Saturday, August 06, 2011

All's Well, The Short Form

Over dinner last night my daughter asked what Shakespeare Mommy and I are going to see.  All's Well That Ends Well.   "What's it about?"

Here's where it gets tricky, because I've never seen and barely read this one.  I've done some quick research here and elsewhere, but it's hardly one that I know well.

So here's the summary my kids got over homemade pizza out on the deck, extemporaneously:

All's Well That Ends Well is the story of this orphan girl who lives with the Countess - she's kind of like a queen.  Now, this girl loves Bertram, the prince, but he's all "Oh, no, you're just a common girl, I couldn't possibly marry someone who wasn't of noble blood."

Well the king gets sick, and because this commoner girl's father was a doctor (before he died), she knows how to make the king better.  The king says "I'll grant whatever wish you want!" and she says, "I want to marry Bertram!"

Well, Bertram is having none of this, he still doesn't want to marry her.  He tells her, "See this ring on my finger?  If you can get my ring on *your* finger, then I'll marry you."  And he promptly takes off and joins the army.

Well, the Countess thinks that this girl (can you tell, I couldn't remember her name at the time I was telling this? ;) ) should marry Bertram, so they hatch a plan.  They get this other princess on their side, and tell her what Bertram said about the ring.  So this princess, who has no interest in Bertram, talks all lovey to him and gets him to fall in love with her instead.  "Here," he says, "Take my ring as a token of my love."

That's exactly what they wanted to happen.  So the princess goes back to the girl and says, "Here's the ring!"

So then she shows it to Bertram and says, "Aha!  Got your ring.  Now you have to marry me."  And Bertram says, "Ok, fair enough, that was the deal, I'll marry you."

It's not your standard fairy tale, but they got a kick out of it. :)


Ian Thal said...

When I went last week, there were a few teenage girls sitting nearby who were clearly shocked at the ribald language and story line.

Duane said...

The bed trick is fairly obvious -- Bertram approaches Diana, who blindfolds him (kinky!) before he is led off by Helena. Pretty obvious what was going to happen there.

I'm curious what language the teens picked up on (unless you were being facetious). I know that it was pretty obvious what Parolles was talking about in his "withered pear" speech at the beginning, and it's pretty pornographic if you're paying attention (it looks ill and eats dryly? Eww.)

Ian Thal said...

Not being remotely facetious. The exchange between Parolles and Helena on virginity, in which the withered pear was mentioned, was sufficient to make the girls (who had clearly been brought by parents from whom they were keeping their distance) uncomfortable.

Yes it was pornographic, but that's what sold tickets in Shakespeare's time!