Hello Folgerites and Folgerians! My name is Zack Fine and I will be your waiter…I mean your blogger. Thanks for clicking on me. I’m single and looking for a deep connection…oh wait, it’s not that type of blog. Or is it? Maybe. I’ve never really online-dated, but this might just be our chance to experience a little romance! You see, I’m heading your way this spring with Fiasco Theater Company’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona playing one of the two gents named Valentine, and Love will be coming along for the ride…so, as Al Green likes to say, ‘let’s get it on’…or to brutally mix my references even more with the O’Jays classic ‘join hands, get on the love train’ cuz it’s pulling into the Folger Theatre from April 17 – May 25th! Ok, so that was kinda corny, but love makes us do all sorts of things we don’t understand (like this silly transition).
Seriously though, I don’t know about you, but I am ready to say goodbye to this long, cold ‘winter of our discontent’ and put a spring back in my step. Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona is such a great way to usher in the spring and the blossoms that are about ready to bloom in D.C.
For the past few weeks Fiasco has been falling in love with “Two Gents.” We started rehearsing two weeks ago and have discovered that this play has a potency we didn’t expect. As we’ve joked in rehearsal at times, the plot of “Two Gents” is ‘embarrassingly simple’ and doesn’t really hold up to many of Shakespeare’s great dramas or his most developed comedies. That’s not really the case that it’s ‘embarrassingly simple,’ but it is in fact a simpler set of circumstances than some of the other plays. Perhaps for this reason it’s been overlooked by scholars and audiences as not ranking up there with comedy classics like Twelfth Night or As You Like It. But what it lacks in plot twists and turns it makes up for in depth and profundity. At the heart of this story of two friends who fall for the same girl, is an exploration of love in all it’s varied guises. The “Two Gents” plot is simple, but its themes take us on an inward journey that never touches bottom. There is no limit to the ways in which love can transform us, and what I love about the story so much is that we get to learn about that transformation and metamorphosis through different perspectives: romance, friendship, servant and master, parent and child and even the love that develops between a man and his dog. I think that what we come to understand at the end of it all is that love indeed links us together and helps us transcend our aloneness. We become larger through loving, we make space within and we discover more without. It is a journey that moves us in two directions simultaneously, and thus grows us far beyond what we imagined possible.
Over the next 2 months I will be blogging here on this Folger Theatre Production Blog, sharing photos and videos about this inward and outward journey. I hope to hear back from you so that we can start a discussion about this gem of a play. So please feel free to ask your questions or post your comments here. To converse about the show is something that really excites me. It reminds me that this is a living, breathing process that will evolve each night with the audience and my fellow performers. It’s a relationship, and it brings us together for a few hours each evening, with the hopes that we indeed fall in love with each other a little bit and in the process, our hearts grow bigger. It’s unpredictable and vulnerable, but I am going to do my best to show up with an open heart. Maybe we will arrive at a different place from where we began each night and at the end of it all, as Valentine says, “hear the story of your loves discovered, that done our day of marriage shall be yours. One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.” So thanks for reading and I am so excited to meet you.