Saturday, April 26, 2008

I, the Man in the Moon ...

" is a tale of the man in the moon "

Another of those - sounds familiar.

No way Shakespeare was in this - it was performed by 'the boys' - but, you know what - I'd bet rather a lot he knew it.

That prologue - for what is a 'court performance' - is there in 'The Dream'.

More evidence of Shakespeare's involvement in court affairs? Maybe. And maybe the later play throws light on this play of Lyly, MA: Did the courtiers interrupt the silly prologue - the whole performance in fact? Intriguing.

Also intriguing is this little snippet:

his person -- ah, sweet ... [I.2.60]
person! -- shall he deck with such rich robes as he shall
forget it is his own person; his sharp wit -- ah, wit too sharp,
that hath cut off all my joys! -- shall he use in flattering
of my face and devising sonnets in my favor. The prime
of his youth and pride of his time shall be spent in melan-
choly passions, careless behavior, untamed thoughts, and
unbridled affections.

Is there a better description of so many of Shakespeare's early lovers? I am tempted to say of teenage Shakespeare himself if Sonnet 145 is anything to go by, but will refrain.

Performed around 1588. - Two Gentlemen of Verona has a similar first performance date if the earliest given for it is right. What are the connections?

There is an exploration of 'what is love' - there is man spurning woman - and women's revenge ... there is a wittiness in the dialogue.

But it is more a feel - a lightness and an expectation set up as to what such a play is about.

The business of boys and serving men also strikes a chord.

Apart from the direct links to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', there also seem links to several other plays and characters - Falstaff is here in prototype (Sir Tophas) - but it is the Falstaff of Merry Wives rather than the Henry plays ... and elements of this Falstaff seem to have transmogrified into Pistol, and Armondo (Love's Labours Lost).

More than anything else though is a sense of elegance here - this is a 'court' play.

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