Every year on the anniversary of the Bard’s day of birth, the Salem Theater Company (STC) holds a Shakespeare Open Mic at Gulu Gulu Café in Salem. When I first heard of this just a few weeks ago, I thought, okay I could probably do some of my comedy there. But it wasn’t until a few hours before the event that I realized that it was only going to be Shakespeare. We could read or act out passages and sonnets.
At first, I was just going to let the night go to waste, but I had gone to so much trouble to be able to go to this event, even going so far as to swap a shift with another cart jockey. Also every sign, every horoscope and tarot card, told me that this would be a great idea. So screw it, I went and I ordered a really nice coffee and I participated.
The STC was kind enough to provide copies of the plays so we could read our favorite passage. The only passage out of Shakespeare I ever really memorized in high school was one of Macbeth’s monologues. The emcee had us all write our names on a flash card, along with the character and the passage we’d be reading.
“I will be doing Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow” speech and seeing if I can remember it as well as I did in high school, while trying not to make it seem as though I haven’t learned anything since then.”
I’m not sure if it was the extra “gotta run my mouth” in the flash card, but the emcee had me go up first after the introductory reading. Of course the guy who did the intro read a passage out of Hamlet and he was so sexy when he did it that I felt both underdressed and unprofessional. If you’re wondering why I titled this blog post The Shakespeare Code, it’s because the guy was a dead ringer for Dean Lennox Kelly in the so named Season 3 Doctor Who episode.
But oh well, I went up. And I bent the rules a bit and snuck in a small story about my high school experience in Theater arts.
“Back in high school I had this hardcore Theater Arts teacher who told us not to say the “M” word off stage. That word was.. money. The guy just hated sell outs. Now I’m going to read a scene from Macbeth.”
The joke didn’t get the house rolling, but I heard a few chuckles and I got a couple compliments. It would have been cooler if I hadn’t been struggling with the book that contained the speech. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to handle one of those tomes that rival Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in terms of sheer mass, but I kept having to reference it and it probably didn’t help. But the point is I continued my recently acquired streak of actually following through with a plan and I had a good time in the process.