Dr. Heidi Jekyll at Slipstream

Today, let us discuss Dr. Heidi Jekyll…

Dr. Heidi Jekyll, a play written and directed by Luna Alexander & Victoria Weatherspoon was a lovely production.

 a modern retelling of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic about duality and temptation, Slipstream (source)

Context:

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author writing just before the turn of the century. He wrote immortal works like Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. 

The latter was arguably his most popular work and perhaps the last before he died. By the time of his death over 250,000 copies were sold in the U.S (Middleton, 9).

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is available at Project Gutenberg. 

A summary is available through Wikipedia:

Jekyll & Hyde Summary:

  1. There are rumors of a wicked man who has an acquaintance with Dr. Henry Jekyll.
  2. When confronted, Dr. Jekyll laughs away his association with Mr. Hyde
  3. There is a murder  of Sir Danvers Carew involving the man known as Mr. Hyde
  4. Jekyll promises not to associate with Hyde anymore
  5. Lanyon’s health deteriorates for unknown reasons; he entrusts Mr. Utterson with a letter to be opened after Dr. Jekyll’s death/disappearance
  6. Utterson finds Jekyll dead from apparent suicide with a letter for him
  7. Utterson reads the letters
  8. Lanyon assists Hyde by feeding him the formula that transforms him back into Jekyll. Witnessing this unnatural event caused his decline in health
  9. The transformations continue to occur without the aid of the formula until Dr. Jekyll permanently transforms into Mr. Hyde
  10. They die

So that is the tale as it stood.

Literary Context:

The Enlightenment, (1685-1815) whose thinkers influenced writing and philosophy away from that of the supernatural and into the realm of the rational, the reasonable. Events like the Industrial Revolution in Europe lead to the mechanization of the labor force, created vast machines, and incorporated scientific methods.  Romanticism (19th Century) was a reaction against these influences exploring the human spirit, individuality, subjectivity, and, perhaps most importantly, the unknown.

Writers like Stevenson, H.P. Lovecraft, author of the Cthulu Mythos, and Charles Brockden Brown, author of the proto-novel Wieland or The Transformation: An American Tale are examples of the trend away from the known and the knowable. Their protagonists are confronted by forces they cannot see, nor control, learn truths about the nature of their universe that they cannot fully comprehend and work with imperfect knowledge and often die or go mad.

Take Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus as a well known example. In the narrative, the protagonist reanimates a corpse with the aid of an unknown scientific development mixed with arcane knowledge (the study of ancient philosophers and alchemists). In popular culture/media the common belief is that the titular character’s monster is resurrected using electricity harnessed from lightning, but this is not accurate. In the novella, there is no exact method given. The reason professed is that the author is afraid someone would mimic their work and lead to another inevitable tragedy. The same device is used in H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance whereby a scientist discovers a method for becoming invisible. However, he does not set it down for fear that someone would mimic it and gain the power that he alone possesses. The device is used again in Jekyll & Hyde where the ingredients of the concoction are not set down by Dr. Jekyll. The reason being when he attempts to recreate the potion, he fails due to some unknown and non-reproducible element. In the absolute dread someone may try anyway, he destroys his research.

Themes & Motifs:

  • Good vs. evil. Can Hyde truly be called evil if it is in his nature? Can Dr. Jekyll be innocent if he chooses to indulge Hyde’s ferocity?
  • Control: Can Hyde control his behavior and his deeds? Dr. Jekyll takes the potion to unleash Hyde until a point in the narrative where Hyde comes and goes without it.

Also some slight specism/racism with the idea that pre-humans were inherently less moral than their homo sapiens sapiens counterparts. He was a writer not a saint.

The Play:

Dramatis Personae:

Mandy Lodgson

  • Dr. Heidi “Jeks” Jekyll  – a talented doctor, who struggles with alcohol addiction, did some bad things back in the day, but is coping with the help of her A.A. meetings

Laura Heikennen

  • Hyde – Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego, her addictive persona, has a lot of snark and a lot of hate pointed at Jekyll, kept contained and under control through songs and chants, tends to hurt people, but doesn’t always remember

Ryan Ernst

  • Mr. Utterson – the Picasso of “circumstantial evidence”, is able to get anybody off for any reason, old friend of “Jeks”, wants to help
  • Mr. Poole – a pompous, middle-management bureaucrat, Dr. Jekyll’s handler, only interested in the good of the company
  • Dr. Carew – the big fish, multi-million dollar investor, confident, collected, happily married with a homosexual lover, old mentor to Dr. Jekyll

Steve Xander Carson

  • Mr. “Dick” Enfield – the sleeziest cop you can imagine, literally named himself “Dick”, knows all of the gossip in town, friends with Utterson, just a terrible person
  • Mr. Guest – lover of Dr. Carew, old friend of Utterson & Jekyll, was burned by “Hyde” one too many times, outed to his family, a delight to be around, but tragic
  • Dr. Lanyon – cool, fun doctor, Dr. Jekyll’s crush, always a little bit close, borders on romantic, but never seems to dive in, there is a hesitancy there

Aristotle argued plot was the most important part of tragedy and spectacle the least. I would like to reverse that and go in reverse order of his Poetics.

Opsis:

Spectacle. The playing space was divided into four specific areas:

  1. Dr. Jekyll’s office (left)
  2. Dr. Jekyll’s apartment (center)
  3. Dr. Carew’s home office (right)
  4. Generalized playing area (front)

The office was suggested with a painted back wall, a degree hanging in a frame, and made complete with a desk, rolling chair(s), trash bin, assorted geeky paraphernalia, in/out box, etc. The desk looked too small to belong in an office, more like an end table. It seemed entirely too rickety to serve as a desk for the top doctor at a major pharmaceutical firm or to be the main meeting place of Dr. Jekyll (Jeks for short), Dr. Lanyon, & Mr. Poole to gather around. However, the touches of geek finery like a troll doll, a Stretch-Armstrong, etc. cluttering the already too small working space made it really delightful. Shared sandwiches at this tiny desk made it seem like maybe this was only an up and coming corporation, literally chomping at the bit to climb up the Fortune 500.

Dr. Jekyll’s apartment was a single table, two chairs, with various appliances/accessories. It felt very bare bones, while on occasion being filled to bursting. One such scene: an entire pasta dinner was prepared by Jeks for her friends Utterson & Lanyon. We got the full treatment: table cloth, dishes, silverware, cloth napkins, tongs, hot plate, stockpot, strainer was set up prior to the scene. It all went sideways when the gentlemen did not show and Hyde started putting dishes, napkins, and plates into the pasta dish. At first it was deeply upsetting because she was ruining something Jekyll had made. Then, it got weird because it looked like they were setting up for a scene change. All of the breakables were thrown into the pasta dish. Everything else was gathered in the table cloth to be deposited backstage. It was a great stage moment when Hyde began putting things into the pasta. It strained credulity by the time Hyde started angrily putting away the dishes. She was the opposite of helpful in the scene, why would she suddenly assist Jekyll with the removal of dinner?

What was interesting was the design between the playing areas. Each of the areas were contained within the lighting and splotches of color lining the back walls. However, the color would end after a few feet entering into black, unpolished, theatrical space. It seemed to suggest that these were islands of places, pulled from their original area and placed on this stage. This was very apparent entering into the third area.

For the first two areas, I didn’t think separating them by use of the black was particularly effective. I understood that they were differentiated areas, so for utilitarian reasons, it worked. Aesthetically, I did not appreciate the choice. When you have a very stylized piece, realistic set pieces, but an abstracted connective playing area, it can feel disconnected. That was the case for the right half of the stage. However, on the left half we had:

Dr. Carew’s home office, filled with two plush chairs, side bar, lamp, painted walls, moulding (with the English “u”). I was most struck by how well-to-do this third of the stage felt compared with the sparseness of the rest of it. Out of the whole space, Dr. Carew’s home felt like it was lifted directly out of a house and just placed in theatrical space, nestled for me to see. I loved the black wash if for only that section. My eye kept travelling to that side of the stage for how “homey” it felt. I was surprised at how good furniture and some choice colors could create a sense of warmth and familiarity that comes with old homes. It was really quite something.

The fourth space had very little form or structure to it. It was used for Dr. Carew’s party, Dr. Jekyll’s confessionals, and the end image. There were some folding chairs that entered the space on occasion, but very little else to define it.

With regards to lighting: each of the areas had a localized wash with a few specials. The lamps were all practicals, which I always appreciate. There is something deeply satisfying about the click of a lamp when an actor controls it as opposed to a board.

By the end of the play none of the set pieces were left onstage. All of the pieces were whisked away as a resounding choral crescendo built up to the sparseness of the stage. We were left with the three splotches of colored wall lining the playing space and the actors in a line at the foot of the stage. They each were handed a folding chair and they slammed them down onto the floor and sat, completing the image of an Alocholics Anonymous meeting. It was easily the most powerful image story of the play and clearly what the entire piece was built around. It was deeply cathartic and a great moment in theatre.

Melos:

Melody. The chorus of the piece were the four actors involved in the production: Mandy Logsdon, Laura Heikennen, Ryan Ernst, & Steve Xander Carson. Each of them was a part of the chorus, but special emphasis must be paid to the two male actors, Ernst and Carson seeing as they were playing multiple roles.

Regardless, each of the actors pulled double duty as both

  1. their characters &
  2. serving the action of a chorus.

A chorus in classic theatre was meant to provide context, give exposition or challenge/support the authority figure. They did this through song, through dance, and through the Chorus Leader acting as scene partner for the characters of the play.

In this production, the improvised chorus moved the scenery and set pieces in a semi-stylized dance that felt like a whirlwind toward the end of the piece. During the major climaxes the actors would create a soundscape of whispers/moments from either their character’s lives or survivor’s testimonials talking about their trauma and how hard it was to live with addiction. It created a sensory depth to the piece that is rarely explored in theatre of the area.

Lexis:

Diction. The language of the piece was really quite fun. Historically, original works done at Slipstream T.I. tend to have a lot of fun with their texts, working in pop culture references either directly into the script or through their work on improvised jokes. It creates a lively energy that is hard to duplicate any other way and Dr. Heidi Jekyll was no exception. Laced with profanity and with delightful characters the language of the piece really shined.

Several parts that I wish to highlight were held primarily by the character of Hyde, portrayed by Laura Heikennen. Disregarding her performance for a moment until we discuss character, there were several moments that completely wracked the form and structure of the play without disrupting the feel of the overall piece.

One of those moments was when she discussed the new and experimental drug that Dr. Jekyll (Logsdon) was trying to persuade Dr. Cardew (Ernst) into purchasing. It was a long and lengthy list that I cannot for the life of me remember, but included something like death, blindness, sterility, and in some cases anal leakage. It was so extensive it probably took up a full minute and a half of real stage time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was sublime to listen to and made the play a wonderful menagerie of possibilities.

Another instance of beautifully fragmented language was at the end of the play, after Dr. Jekyll awakes from her night of drinking. She can in no way remember where she was or what she did since Hyde took control. She begs Hyde to recall for her. In that moment Hyde, who is also traumatized, attempts to communicate. It is apparent that she doesn’t remember well either, which is a more disturbing possibility than any adaptation I have hitherto seen. We assume that the Hulk remembers what Dr. Bannon does not. We assume our demons know what they are doing. Instead, a broken remembering of the previous night escapes Hyde’s lips and it is unclear that she has any idea at all of what really happened. She only has a hazy sense that she did something wrong, whereas the audience remembers it exactly. It almost compels the audience to fill in those gaps, but what can we do? It was truly disturbing.

Conversely, there were several instances where Jeks/Jekyll (Logsdon) spoke in direct address to the audience either from a fold out chair or while standing, conveying her story and how hard it is to continue from day to day, the abuses that she caused other people, and the fact that they won’t answer her messages. She occasionally called one of Carson’s characters (Mr. Lanyon?) to apologize for them. In these instances, the language and circumstances, while realistic, felt totally alien to the whole. They were divergent and broke the logic of the piece, particularly when you take into consideration the final image of the play: We are witnessing the story of an A.A. meeting. Therefore, unless some of the previous A.A. meetings were also a part of the story or meaningfully impacted it in some way, why bring them up in the telling? OR why occasionally break the logic of the play to directly address the audience? Maybe it was building a theme, but it felt clunky compared with that final image.

Nevertheless, something really remarkable happened when Jeks addressed the audience. She entered the general playing space at the front of the stage and said, “Hello, my name, is Heidi.”

The audience would respond, “Hello, Heidi.”

I was completely thrown. And then, I realized that this is the ritual. I discovered what they were building with the piece: a vehicle for confession, an A.A. meeting.  I have no personal connection or knowledge to addiction or the treatment thereof. My grandfather drank himself to death and so I avoid addiction at all costs. I found out that this was the accepted format for a meeting and I remember thinking What a wonderful thing. The audience felt strongly enough about the subject matter to engage with it like a meeting. What a wonderful thing.

Dianoia:

Thought. Thought and reason seemed secondary to the physical and emotional events of the piece. However, there are some things that we may conclude.

“Story is the illustration of an idea through action.”

Therefore, how the play resolves and unfolds will tell us something about the ideas in the play.

The seed of Dr. Heidi Jekyll seems to be addiction. It is certainly the major device of the piece. However, it is not present in every character; Carew is not addicted to money and Enfield is not addicted to crime (although he certainly seems addicted to gossip). Therefore, the seed cannot be addiction.  Nevertheless, since addiction is so prevalent, they are probably related.

However, upon seeing the show, reflecting on it weeks later, I am still not entirely sure what the seed might be. If not addiction, then health? Care? Well-being? Sickness? Love?

The argument of the play is indicated by the resulting action. So what is the resulting action?

The final image is simply Jeks sitting in a folding chair, being held by her alter ego, Hyde, while Carson and Ernst sit in varying states of undress, staring dumbfounded into space. Jeks turns to the audience and says, “Thank you for letting me share.” From that image, it is impossible to say what is the import of the argument.

  • Is Jeks in rehab/these meetings by court order?
  • Did she confess?
  • Does she go to prison?
  • Does she let her friend group disperse?
  • Does she pick up the pieces?

All that we are left with after is that she told this story to her A.A. group (who we can now assume are complicit in a murder).

So what has Jekyll done by the end of the piece?

  1. Jekyll has broken her abstinence
  2. Killed a person
  3. Obstructed justice
  4. Tampered with evidence

It is unclear if she will:

  1. Help her friend
  2. Confess
  3. Stand trial
  4. Reconcile with Hyde

These are not the actions of a noble hero. These are the actions of someone attempting to escape criminality whatever the cost. Even though she was “out of control” it is still her fault. She begins the play as she ended it. Addiction drives those you love away. Those suffering from addiction reach out, but don’t pursue those people because they believe they are better off. It seems like the only place Jekyll receives any form of peace is in the A.A. meetings. Which may be the only logical conclusion of the argument of the play.

 

 

It would seem that nobody escapes their demons forever, that nobody can do it alone, and that in a crisis, we need friends and without them, we find support elsewhere.

 

Ethos:

Character.

Mandy Logsdon

  • Dr. Heidi “Jeks” Jekyll  – Logsdon’s performance was really very lovely. I am reminded of a mother always keeping her child in check. Mandy’s tight-lipped approach to Hyde, her pursed lips, tense eyes, and rubbing of her temples intimate a strained business woman on the verge of a mental breakdown and Hyde’s antics always one step away from driving her over the edge. She was deeply friendly, could switch on a dime to domineering (in the case of Mr. Poole), and had a lot of very tender and sincere moments when it came time for the confessionals.

Laura Heikennen

  • Hyde – Heikennen’s performance was very interesting. She played Jekyll’s alter ego, but due to the script it was unclear if she was a voice in her head, another aspect/personality to Jekyll, or a manifestation of the addiction. We as audience don’t need a hard answer, but it was left to the performer and designer to decide. Hyde is dressed similarly to Jekyll, but stylized, more sexy, more confident and that is how Heikennen portrays Hyde. She goes from being a willful child to being the prettier, younger version of Jekyll, the one she wants to be. Heikennen fights for stage time having very few lines and in fewer scenes, instead showing us her personal frustrations with Jekyll in the background of the scenes. Her speeches were wonderful and heartbreaking, humanizing Hyde in a way I rarely see and providing some much needed relief in a play full of tears.

Ryan Ernst

  • Mr. Utterson – makes only a few appearances, but is particularly memorable at the end of the piece. His ability to plead for innocence is matched only by his corruption. He is a delightfully flawed and contradictory character and Ernst plays him like a fiddle. It is wonderful to see a guy holding a bloody piece of evidence asking for a break with Ernst’s charm and self-deprecation.
  • Mr. Poole – stole the show. There is always one character and Ernst had him. Coming out with tufted hair, glasses, and a high-pitched whine, Poole rode Jekyll to the point where she dragged him out in a chair and closed the door in his face. None of us blamed her, but I still wanted him to stay. One of my favorite performances I’ve seen.
  • Dr. Carew – Ernst really showed some character chops when he switched to Carew. To go from the prissy Poole to the confident and senior Carew was fine work indeed. Carew had little enough stage time, but his gravitas was apparent and his ability to go between the characters showed wonderful technique

Steve Xander Carson

  • Mr. “Dick” Enfield – this guy could literally have his own show. Carson’s performance as “Dick” made the price of admission within the first ten seconds of the show. He was so damn funny, showing once again that Carson, while a great leading man, is a phenomenal character actor.
  • Mr. Guest – a remarkably warm and under played performance of Carson’s. I was really surprised because I have never seen his take on a far more reasonable character. The wit and charm brought to this role made it very apparent how and why Jekyll might fall in love with him. Carson really shines in the few scenes where he plays this role.
  • Dr. Lanyon – this was one of the weaker performances in the entire show for me. Lanyon started out as delightful. He shows up, brings his own glasses in a doctor’s bag, has fun, sassy dialogue and then slips into tears at the mere mention of Hyde’s name. He seems either too close to the trauma or dwells on it too much to warrant such a gut wrenching reaction. Nevertheless, the fun and joie de vivre that Carson brings to the role is amazing.

Mythos:

Plot.

Inciting Incident:

  1. Utterson, Lanyon, & Carew cut off their ties to Jeks

Summary/Plot:

  1. Utterson hears a rumor from Enfield about a scandal involving someone named Hyde
  2. Utterson goes to see Lanyon and asks after Jeks (known to them as Hyde), says they should see her again
  3. Jeks prepares dinner for Lanyon/Utterson (neither show)
  4. Poole/Layton pressure Jeks into getting her mentor Carew to invest in their company
  5. Jeks goes to Carew’s party
  6. Jeks calls Lanyon because she is nervous (doesn’t answer)
  7. Jeks drinks because Lanyon doesn’t answer
  8. Jeks drinks because Carew won’t sign if she doesn’t
  9. Hyde drinks to excess and threatens Carew
  10. Hyde murders Carew
  11. Jeks asks for help
  12. Utterson agrees to help because he feels guilty
  13. Evidence is found implicating Jeks
  14. Utterson is wrongly incarcerated
  15. Utterson asks for help (Jeks does not move)
  16. Jeks attends an A.A. meeting

Analysis:

The case could be made that Jekyll is not the protagonist of this piece and that it is in fact Utterson.

Starting with the concept of hamartia, which is a staple of the classic Grecian tragedy:

hamartia: “tragic flaw” OR “missing the mark”

Jekyll’s hamartia is indicated by her addiction. Hamartia is a tragic flaw that all but misses the mark, meaning it is not enough for someone to be addicted. The addiction is indicative of something e.g. so much joy in their lives they have to celebrate everything to the point of excess (Caligula), or needs to keep their mind occupied constantly in order to escape boredom (Sherlock). Therefore, it is not addiction, but what is Jekyll’s harmartia?

Next, her hamartia is literally made manifest onstage in the character of Hyde as performed by Heikenen. In the tradition of Theatre of the Oppressed as founded by Augusto Boal, she acts much like the Cop in the Head, whereby Jekyll’s inner struggles can be made physical or audio-visual for the audience in real time. This is a well-established tradition and a very effective tool for illustrating inner-conflict and oppression. However, there are some issues here.

As stated earlier, Jekyll oppresses Hyde by chants and songs, but sometimes Hyde can manifest. Hyde oppresses Jekyll by:

  • saying mean-spirited things and demoralizing Jekyll
  • moving/putting objects where they don’t belong (physical agency?)
  • switching with Jekyll and ostensibly taking over the “body” they share when Jekyll gets drunk

Finally, her hamartia is based solely on temptation, which means that the only way that it can be explored is by succumbing to it. If that is the case, then the tipping point for the play turns on Carew’s signature being withheld until Jekyll drinks. She must drink in order to have what she wants. But, what does she want? Carew’s signature. Why? So she can keep her job? She doesn’t seem to like it much. Security? Control?

If Carew’s death is the climax of the play, then that means that Jekyll is completely removed from the climax, she’s out of control and it is Hyde’s choice to kill Carew. Therefore, she is not the protagonist.

Some might argue that Hyde and Jekyll are two sides to the same protagonist. The argument could be made then that they are both responsible or to blame for the ending that we see.  If we accept that Jekyll and Hyde are two sides of the same “macro”-character then their hamartia and desires must be aligned in the final dramatic conflict. It is clear they do not want to kill Carew, that was an accident. They both want the signature, right? Do they both want control? Do they both want to be out of control?

If it is the case, then it is very unclear. Jekyll spends so much of her time isolating Hyde and Hyde spends so much of her time acting out that they are more antagonistic to one another than anything. Jekyll acts like an overworked mother and Hyde like a petulant child. Their desires could not be more different where Jekyll wishes for Hyde to vanish and Hyde simply wishes to play.

Utterson

Utterson, on the other hand, is a well-meaning lawyer. He wants to help people no matter what. He is a bleeding heart in a world of cut throats. He feels bad that he abandoned his sick friend and insists everyone take pity on her. When she is in the worst way, he offers to help and goes so far as to tamper with evidence. Utterson is helpful to the point of illegality and pays the price for it. So with regards to hamartia his is helping beyond helpful.

With regards to the climax of the piece, it is him that goes to save Jeks at the end of the piece, him that gets caught, and him that gets incarcerated by his corrupt cop friend. He even calls for help from Jeks at the end of the piece, but she is so distraught that she doesn’t answer the phone. He suffers the greatest loss: that of his freedom.

Jekyll on the other hand is in the same position as she was at the beginning of the play: at odds with her inner demon and responsible for trauma she cannot remember. The only thing that has changed are her outside circumstances, namely that she has murdered someone. It is unclear from the result if she has even lost her job at the end of the piece.

The Point

I am not actually arguing that Jekyll or Hyde should not be the protagonist of the piece, only that from a classical tragic bent, the play feels unfinished and for it to end where it did, the perspective would need to change. There are so many questions left to be asked of the characters and how they reacted that we never get to see. There is much that we do not know and still more that could be done. As someone who has accidentally walked out on the third act of Richard III, thinking the play was over, I have similar feelings after this piece.

Relevance:

Science is rapidly outpacing regulations and law. Hereditary research organizations now have the ability to store, collect, and share DNA samples not only with their patrons, but also with any and all commercial/research institutions that they see fit. For the nightmare version of this, read this editorial written by Joel Winston at Think Progress. Now, it is unlikely that this has actually occurred, in fact, the BBC reported that Ancestry.com denies such abuses occurred and even has updated their terms and conditions to reflect the position that any and all DNA samples/results from the research is the sole ownership of the person donating the sample (source). The point is less that it does happen and more that it could.

The same is true digitally. In an era where online harassment and abuse goes largely under policed and under supervised. Just look at the whopping FBI file that is Gamergate and realize that out of four reported suspects, only three were interviewed, two were interrogated & confessed, and none prosecuted. In an article published only three days ago from the writing of this, an article entitled: After years of GamerGate harassment, Brianna Wu’s still fighting reports that:

As best as I can count, there are 18,000 FBI agents working in the United States and exactly zero of them are tasked with prosecuting these kinds of [harassment] crimes. Danielle Citron, who is the pre-eminent legal scholar in the world on [cyberstalking and online harassment], ran the numbers. It was something like, out of 5 million cases in the last three years, she was able to find 17 cases of people going before a judge because of it.

Control is slipping away from the experts, society is scared of what might come next or what people might be doing with this information.  I would argue that this piece is important for the canon, that these themes need to be addressed and that we are at a primed point in our history to reexamine these ideas. Dr. Heidi Jekyll is, therefore, important given that context.

Conclusion:

The play was well-acted and designed with efficiency and grace. However, ultimately I found the production to be simplistic.

At the end of Jekyll & Hyde the audience are left with a city wracked with the trauma of a scientist pushing past the natural limits of his craft. Their social group is dead or disbanded. None are unaffected by it and the story needs to be buried so that none may attempt it again. The audience is complicit in the action and must not tell a soul. So naturally the story spread like wild-fire.

Conversely, at the end of Dr. Heidi Jekyll the audience are left with a cathartic moment of an A.A. meeting where Jeks suffers a social “death” where she can only unpack her story to them. It is unclear where we are to go from here, but not because there was nothing to be done or Jekyll was caught up in a system of oppression, internal or otherwise. Instead, it was the clearest moment of the play where she can and should have done something. I was deeply frustrated as an audient.

Stepping away from my own ego though, I must adamantly say that people were moved by this piece. The audience swelled to its feet and many tears were shed. People applauded and stayed for half an hour after the show to discuss with the actors their experiences. While I can respond to the play and the performance, I think it is also important to acknowledge the general feel for the event. People loved it. I spoke with someone who had never seen Slipstream theatre before and was a veteran of the stage admire the ferocity of their fans. I am inclined to agree. My suggestion is read the play, buy it, see it if you can, support your local artists and make up your own mind.

Bibliography:

Chicago : National Prtg. & Engr. Co.Modifications by Papa Lima Whiskey – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g08267.

John Singer Sargent – http://www.artrenewal.org/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1714188

“Project Gutenberg.” Project Gutenberg. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2017.

Tim Middleton, Introduction to The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Merry Men and Other Stories, Wordsworth Editions, 1993, pp. 9

 

 

 

 

 

Day 13/21

Today,

I am grateful for…

  1. good ideas
  2. an abundance of good ideas
  3. time to write

2) Ever since I was a kid I have loved Tolkien.

Like really loved Tolkien. My father had his first editions that I have worn down to the spine. He has a 10 year anniversary edition that is absolutely stunning. So the family love of Tolkien runs deep.

Tolkien spent his entire life crafting a single story. That story is remarkable.

Growing up, I always wanted to write. I was, shall we say, dissuaded. I blame a number of things: teachers, friends, family, idols 

Really it was me. I dissuaded me. I led me to think I had a single story in me. One that was not nearly as good as Tolkien’s.

So I worked on it. I crafted the hell out of my  story. I worked so long that I never wrote it. I never wrote anything. Part of it was the fear–the very real fear that if I emptied out that story, I would be hollow. There wouldn’t be another story.

I had a new idea the other day.

It wasn’t the second idea I’ve ever had. Or the third. I’ve had dozens of new ideas. The fear still lives in me: what if that is it? What if I never have a new idea again? What if instead of one it’s a limit of five or six or eight?

So I fight the fear with new ideas. I don’t believe in writer’s block.

D is for Detroit

D is for Detroit. Duh.

Detroit is Detroit. There really aren’t other ways to describe it. Ask anybody outside the city an you get things like: it seems to be coming back OR it’s not as bad as it was. Ask anybody inside the city and the fandom is rampant. Ask anybody who has lived here for any length of time and you get a different story:

Detroit never went anywhere.

That’s the thing I take most away from this city. If you think Detroit is going through a renaissance, you don’t know this city. If you think Detroit is bouncing back, you don’t know it.

Maybe it depends on your point of view:

Now’s the time to visit Detroit, finally on the verge of a real renaissance

For sale: The $100 house

About That Detroit Renaissance

Depending on who you ask:
Detroit is going through a “revitalization” where buildings are bought up, renovated, and made habitable again for new tenants.
OR
Detroit is the city where the black community won the race riots. Detroit is the city where it has continually been punished for winning those riots.
They can both be true, in fact, I think they probably are, but Detroit is a city where the official statistics state it is 88% black population. Can you understand why a city that literally tore itself apart might be upset at a process some call gentrification, which is also a nice way of saying pushing out the current population.
The way it was put to me at a meeting of people of color I was fortunate to be a part of:
There aren’t white saviors for Detroit. There is an invasion happening. Recolonization of Detroit is happening.

B is for Bullshit

B is for Bullshit. Capital Buh-

I wrote a not so good stream of consciousness post not very long ago about this very issue when it comes to the theatre and, in particular, reviews:

Critical Response (Why Everyone Hates Reviews…Fuck ’em)

I thought I said everything in that blog post. But, it just keeps coming up. So let me address something that has been on my mind for a while now: Bullshit.

Bullshit:

usually vulgar

  1. :nonsense; especially:  foolish insolent talk

I’m tired of bullshit in the theatre. Endstop.

What do I mean by bullshit? Let’s do a run down of some of the theatre reviews. Let’s do Detroit (c. 2017)

Detroit:

  1. Slipstream brings zany French farce to Detroit-centric ‘Nain Rouge’
  2. MOT’s ‘Girl of the Golden West’ is gold indeed
  3. Purple Rose tackles marital truths in ‘Vino Veritas’
  4. ‘1984’ feels very 2017 at The Williamston Theatre
  5. Outvisible shines with Mamet’s ‘Oleanna’
  6. World Premiere: ‘Clutter’ at Theatre Nova exposes the pain of no do-overs in marriage
  7. ‘Disgraced’ at The Jet is rough, real and revelatory
  8. UDM’s ‘Avenue Q’ a sharp-edged hoot at The Boll Theatre
  9. Premiere: ‘Capital’ good time at Detroit Rep
  10. Riverbank’s ‘Shrek’ a fairy good time

These are the top 10 newest reviews for Encore Michigan, the region’s only review website.

Full disclosure, I know a lot of these people. I even like a lot of these people, but if the last 10 shows were all unequivocal successes, I’ll eat my shoe.

Nain:

For optimum enjoyment of Nain Rouge, it may be best to surrender one’s sense of disbelief and any strict reliance on plotlines. Farces are meant to be enjoyed, not understood.

Golden West: “gold indeed” it’s in the title, mate.

Vino:

Unfortunately, the staging of this significant reveal feels clunky. Lauren re-enters but stops short, as if to eavesdrop, despite being in Ridley’s and Claire’s line of vision. In this way, logistic questions – like, if the wine makes you tell the truth, wouldn’t Lauren’s presence not affect Phil’s words? – threatened to distract attention from one of the play’s defining moments.

Would you look at that! I’m just about ready to eat my shoes.

But the play sticks the landing, with as satisfying an ending as you could hope for.

…Never mind

1984:

Director Tony Caselli deserves credit for these key shifts in his actors that give this production an intensity and intelligent interpretation. He paints a chilling picture from the very beginning and uses the staging and pacing to communicate the fear that is ever-present in this world. He knows when to build things up to a point of suspense and when to provide the audience with some relief, though don’t expect many laughs during this presentation.

Mamet:

The play flies by in one act at just over an hour. Get to the theatre a few minutes early and you can hit the Dairy Queen just the other side of the parking lot.

Clutter:

The writing here is razor sharp and the acting is more than up to doing it justice.

Disgraced:

The script and this production are is brilliant, taut and razor sharp. The 90 minutes flies by.

Avenue Q:

The cast is truly strong across the board, there is no weak link in either acting or singing.

Good Time:

The Rep’s compact stage doesn’t lend itself to run-around comedy but the cast manages pretty well and some moments are especially choice:

Shrek: Come on! This is Shrek!

There were a few musical moments when the mic balance was not ideal, and there were a couple scene changes that could have been a bit smoother, but that is not what audiences will remember. They may not even leave the theatre raving about the music, which felt incidental to the story in many places. They will, however, be talking about how thoroughly funny this show was, how many times they laughed aloud, how the little details brought the characters to life. There is no better way than humor to teach a wise lesson: don’t ever judge a person on outward appearance.

Fucking SHREK?! Really??

What about New York?

New York:

Aladdin

If a genie had sprung from my teakettle last week and offered to grant me three wishes, I might impulsively have asked to be spared any more children’s musicals. Since a certain blockbuster feline arrived well over a decade ago, Broadway has been lapped by wave after wave of big, often gloppy songfests adapted from animated movies, mostly from the mother ship, Disney.

So the prospect of “Aladdin,” promising another weary night in the presence of a spunky youngster and wisecracking animals, didn’t exactly set my heart racing. But this latest musical adapted from one of Disney’s popular movies, which opened on Thursday night at the New Amsterdam Theater, defied my dour expectations.

The Broadway version of “Aladdin” sticks to the movie’s formula, but also infuses the conventions of the genre with a breezy insouciance that scrubs away some of the material’s bland gloss.

We can’t even speak ill of the Disney babies?!

Amelie

This mild-mannered musical adaptation of the famously divisive 2001 French film is unlikely to inspire similarly passionate responses.

I was like! Yes! Finally! Some serious critical reviews here.

Instead I get:

it is pleasant to look at, easy to listen to and oddly recessive. It neither offends nor enthralls.

WHAT IS THAT?

Now, this is not a call to “bash”. I don’t want people to be torn apart in reviews, far from it. But, vigorous, spirited conversation is what I hope the people want to read and what we want to engage in. If I read “pleasant to look at, easy to listen, and oddly recessive,” I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Let me recommend the reviews for Clutter, Vino, and 1984 in particular. They are quite good reviews. And, to be honest, the New York Times does do good reviews, they can afford to go into much more detail and I know much less about the theatre scene in their area than I do in mine.

Let me recommend Nain Rouge @ Slipstream, Oleanna @ Outvisible, 1984 @ Williamston, & Clutter, oh and Good Times. Those are strong companies with solid work.

My point is this: not everyone is going to produce gold every time. Not if what they are aiming at is art. If we can’t speak truthfully about a theatrical event without letting bullshit get in the way.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Shrek really was a great musical as it is billed to be and as the reviewer seems to think. Who knows? But, if in the damn review it says: 

They may not even leave the theatre raving about the music, which felt incidental to the story in many places.

Then, it wasn’t a very good musical was it?!

Simply say that! I enjoyed it, it was fun because it was funny, not a good musical. Here are some specifics.

People’s trust in main stream media, news sources, and enthusiast press are steadily declining. I don’t think that journalism is any worse than it was. However, I do feel like we dance around the issues at hand when it comes to our enthusiast press simply because we are afraid of something.

Normally I’ve got hope for the end of my blog posts, but today I’m just tuckered. So I’ll leave you with this:

Let’s do better.

 

A is for Acting

Acting. Capital A.

So, I am an actor, I would know.

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I have been doing this for a while. And there is something that I really hate that also starts with an “A”. Academia. OR more specifically actor training in the U.S.

So, to give some history I have been an actor for well over ten years now. Much of that time has been spent in schools. Now, I was very fortunate to work in schools that made sure that I performed and got better at my craft.

boucher-miles

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

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Still nope, although Annie is pretty.

tn-500_hilberry-wayoftheworld3

Perfect. So I have done a lot in my life as an artist. One of the biggest things is get my terminal degree: an M.F.A. And what I learned from getting my M.F.A. is that an M.F.A. is almost never worth it.

The reasons why are the subject of this post.

the reasons

  1. Art is practice
  2. Art is worth paying for
  3. Art is weird

With me so far? It’s okay if you’re not we’ll break them down.

Art is Practice

Acting is not learned from sitting in classrooms. It is learned from working, from practicing in front of a live audience.

The idea of academia is that of master and apprentice, like you can work in front of your peers “safely” and that will teach you the craft.

Well, I worked in another artisan craft: baking.

Professionally. For a time.

My “training” was waking up before 3am to get to work to make the “easy” breakfast items before a crowd of people.

There was no safety net. There was no barrier between me and my customer. The only thing was sometimes my boss or mentor would say,

“don’t worry, I’ll go and explain that we have no_____ today” EXCEPT HE NEVER DID THAT!

You know why? Because we had to make it work. We found ways to make it work.

That is the truth about a master-apprentice program. You are literally working your asses off in order to provide a service because if you don’t, you don’t eat that week. And boy did he let me know it.

But, I was grateful through all of the headaches and all of the times where he flipped out on me.

You wanna know why?

Art is worth paying for

I got paid.

It was as simple as all that. The man paid me. I was a baker’s assistant and working my way up. That was the best thing in the world.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to call yourself an actor when all of your training is done at school? when you are paying your teachers for the privilege of what you are being taught?

It is an inversion of the system. The master pays you for your sub-standard work and because you are indebted to him, you work insanely hard to get better faster. In school, I paid my teachers for their work and I soaked it up at my own pace. Because there was no judge and jury. Because I couldn’t be held responsible.

Some actor training you never see an audience. Why is that? I knew kids who graduated with the same degree as me who were never, not once, cast in a show. They never saw an audience and proceeded out into the wild. Sometimes to teach. Shivers.

Art is weird

 

Art is weird.

It just is man. People use it as a catch all and I hate that, but to deny that at its heart art is about the mystery of the universe would be a foolish blunder.

Art is meant to be about the inexpressible: synthesizing an intangible experience into a tangible one. Allowing space for the audience to transform that experience into emotion, into memory is what artists do.

We create opportunities for emotional synthesis. No wonder we are worth paying, even though nobody wants to.

Bearing that in mind: every single artist training program (that I am aware of) has a set curriculum with natural progression.

This is the worst training for an artist.

Why? Because it does not prepare you for the realities of art. The most powerful and interesting experiences that I had as an artist always always always came from my own natural curiosity. The only lessons about the art came from me seeking out knowledge for myself. That is what professional artistry looks like:

I wonder if I can make food float.

I wonder what it would be like to do a minstrel show, today.

I wonder what this would look like–how that would work–where we could…

Those are interesting questions, worth exploring. Teachers setting down stuff arbitrarily are good exercises. What they found when they did the research was that artists did some of their best work in art school. Why? Because they were given arbitrary rules that invoked creativity in some way.

I acknowledge the truth of that, but think it only strengthens my position: artists learn from other artists by being set difficult tasks where neither know the solution.

So what does that do? It takes the best part of the master-apprentice relationship and puts it into the art school. Great. Then what? Then, nothing. The student never learns to do that for themselves. They almost always learn that that sort of assignment will come from outside of themselves.

I have met artists, consistently I might add, in almost every profession who say:

It took me __ number of years to get over my training.

That horrifies me, but is absolutely true. SO what can we do about it?

Work professionally.

Students: Always accept money for your work. If you have the choice to do something for school or professionally, always work for the money. It teaches students that they are worth it, that their art is worth paying for and it bolsters the program.

Teachers: Continue to work professionally. You should be the contact and the bridge for students to enter the professional world. If you are so far removed from the business of acting that you cannot communicate anything about it to students, then what are you for?

Programs: Don’t box in students by saying they cannot audition for professional work. Pick smaller shows or smaller seasons. The kids are already paying tuition. DO NOT put them in indentured servitude too. That is bullshit.

Create.

Students: Find your own projects. Bring them to your teachers and ask if there is any way that you can do them.

Teachers: Encourage your students to create original or unique works. If they like writing, encourage them to write a show for themselves or their classmates. Do that production as a class project. If they are interested in the classics, encourage them to do something with that, but to also challenge their bias.

Programs: Encourage students to choose the pace of their curriculum. A self-study program is probably the most valuable and the most interesting when it comes to artistry that I have ever encountered. The reason being is that that means that those kids have to actively create their own program and that is the most artistic thing I could think of for school.

Day 8/21

Today,

I am grateful for…

  1. poetry
  2. producing fast, dirty, & cheap
  3. content creators

2) Money. That is what I hear about more than anything else with regards to art. I want to burn it all.

That is what the kids talk about and I hate it. The first thing out of young artists’ mouths is almost always about the budget. It comes out of my colleagues, my peers, my friends, my mentors. I hate it.

Think about ideas, think about your message: Do you need money to tell your story? Would your people have money? What do you need to convey?

The money will follow. Trust that.

I have been producing with almost no budget for years, I’m doing…well I’m not dead and people like my art, so there’s that.

My friend Kira has no budget and doesn’t pay anybody and she is beloved in her market. Shoe-string innovation she calls it. Like Detroit, it is an aesthetic, not poverty.

I write blog posts super fast. I always have, but now I’m consistent. Now, I have a schedule and I try to stick to it. That’s cool. That feels very officious. Some have called it slip shod. Some have called it unpolished.

I don’t mind.

Anyone who produces anything is making ripples. It is better to have made than to wish to produce. So whenever I make a think, it is very important to me. It adds to my body of work. I can look back and say: I made a thing. Look at it. There it is.

I am happy that I have produced as much as I have in my relatively short artistic career. I am happy for the ideas that I continue to produce and the amount of work and goals that I set for myself.

I am happy that I work so hard on so many projects and am fortunate in what I do.

Day 4/21

Today,

I am grateful for…

  1. the fact that I can see the Fisher Building from my bedroom
  2. that the weather is finally turning (wrote it at five a.m. how was I supposed to know it was going to be a shit day? Sue me.)
  3. that my boss likes me and tells me often

3) I never knew how much I needed approval. We used to joke about it: about why I thought everyone was making fun of me all of the damn time.

As it turns out it is one more symptom. Just another example of my brain playing tricks on me and going with a negative as opposed to a positive bias. That’s what this challenge is all about. Retraining that bias and hopefully overcoming it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Point being, I started a new job recently. I  am in a customer service job, something in which I excel.

However, I am constantly afraid I am disappointing people. Therefore, i shut down OR I work harder and disappoint people when I call out sick or quit before my two weeks because they didn’t know I was firing on more cylinders than I had. Not their fault, my fault. But, it isn’t my fault I’m sick. So whose fault is it?

But, now? For now, I have great bosses who let me know on a daily basis how pleased they are that I am with the company, applauding my initiative, paying special attention to my ideas and my work progress.

There are still times when I think they hate me because that is how my illness creeps up on me, but! because they come back so quick with compliments I can usually shrug it off real quick.

So I’m just really, really, really grateful for that.

Busily Scribbled in between Catering and Artivism (OR: Where I was on Inauguration)

So I have feelings. We all do.

This is an original piece written today Jan 20th. was a poem/performance art piece that I wrote the day of Inauguration.

My company was busy hosting a national level event called PTSDetroit or Plant the Seed, Detroit. 

We were calling it a national social justice activist networking event and it was amazing. So many people attended. We were in touch with protests around the city of Detroit, speaking with them, collaborating with them on when they would arrive, when they would be available to attend. It was a beautiful nightmare of logistics.

But, we made it happen.

On the day of Inauguration 2017, I was busy cooking and preparing a meal for something close to two hundred people. I was the only person awake in my house having raced back to the house having only just finished dropping off books for my partner in the hospital.

It was a mad, mad day to begin with.

Then, I watched the Inauguration. I saw the Inaugural Address. One of my roommates walked in on me watching it. It was 16 minutes long. They walked back out and told me not to give him the viewership. Not to give him the attention.

We already had, but I was there for a different reason. I was performing that night at PTSDetroit.

I was performing my piece: This is an original piece written today Jan 20th.  I literally did not know what shape it would take or how it would play. I was scared because my original idea was to use Trump’s Inaugural Address as the cornerstone for the whole piece.

You see, my suspicion is that most people do not watch these events anymore. We see Presidential Debates, which are televised through mediums like The Daily Show, SNL, Last Week Tonight, YouTube, etc. We get it broken down into bite size increments, five minutes, one minutes of click-baitable attention-getting drivel that is specifically crafted for whatever audience is going to click on it: all the hate and radical speech for the liberals, all the economic rhetoric and jingoism for the conservatives.

It just doesn’t make sense anymore. We have access to more information and more tools to spy ad monitor our OWN politicians than ever before. We can watch them in their most private moments. President Trump literally publishes his ideas online every day aloud and we can hold everyone accountable for it. The man said he would sanction hate crimes…be on the lookout.

One way that I know to do that…is to simply watch. Be on the lookout. See the addresses. Go to the meetings. Be present.

If you are confused about politics, about history, about your rights, actually try. Try things and see what gets friction, what gets feedback. You can read your documents. You can and should know your rights. You should explore and flex those muscles.

So that is some of the energy that I poured into this piece.

I wanted people to actually sit and watch something and know that it really happened, which meant that I needed to do it too.

And I tell you what, it was bad, but it was pretty boring. It was the same rhetoric: America first. Trade deals. Strong borders. The biggest change was that he said “We” and that was what everyone picked up on, basically the only thing that anyone complimented him on. Other than that President Drumpf actually managed to alienate his political backers by saying that the era of backwards deal politics was no more.

And then he went to work with these people.

So I watched the entire thing and realized that there was nothing interesting or dramatic about presenting his work. Yet, still I had a performance that night.

So I went to my training and picked up my tome of Shakespeare and started thumbing through some of my favorite dictators and found good old John Cade from Henry VI part 2 Act IV.

In the midst of a civil war amongst the nobles of England, a populist leader rose up and fought the both of them. Now, he is viewed as a buffoon and a liar and a cheat and is rightly condemned by the end of the play, he still manages to nearly overthrow England’s monarchy and establish himself as the lawful ruler.

It is a disturbing concept: the fact that a man can reach for power with noble intentions (to make all men equal under him) can sway popular opinion to him even though he is clearly unqualified.

So I drew from that piece. Completely unaltered. And I started writing the day of and realized that I had a theme to it: It’s true, I swear. Those two ideas. It’s true because I tell you. You believe me because I tell you to believe me.

I lied as blatantly as I could and begged my audience not to question me.

I think I just got tired of the lying and so I put it in front of everyone. I wanted one true thing to be said that day. One true thing to be known that day. I even said in the piece that I am an unoriginal, that much if not all of this piece was stolen, though I did lie about my sources.

I wonder if anyone caught the lie, I wonder if anyone cared. I wonder if anyone actually watched the speech.

There are estimates now that more people attended the protest than people who watched the Inauguration and were there combined. That gives me so much hope. Because that was what PTSDetroit reaffirmed over and over again.

“We are the majority,” one of our audients said.

“We are the majority,” in a world filled with love and support. That did not vanish with the swearing in of Donald J. Trump. That did not vanish with his election or the electoral college. The majority of the U.S. and the world is still moving towards progressive ideals: equality for all, rights over oneself, self-determination, etc.

We have seen the statistics.

To quote the beautiful and radiant Amanda Fucking Palmer,

“We are the media.”

-AFP

It is our job to police ourselves.

In a recent NPR interview with cofounder of the Black Panther Party Bobby Seale with photographer Stephen Shames they said:

I tell the youth today, ever since Rodney King, I says today, you don’t need guns. Let’s use the technology to observe the police. We went out there with law books, tape recorders and guns to defend ourselves, just in case, to observe the police.

We can use the technology available to us today to police ourselves. We can observe, protect, and stand together.

That was the biggest thing that I saw after our small little protest. What was repeated over and over again was, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” Look around you at all of these people who came out together, look at each other and know that each and every one of you supports and loves one another. It is a powerful feeling and one not easily shaken.

Look at the Women’s March on Washington, which is described as one of the largest united protests in U.S. history.

It is surreal to think that we are the majority in this position, but the refrain does not change: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

So stand together, stand with one another, and come together to create something beautiful. It isn’t about fighting or running or doing anything we weren’t doing before.

We were afraid after the election of Donald J. Trump to the highest office and that the nation stood with him in the rhetoric of divisiveness. But, the outcry has consistently been one of togetherness and hope for betterment.

We can do this. Join the Women’s March’s online campaign

10 Actions in 100 Days

& be the human rights leader you always wanted to be.

This is an original piece written today Jan. 20th

This is an original piece written today.
January Twentieth.

I am an Unoriginal by Miles Boucher.
I am an Unoriginal by Miles Boucher.
“I am an Unoriginal by Miles Boucher.”

Everything that follows this statement is mostly true. I swear.
If there is a way to carbon date this you could check.
But, don’t check.
It’s my journal.

It’s all so theatrical now.

(fixes glasses)

The Lights,
The Sounds,
The Churches,
The Politics.

This is a selection from President Elect Donald J. Trump’s Speech.
January Twentieth, Two Thousand Seventeen, Twelve Oh One P.M.
It’s true. I swear.

(turns page)

We John Cade, so tearmed of our supposed Father.

For our enemies shall faile before us, inspired with the spirit of putting down Kings and Princes. Command Silence.

My Father was a Mortimer.
My Mother a Plantagenet.
My wife descended of the Lacies.
Therefore am I of an honorable house.

Valiant I am.
I am able to endure much.
I fear neither sword, nor fire.
Be brave then, for your Captaine is Brave, and Vows Reformation.

(turns page).

There shall be in England seven half penny loaves sold for a penny: the three hooped pot shall have ten hoopes, and I will make it a felony to drink small Beer.

All the Realm shall be in Common, and in Cheapside shall my Palfrey go to grasse: and when I am King, as King I will be.

I thank you good people.

There shall be no money, all shall eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one Livery, that they may agree like Brothers, and worship me, their Lord.

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the Lawyers.

(turns page)

Is not a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent Lambe should be made Parchment, that Parchment being scribbled o’er, should undo a man.

Some say the Bee stings, but I say ’tis the Bee’s wax: for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.

(turns page)

Now, some of you might suspect that I am lying.
And some of you…would be right.
But, I’m no longer sure which are which.
So I googled it.

Inevitably I end up on Youtube.
The Comment Section.
(Oh,) have you heard of it?

In nonsensical order:

“Get off the Stage! Be respectful.
Stop disrespecting.
Give him a chance.
What do you expect?!

Bigot! Racist.
Sexist. Rapist.
Go ahead and die.
You should be raped.
You should die.
Deleted. Deleted.
Deleted.
Deleted.
Deleted.
Deleted
Deleted.

Hitler.”

It’s true. I swear.

(Exit Stage)