Note: Long-term blog readers may remember that after Nathan and I became engaged, he would write guest posts on the blog from time to time. The last “Nathan’s Corner” post was actually my mother’s eulogy, and then the 87 foster children began to arrive. We haven’t heard from him since! He returns tonight to share this bit of news, which you may have seen on the facebook page HERE.
You can ask Emily, and she will tell you that every time I produce some kind of event, I swear that it’s the last time. Usually they involve some crazy expenditure of time, money and sanity, and even when I’m proud of the outcome, it’s a challenge to be able to share with as many people as I’d like. (ex. How many people have seen one of my musicals performed?)
But now, as a recently married man, not only do I have six newly acquired children, but the youngest is in medical crisis that continues to strain both our family and our finances. So, I think: What if I tried to apply some of my creative skills to raising some money to help give us a boost during this challenging time?
Have I ever done a fundraiser before? No. Have I ever made a profit from one of my creative projects? Yes, but I’m still trying to get something in the double digits. But I love this little girl, and I love our family, and if I can do anything to help us along while also spreading a little happiness, then I guess it’s worth trying.
So that is the genesis of Comedy Beats Tragedy: A Fakespearean Feast.
For a long time I’ve fantasized about an annual Shakespeare festival that actually produces the many plays falsely attributed to Shakespeare—in my head it’s called a Fakespeare Festival, and the name just stuck for me.
For my fundraiser, I need to do something much more modest in scale, but it still draws upon that quirky, not-quite-Shakespeare flavor.
The highlight of the evening will be a wonderful play from 1730, titled The Tragedy of Tragedies, or, The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great. It is a hilarious Shakespearean parody (every character dies arbitrarily on the last page, because it’s a tragedy of course), written by Henry Fielding (of Tom Jones fame). I love the printed edition, because it contains extensive footnotes documenting how, supposedly, all the great playwrights up to that point had borrowed liberally from this play.
When I was living in New York, I developed my own, unique edition of this play, which I have presented both there and in Arizona. I edited the script down to 45 minutes, and incorporated into it all kinds of ridiculous audience participation, from sound effects, to kazoo improvisation, to multiple-choice group sing-alongs. There’s even a death scene competition for those who volunteer to read parts in the play.
I’ve had this floating around in my computer for a while, but for this event, I gave my script a final polish, formatted it nicely, and had it printed up and bound, all fancy-like. Now it’s all ready to go and I can move on to the rest of my preparations.
If any of you are available, I do hope you will try to come to the event. Tickets are $40, and they include dinner, games, prizes and the play—not to mention going to support Baby Girl and her ongoing hospital adventures.
The Fakespearean Feast is Thursday, Nov 5 and Saturday, Nov 7 at 6:30 PM. Tickets need to be purchased in advance. If you want to help out but can’t attend, you can also follow that link to make a donation.