself on your
Blogs I Follow." :-)

Berowne said...

willow: "I love how you can weave a bit of Shakespeare into Magpie!"
I'm glad that it seems to have been well received. Because there's a lot of Shakespeare that can illustrate the Magpies. (And vice versa.)

Berowne said...

AngelMay: "All I can say is that this was extremely FUN."
As was your comment -- thanks!

Tumblewords: said...

Well writ!

Stafford Ray said...

All's well and it ended well too, but one question remains. Who is the idiot doing the pole dancing?

ninotaziz said...

Ha! Ha! What a Shakespeare journey. All from a keyhole...

Pat said...

As one lazy student I recognise another:)

Berowne said...

Great comments from Tumblewords, Stafford Ray, ninotaziz and Pat. As Will S. would say: "For this, much thanks."

Unknown said...

Well Berowne was not really struggling, were you berowne? A cute girl you had a crush on? Love that story. Yes you do know your Shaq.

Elizabeth said...

You say, sir, that this is mere fiction, but the invented must be credible to bear credence and I cannot for the life of me believe that any fair-hearted maiden, be she named Connie or otherwise, could be so blinded to reality as to perceive you as lacking in either physical attraction or intelligence. The girl needs serious medical attention... x

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