Sunday, May 21, 2006

THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN

"New plays and maidenheads are near akin:
Much followed both, for both much money giv'n
If they stand sound and well. And a good play,
Whose modest scenes blush on his marriage day
That after holy tie and first night's stir
Yet still is modesty, and still retains
More of the maid to sight than husband's pains."

What made Sunday extraordinary, in addition to the splendid simile with which TTNK begins, was that The Swan was packed - for a 3 o'clock matinee. The Canterbury Tales company preceded the rehearsed reading of TTNK with The Knight's Tale, on which the Shakespeare/Fletcher play is based, and there was a discussion of the two versions afterwards. You could argue that this was Shakespeare for anoraks, or completists [in the latter's ranks I proudly stand], but it turned out to be immensely enjoyable.
Will it matter if it's not performed for another twenty years? Probably not. But I was there.

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