Last week, we published a post suggesting you played The Porter’s Scene in Macbeth ((Let’s Play Macbeth, A2S3: The Porter’s Scene).. One of the reasons we suggested this scene, is because it’s really quite difficult to get the dark humour of the Porter to come out – but if you do, it’s really very funny.
Cam Culham offered some good advice on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/playersshakespeare/). He is currently playing the porter and said in his comment: ‘We re trying to make him a bit more caustic conjurer than clown…I find letting lines speak for themselves gives me ample business.’ This seems more than sensible to me – The Porter is not a clown, and his humour is very dark, and the real way is to ‘let the lines speak for themselves.’
He also made another comment: ‘[It’s a] treat to be playing porter in rep with Holofernes from LLL…another fool!!’. This reminded me of one of Holofernes’ key scenes in Love’s Labour’s Lost – A4S2. Holofernes is a schoolmaster – a pedant – and hence a fool. He is at home with Latin and classical allusions in a way which separates him from ordinary folk of his time (e.g. Constable Dull), in a similar way to modern day Shakespeare pedants might be isolated from modern life.
So, playing him in A4S2 can be a challenge, but enormously funny if you can pull it off. We’re in the mood for challenges just now, so that’s your challenge for this week – to play Holfernes in A4S2 of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
We’ve set up a “Let’s Play” for that scene which you can find below. The three characters in the scene are:
- Player 1: Holofernes (a scholarly pedant)
- Player 2: Natahnial ( a curate, and a friend and admirer of Holofernes)
- Player 3: Constable Dull (a policeman whose name speaks for itself)
You need three of you to play this scene, and it might be fun to play the scene three times, rotating the characters amongst the players, because the length and interest of the characters varies considerably. All the players’ parts are in Highlight Text mode. Unless you have another two players with you, we suggest you only play the scene down to the entry of Jaquenetta and the Clown.
If you find it difficult to make the scene work humorously, you’ve got two options:
- Go and see (or ask) Cam Callam how to play the scene)
- Watch the BBC Shakespeare production with John Wells playing Holofernes brilliantly.
See our Review of the BBC Shakespeare Love’s Lsbour’s Lost.