'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Tuesday, March 12, 2002 ]

Buck just sent this out. I'm putting it here for a group of reasons:

1. So that people involved with Blitzkrieg without email can read it.
2. As another chapter in the Blitzkrieg thing.
3. To deflect that I haven't put part two of my Blitzkrieg diary up yet even though I said I'd do it last weekend.
4. Because Buck really sums up why Blitzkrieg is such a cool deal.

At any rate, here's what Buck wrote:

First off, the now-traditional St. Crispin's Day speech (though Doug Reed unsuccessfully lobbied for Mr. Ashcroft's stirring rendition of "Let the Eagles Soar" as a substitute):

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

-- William Shakespeare, "Henry V"
Act IV, Scene 3, lines 45-72

This is going out to all the people who participated in both weekends of "Blitzkrieg 3-D!" (or at least, all the ones whose e-mails I have). That's a total of 66 actors (it came out exactly even, 33 per weekend), 19 writers, 14 directors (5 of whom also wrote or acted), and 17 assorted crew members, plus me standing back and giddily watching it all happen, for a total of 117 Blitzkrieg personnel (okay, maybe 110 counting for duplication) over the two weekends. Hard to believe that this circus keeps getting bigger every year, and yet we continue to pull it off with brilliant, amazing results.

I want to thank each and every one of you for helping make this wonderful, crazy thing happen. It's always a win-win kind of situation for me, because (a) I get to work with lots of great people I may never have worked with otherwise; (b) I get to introduce my Mercury/Strollers/MTG friends to my Broom Street friends and vice versa; (c) Mercury Players makes a little money AND gets to meet lots of people who can then come back and star in (or do tech for) future Mercury productions; and most important of all, (d) we put on one heck of a show, and everyone (hopefully) has a blast doing it.

What is it about this crazy thing that I love so much? I'm going to get all theoretical and philosophical for a minute, so bear with me. For one thing, the Blitz brings back the best of what I love about improv - that magical feeling of conjuring something completely new out of thin air, with the help and support of an enthusiastic audience who is rooting for you all the way.

But it's more than just improv; the Blitz also contains my favorite facet of the rehearsal process for a regular play: that wonderful time at the beginning of rehearsals when the material is still brand-new to the actors and the directors, when nothing has had time to get tired or routine, and when the script is full of limitless possibilities to be joyously played with and explored. The actors playing out the Blitzkrieg plays are only a few hours behind the audience in terms of how fresh and new the script is, and the audience definitely senses that freshness, and responds.

And it's not just the artistic stuff that I value in Blitzkrieg - it's the people, working their butts off, putting personal issues aside, and getting this thing done with a maximum of effort in minimal time. It's Theatre Concentrate, with all the artistic fervor of a four-week rehearsal process condensed into 10 hours or so, and with no time to indulgte in psychodramas among the cast (unless, as with Jodi Cohen's play, the script is actually ABOUT psychodrama). As Rob Matsushita put it, it is the creative equivalent of sprinting - but it's also something akin to an Amish barn-raising, with everyone joining together with joy and energy to create something strong and beautiful, all in a day.

Anyway, I've gushed enough. Just let me say, thank you to everyone for doing this thing with me, four times in two years now. You all did a marvelous job, and I hope you all had a wonderful time - or, failing that, that you'll at least be able to look back on it and laugh one of these days. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of Blitzkrieg, to gather all of you into one place and to watch everything come together (seemingly despite all odds) and turn into something beautiful, every time. You are all amazing, wonderful, talented, dedicated, golden human beings and I love you all terribly much.

Now let's do it again soon!

Love, Buck

Misty just emailed me, mentioning how cool it would be to have something like this in her area.

My advice to everyone is to create one.

Get involved with a local group, start your own, man, just do it!

Because you only regret the things you don't do.

Now, click here for a rainforest solution that's both insane and yet all-too-sane.

(by the way, don't forget to sound off on your best Joel Gersmann story below)

posted by Rob on 10:01 AM | link



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