Watch the Bard Week – Much Ado About Nothing

We love our local Montford Park Players. They put on Shakespeare in the park every weekend from May through September. Jason Williams’ marvelous production of The Merchant of Venice just ended its four week run and this weekend starts Ken Knight’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, which he is presenting as an 80s John Hughes movie. If you are ever in Asheville, you would be remiss if you did not attend.

Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing (2013) – Rated PG-13

“A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.”

One Line Review: Enjoyable but for fans of the Whedonverse or Shakespeare only.

We also caught Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing in its short run. We found it quite enjoyable but a little on the slight side. He did a wonderful job with a twelve-day shoot in his backyard. The black and white cinematography is excellent.

It was really nice to see Whedon’s supporting players Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker get starring roles and I found them delightful. Clark Gregg was wonderful as Leonato. Strangely the biggest name in the cast, Nathan Fillion, severely underplayed the role of Dogberry. Our local actor Matt Tavener did a better job on Montford’s last go around of Much Ado.

I am making this week – Watch the Bard, with several tempting offerings on instant Netflix.


Montford Park Players – FREE Shakespeare All Summer


Well you guys put up with my monthly plugs of the FREE shows at the Carolina, so let me plug another FREE set of shows in Asheville. The Montford Park Players put on an entire wonderful summer of FREE Shakespeare Plays outdoors at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater.

Rain(Waiting in the rain for play to start)
Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and most Sundays. Donations are solicited at intermission but it is very low-key and you don’t need to donate if you don’t feel like it. Bring a picnic lunch with a bottle of wine or buy snacks and drinks while there. They often have The Chocolate Lab selling there as well as a hot dog vendor.

This year’s schedule of FREE plays:

May 31st to June 22nd – The Tempest

June 28th to July 20th – The Merchant of Venice

July 26th to August 17th – Love’s Labour’s Lost

August 23rd to September 14th – Hamlet


Valentine’s Day – I Love My Mummy!

I love my wife dearly. We never do much on Valentine’s Day and when we do, it is often low-key or unconventional. We loathe the ridiculous crowds and jacked-up prices of the holiday. One disastrous Valentine’s Day (when we were much poorer), I took her to Taco Bell and then to see Resident Evil. That was where I first learned that my wife is terrified of zombies.

This year, I hired one of The Montford Park Players to go to her work and read her one of Shakespeare’s sonnets (#116 if you must know – the one about Love being constant). My wife made me a book of “100 Memories & Things I Love About You” – she bound it herself and included a crisp dollar bill in between each page.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Tonight we are going to the Thursday Night Horror Show at The Carolina. Ken is playing a double feature of Universal’s The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse. I wonder if it will be crowded for Valentine’s Day or empty – either way we will enjoy ourselves.

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

“An Egyptian high priest travels to America to reclaim the bodies of ancient Egyptian princess Ananka and her living guardian mummy Kharis. Learning that Ananka’s spirit has been reincarnated into another body, he kidnaps a young woman of Egyptian descent with a mysterious resemblance to the princess. However, the high priest’s greedy desires cause him to lose control of the mummy..”.

The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

“An irrigation project in the rural bayous of Louisiana unearths Kharis the living mummy (Lon Chaney Jr.), who was buried in quicksand 25 years earlier. “

My Weekends with the Immortal Bard

I like Shakespeare and always have since my mother took me to see Hamlet oh so many years ago. I find his themes to be intricate and his wordsmithery (okay maybe that is not a word but it should be) fabulous. I never cared much for his comedies but enjoyed his tragedies and the few histories I had seen. My wife never cared much for Shakespeare and thought him to be the most overrated playwright ever. Both of our opinions lasted until a few years ago.

Now we both adore the Bard. Every weekend we go to see FREE Shakespeare in Montford Park in Asheville. Yes this is a plug for The Montford Park Players. Every summer they put on FREE Shakespeare plays at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre in Asheville. They run every weekend all summer and each play runs four weeks.

This year the first play was a double feature of Double Falsehood and Comedy of Errors. It was brilliantly staged by director Jason Williams and choreographer Kristi DeVille as a Bollywood musical. Currently we are two weeks into director Scott Keel”s adaptation of All”s Well that Ends Well. He has adapted this as though it were a Jane Austen novel. The acting, costuming, sets, and music are all superb.

The above picture is where I play the drum in the enemy ambush scene from All”s Well (two audience members are chosen at random to help with the drumming in that scene). My wife and I enjoyed the play so much that we went to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings performances. If you ever go – bring a picnic dinner and something to drink (alcohol is permitted).

This leads of course to my theme of the week which is Shakespeare on Instant Netflix.