This play is an ... interesting one. Basically, I (Hirsch) asked one of my apprentices (Rose) about doing some research into period plays. She came up with this and a few others, but I felt (silly me) that since people had heard of this one (references all over the place, including the popular British TV Show, Black Adder -- "Aren't you the regular Roister Doister, eh?" or something like that), that we'd do it.
The original script was for a play that would've taken about 4 and a half hours to produce (going to the theatre in the late Middle Ages was literally an all-day event). This is the SCA (heck, it's modern people -- short attention spans!). We cut it back to 2. Tricky, but doable. The problem was that Nicolas Udall, while being a contemporary of Shakespeare, didn't have the knack for doing rhyming couplets that Shakespeare had. Instead, he butchered the language to get his rhymes. It was pretty awful.
We (myself and the cast) spent way too much time trying to figure out what the actors were trying to say. The epithet "The English Play" was given by the actors -- it's not meant as a compliment, and the actors wince everytime someone refers to the play by its original title (they wince when you mention "The English Play", too, but they don't run screaming out of the room ...).
The audience seemed to like it, despite all the problems we had with it. However, I think we all discovered why the play has seldom been performed over the last 400 years, and I can state with all the certainty in the world that if I were inclined to repeat any of our past productions, this one would never be considered (I think my actors would quit first, among other things) ...
Incidents: Well, between the actors not really liking the show in the first place, and losing about 10 minutes of dialog accidentally, while the whole cast left the stage at a point when there was definitely supposed to be action, well ...
We still did ok, however ... I've watched the video several times, and it's really not as bad as the actors think, but I do agree that we'll never do it again. <Grin> This is where I discovered just how loyal the actors were -- they came back for the next one ...
Photos: We have photographs by Hal Ravn at the West Kingdom History web site: Ralph Roister Doister Photos.
Videos: Videos are available online (as well as
the DVD below...):
DVD: Available, contact Hirsch for details (probably $5-10, just to cover the cost of the discs, the case, etc. and any postage would need to be tacked on).
The Script: Ralph Roister Doister (PDF)
(Note: this is the version of the script we actually performed from. The original is much longer ... we left the endnotes in, as well ...)
|Mathew Merrygreek||Charles Ravenstone (Bonefinder)|
|Ralph Roister Doister||Juan Santiago|
|Margery Mumblecrust||Anne of Ockham|
|Tibet Talkapace||Original Nightshade|
|Annot Alyface||Joanna Melissa Ronsivalle|
|Christian Custance||Rose de Le Mans|
|Tom Truepenney||Wulfric of Creigull|
|Scrivener||Kælle of the Broken Tower|
|Sim Suresby||Seamus Padraig O Baiogheallain mi Narach|
|Tristam Trusty||Kælle of the Broken Tower|
|Gawyn Goodluck||Tarik ibn Jamal bani Batanji|
|Water Bearer||Margrethe Astrid Ravn|
From The Program:
The back of the program had the following little bit of silliness: