After Hours | Dystopia, Falstaff’s Son, The Old Guard
Rob and Jeremy wonder aloud whether we’re looking at the end of the world — or at least American society as we’ve come to know it. Rob is an eternal pessimist and Jeremy responds out of fear that everything Rob says may be true. We also read a selection from a shared writing project called “Falstaff’s Son,” and chat about Netflix’s action movie, The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron.
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The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig.
Our General Manager is Ashanti Bennett. Jen Pommerenke also assisted with this episode.
This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
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Welcome to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare After Hours where we offer you in depth conversations, insider insights, and a sneak peek behind the scenes. Hello? Hello to you
To all your listeners out there. How’s it going? Okay. How are you doing? Jeremy I’m fine. I’m watching, ’em young people at The at the college where I live and their parents move in. They start class tomorrow. Wow. That’s how you feel about that? I have so many feelings.
I feel like they shouldn’t be doing it. I feel like it’s, it’s a American is trying to get back to normal. I feel like it’s little colleges all over the place trying to stay afloat and I feel sorry for them. And I it’s just a mess. That’s how I feel. Yeah, I understand that. And interestingly, that provides a pretty good segue into our first a point of discussion that we wanted to talk about today on our podcast for this episode, in any way specifically, what is it going to be like if all of this doesn’t work out and we end up in a dystopian hellscape at the end of the road on there yet, as well know, we’re not right now were in the part where we a are still operating under the assumption that things could work out.
I have to say part of what made me interested in talking about this was this was the first week where I must say, I really began to think maybe things will never get to be okay again. And what would that look like if, if things never were okay again, what exactly on what it would have to happen to, to make that transpire? The thing that you are talking about, the, the impulse to get everything back to normal.
I think as at the real root of, of our issue here, I, I have mentioned this in various forms over the course of these over the course of these broadcasts in the past, my, my basic feeling about this is that we have just fundamental. I mean, whatever, I’m not, I’m not especially original in this, but we fundamentally have made a mistake here as Americans and we keep doing it again and again and again.
And it’s this idea that if we just mussel through this sucker, there’ll be some unpleasantness, but eventually we’ll get to the other side and it’s all going to be okay. And we’ll be able to go back to normal again. And I feel as if we just keep not being willing to face the basic reality of this, which is, this is a problem that requires dealing with head-on, which is to say, the virus requires dealing with and will require some painful steps or what have required, because this is the thing that made me worry.
Here’s the thing that made me think we’re, we’re really done because it would have required us to take some steps early on when it was possible to take them. And what I worry about is that the time in which we could effectively have done something about this as perhaps past and maybe irrevocably, so a we can get into that some more, but that’s sort of the thesis of a, this little moment here, this discussion we’ll be having, have we gotten to car?
Is it possible to a, to avoid utter destruction? I think perhaps that, and what will other destruction look like? What, what that means we’ll se there is a, there is a part of me that’s optimistic about this one part of me, a one, a part of that optimism is I think rational. And the other part is
I find myself a drifting into a quasi conspiratorial thinking the, the sliver that gives me hope is that the Mitch McConnell’s of the world have, have joined the mainstream on this with regards to things like mask wearing. And, and that is, that is, that is hopeful to me. And I, I do think there’s a sort of public centering of, of, of like, Hey, they’re, there are actual rational ways to deal with this.
And, and I think it’s related in, in part to going back to school and the like know we actually have to have, we have to do this and this and this, and it feels really weird, but you have to do the temperature checks and this sort of normalization in that kind of stuff. That, that gives me some sort of sliver of hope. The conspiratorial part of my thinking that gives me a little bit of hope is that, that I actually do think there’s a story that we, I was like the deep We the media, the country, the, the, the sort of lasting political powers, big business oligarchs people who actually influenced the way we interact with each other.
It is the story. I think that, that, that set of folks wants to tell is that we will come out of this with a different president at the administration and that this story will begin to change. Once we are confident that there will be a new president in administration. And part of the The unease is the sort of Natural spots, you know, where you are 80 days, 85 days out from an election.
And part of it is like the di the very real possibility that the dystopian future, that we’re all fearing involves not only sort of a virus and, and our failure to respond there, but like the dismantling of our constitution. So like autocracy on top of the, of the virus thing that I think is causing some monies. But I do think the The, there is a way we want to tell this story right now.
And I don’t mean me personally. I think that the Uber We the end, umm, it is a sort of looking for a heroic moment where we sorta get rid of the super villain and overcome the challenge.
Well, sure. And I mean, again, that that’s for the people who feel that way about the president, right? I mean, my, my concern actually is just that though that it perhaps won’t matter. My, my feeling about, you know, perhaps all a matter of Donald Trump, isn’t the president anymore in this administration, then the per current people who hold a level or so power in our government are moved out.
This is the thing that haunts me and why. And, and so let me lay out my theory in the case here, what, what I think and what I have been thinking since the beginning is that, you know, there’s this fairly clear path forward that I know because I’ve seen other countries do it. I have family that lives overseas, a lot of connections to people overseas and people that are watching other countries. There’s a pretty clear pattern that can be followed, hear, which is you shut everything down really hard.
The government, because there is no alternative pays to keep the government and the con the economy shutdown. It gives people money so that they can eat and not get thrown out of their houses. A and after a sufficient amount of time, you reopen with extensive testing and, you know, very careful restrictions on what people can do and, and interact after that.
And, you know, just continue until, you know, w in this very restrictive sort of atmosphere until vaccines or treatments that are effective come to the fore, which theoretically might be happening within the next six months, at least in the first wave of folks, that would be the way forward because nobody else has done it has been effective doing anything else. And in America, we just refuse to do that.
I do lay some of the blame, but a lot of the blind for that at the president’s feet and his party, I haven’t been shy about talking about that before here, probably too much. So, but the point is a, this, this idea that we can just ignore what’s happening, or if we just like buck up and take it on the chin, it will be fine because this is probably not as bad as we all think it is.
And if we wanted to talk about conspiracies, like a conspiracy theories, there is this, you know, a very strong contingent to people in America who believed that the entire thing is been overblown with the express purpose of trying to get the president out of office. And so know that that’s, that’s what we’ve been working under. And, and the problem with that is it speaks to, I think, a, a, an impulse that it exists in all of us.
So, which is to have this sort of happy talk kind of magical thinking approach to things. That’ll probably work out. Things will probably work out. I don’t know how they’ll probably work out, cause they usually do one way or the other. And if you’ve been especially privileged and lucky in your life, that’s an easy position to take problem is. And, you know, I found myself like falling into that.
Its like, well maybe it’ll work out. I don’t know, every step along the way here, whenever we have like set up that proposition. Yeah. Maybe it’ll work out. It hasn’t worked out like the bad thing happened.
Yeah. I, I hear what you’re saying. And, and, and so we’re, that leads me into part is, is that America is, is not set up for a long trauma. We are sort of setup and this is forgive me for, for the dark way I go here, but we’re sort of set up for, for, for short trauma. So I’m thinking back to something like nine 11 or something like that, or a school shooting.
A and I’m not saying we want to be set up for, for that kind of trauma. I’m saying we are set up for it. And there is a, there has been a sort of national ritual that we’ve gotten into. And sometimes it’s a little revenge, like, and sometimes it’s a little justice, like, and sometimes its the thoughts and prayers thing. And, but there was a ritual involved in, in, and sort of addressing it, getting angry about it. If, if you’re one of those people or, or sort of padding the other group of people on the head or whatever that is, there is a they’re, there is something we’ve gotten into about that.
And we don’t have the same thing, the same ritual for this. And that is the problem. It is that it’s like, not everyone, but, but like only people who’ve encountered this kind of long trauma are old. I mean a and I know mean that Old but like you could argue Vietnam is, is as a leader kind of pretty Old yeah. I mean, so Vietnam, it may be the last one that was, that was lengthy like this.
And, and I even argue that, that actually you have to go back farther than that to get something that’s deeper and longer and, and sort of more nationally requiring more sacrifice.
We got to go back to the world war II, honestly. Yeah. Like to find something really comparable and what it comes down to at a certain point is the way that our country is really, you know, I think you’re right, we’re not set up for this. And part of that is because of our Federalists system, in which the power of the executive is supposedly somewhat limited and power isn’t centralized entirely in the federal system that well, or is that it’s distributed throughout the States and the countries that have had a really effective approach to this really did like make some broad rules from the top of it was like, okay, don’t do this to everybody.
And you know, there could be a way to negotiate that with, you know, state power to, but if there had been an attempt to sort of coordinate a response from the top, that probably would have been good. And at times like world war II, you did have strong executives. I mean, obviously FDR is a mess, a controversial figure, you know, between the right and the left in this country.
But he did get us through world war two. And that was by in large part, you know, he did create a very strong executive response to, to that situation and really did call on everybody to draw together and, you know, deal with this like in a unified way. And I, I do place a lot of responsibility on the president’s shoulders for not being a interested in being in charge of a, you know, national response, a in a responsible way where even in a token way, like just not having an interest in that and also instinctively not having an interest in drawing people together, that’s just not his brand.
And I think that in general, he is pretty hostile to the idea of, of national unity. You know, I think he’s much more comfortable with the idea of, you know, focusing in on divisions and, and stoking those because as, as a way to solve problems, this is just not helpful right now. And so my big concern here that we had an a, a moment when we could have maybe had a really strong response, we didn’t Institute any, we didn’t Institute any real testing apparatus are approached to that.
That was going to be effective or testing or tracking a, and the gains, the economic gains that came from that first government intervention have been basically, what’s been propping the economy up so far, that’s run out this next. One’s going to be less than that, whatever it is between like the president’s weird executive decisions that may not even stand because their legality is questionable and whatever Congress does, it is gonna be less. And that is going to be yet.
And by the time the next president comes in to power or Donald Trump’s presidency continues there, isn’t going to be money to do another thing. And that’s when things get real interesting a is what I start to think. It’s like, that’s when people start getting thrown out of their houses, right? That’s when, and, and the schools are an interesting piece of this too. Like we’ve been talking about, everybody goes to school, there’s been this thing. Well, kids can’t necessarily pass it to each other, except that you have all of these like stories that pop up about daycare centers and camps throughout the summer where the whole camps were getting sick and send it back through their parents.
So I’m like, why would this be different? Why would this be different? And so if everybody keeps getting sick and that keeps happening and then maybe the vaccines aren’t as effective as everybody watched the bottom’s going, gonna fall out. And after the bottom falls out, we’re looking at a really different society here. There is this sort of fundamental belief that America is just going to kinda keep chugging on being an America.
And it may be that won’t happen this time. So what is, what’s that look like after that’s done? I’m wondering if like, state’s are going to break up. I’m wondering if like whoever it is that wins the presidency. If a that’s going to lead to actual civil war, actual fighting in the streets, I’m this is all crazy. Listen, I will admit that. Okay. I will admit that is a big flashing letter’s this is crazy.
But the way that I often thought about what could happen during the Trump administration before he ended up becoming president, it turns out I was write about every horrible thing that I thought. So now, just to say it out loud and how to put down a marker, I figured we might as well discuss what could be bad or the worst case scenario. Yeah. The, the, the one,
The one, even though it’s an unhealthy reason, the thing that sort of keeps me from thinking that that’s going to happen is that the business world, which is extraordinarily powerful in this country is not interested in that happening. And so they will fund it not happening.
Yeah. Except I agree. But that isn’t, that is a reasonable thing to think, except, you know, that also was part of my thinking early on in this like, well, surely the business will step up and help us to mitigate the effects of this terrible virus and what have they done. They made a bunch of commercials where they said, you know, thank you for eating our serial. We are with you in this difficult time. And that was it. It was like, we’re here for you. Not in any actual, tangible way, but we are making this commercial with like Gazi images and soft music where we say, we feel your pain, please, please, by our sneakers and a half.
Well, see, and, and, and my theory they’re is that their part of the people who, who are writing the earlier story that they wanted to see happen. Yep. And so it’s, I’m it, when it comes to funding the campaign, when it comes to, to sort of shaping the, the media narrative around the election and the aftermath, I think if, if Biden is elected few days later, there’s a real chance to restart, to hear about all the good news and all of the progress we’re making on, on the virus.
And, and not because necessarily there’s like an, I don’t mean it as a nefarious media conspiracy I’d simply mean it as a, this is the story we want to tell right now, and we need, we, we need to get this guy out so that we can tell this other story about the rebound. And eh, but the other thing I think is that that actually gives me hope. And the other side is, is Donald Trump needs to be a hero.
His people want him to be a hero. And so if he is reelected, that will be the pursuit there. Now he has the problem of not necessarily being terribly, terribly competent. So that is the complicator there. Do you know what I mean? But he wants to that story to be the case. And they is, his camp certainly does to. And so, but that’s where I think I
Take him the election out of the equation as this thing, like, this is all just happening because of the election. Maybe after that he can stop being such a defensive j*****s and actually by saying, okay, well, yeah, now this is actually is happening a lesbian with it. I mean, he has this perverse incentive to keep pretending that it isn’t real just until November. Yeah. And you know, on the other side, they’re all assuming they, that, you know, Democrats have this perverse incentive to pretend that it’s worse than it is just until Biden gets elected.
And then all of a sudden, every the thing that you’re talking about, everything suddenly tarts to turn around that could confirm the unpleasant angry biases. And I just worry, I am of two minds at the same time. One is that things are going to be fine. And it turns out that most Americans actually are more sort of centrally United about what they are looking for, then it would appear. And if Donald Trump is not elected again, I think it would be because it was like, all right, we had enough of the constant war and we’re interested in doing something different from that.
Please like the, the constant conflicts, the constant stoking of Anchor turn out well, turn out, not to have been all that popular at the end of the day. And that will like try to get back onto some road where, or we can all be more rational about things that be nice, but
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No, I think I think about this too. I think about the The what a collapse looks like. And I do think its is tied to some of what you say States breaking off because I’m undergirded by, by the <inaudible>, you know, like the, what the state’s rights sort of position that’s its logical extreme is a right to succession right in. And so I, can I tell me what state in the country actually has written into there?
A constitutional agreement that they’re allowed to do that is Texas has the legal right to succeed, but I wouldn’t imagine that they’d want to
Well, and there is a mentality among some that I think on both sides, there’s a mentality. Like, I don’t know, we could live without whatever X, Y, or Z, you know, the The right. Could live without California and that’d be fine. And, and, you know, the left could live without whatever it is, Georgia. Alabama would be fine. I don’t think George is the right answer there. I, I think Mississippi might be
Sure. Yes, but the fact of it is that, you know, we’re, we’re all much more sort of dependent on each other as States than I think anybody is really willing to acknowledge who were making those arguments. And, and frankly in ways that I think would be galling or are upsetting to people if they like had to really look at him a place. And when I kept thinking about like, you know, if things went really crazy and we really ended up in some weird post-apocalyptic sort of situation where everything collapsed and you know, all of a sudden nobody has, you know, I mean, people are mostly eating.
Still. People are mostly living in houses. And what does it look like if things go nuts that way, and you have a really substantial underclass in America who is not living in normal housing and for whom, you know, their next meal becomes really, really uncertain. Yeah. Now, as opposed to a fairly, a relatively small number of people who are in that position in America now, you know, what happens to things like student loans, what happens to institutions of higher education at all?
You know, this sort of fundamental restructuring also what happens to the Arts?
Well, I, so, well, first of all, I think we’ve, we’ve actually seen a glimpse of what happens because I think, umm, and this is, this is good news as the wrong way to say this, but like we have seen civil unrest, we have seen civil war is, is too strong word, but we have seen sort of civil warfare and I think we’re in, I’m in, we’re just going to see more of that.
And, and one of the, one of the reasons I think we’re going to see more of that is because people have time to pay attention and in ways that they norm there are normal American lives <inaudible> did not, there was not time built into that and now they have time. And so when George Floyd happens, I think if we’re not in COVID and people aren’t in the discomfort of that and don’t have the time to pay attention to it, it does not have the power it has.
Ah, and so I think we’ve gotten a sense of what, what, how its going to break down, you know, they’re, they’re like sections of Seattle like roped themselves off and called themselves sovereign. And I think like that was, that was what, six weeks ago or something like that. And we’ve seen that they dismantled those. And then I, you know, we’ve seen, we’ve seen Portland and I think we’re we’re, I think that’s how it begins. That’s how, that’s how it, it, it breaks out in, in other words.
And I do think, and I do think higher education is, is basically toast anyway and could really ruin things that I think it’s, I think it’s basically toasts as you know, I teach in higher ed and it was apocalyptic feeling walking into class this past week. And it’s, it’s it. I, I feel like I can’t overstate the trauma response that is going to happen in the bodies of every one of those faculty members and students and some of them aren’t coming back for a long, long time if they come back at all.
And, and I think even though the numbers may be OK this fall, I just think there’s, there’s a crack in that system. And the other thing I think is that there are political interests in this company, in this country interested in sort of entirely reshaping higher it anyway, and have been working at it for years. And we’ll take this opportunity to do the, the massive fundamental restructuring that they’ve been after for a long time and many will succeed because, and it’ll go kind of state by state or, or kind of, or whatever government by government, that kind of thing.
I think that’s kind of what we’re looking at.
Well, this is one of these convulsive moments that happened in American history that really creates a line of demarcation where things are going to be different afterwards. And while we’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to know what that looks like. And the biggest, the big question is, you know, is America the idea or the nation, you know, big enough to absorb these events and come out of the other side. So basically being America, you know, there’ve been moments of unrest. Like it’s interesting cause for everything that’s happening in Portland, for instance, it’s still not as violent as say the riots and the 1960s and in the sixties where cities were literally on fire.
Yeah. That really, you know, none of these riots had been as widespread or damaged or are guys the Rodney King riots in 1991, you know, I mean they’re longer, but those were, that was the whole city of Los Angeles downtown was on fire or not downtown, but in certain sections of LA we’re like an, and that’s the thing about this, its, I mean, its, its part of, what’s frustrating about this situation. It really is this like relatively small footprint in wish the damage that’s being inflicted is real, but also not as high of a patient, but you know, but it clearly things are changing right.
Clearly something’s happening. And at the end of it, one can only help that, you know, something livable is still at the end of it. I just hope that there’s not like a major collapse, I guess, which a, you know, how, how much are we going to have to re rewrite America after this is an interesting question. So let’s check in with that. We’ll keep thinking about it.
Periodic a segment here on the show, how close to doomsday are. We now know
That the clock is, I think its at three minutes write now the doomsday clock want to say that it took down, they ticked it down from four is, is, is what I think. I think we’re at three or three minutes to doomsday, but we can, we can make our own. Yeah, I’m going to say it’s I’m going to say it’s about 45 seconds. Alright. Well it sounds like you’re about 15 seconds.
I don’t know. I don’t know. You got to give me at a, at any given moment. I could have a different answer for you. Well, we’ll see. Let’s check in. After in a few weeks on this question, afterschool has a been back nationwide for a little while and people are, or are not getting sick in large numbers. That’s going to be a big Patreon.
We are beginning to see that. Where are we going to see it? It’s like, you know, the, the school that, that we’re the kid posted the crowded hallways in Georgia just had a, an outbreak, a beginning outbreak of nine people in fact.
Okay. And what are the effects of that going to be
To see? And there was a student in Mississippi who died and we’ve seen a principal in Utah dies.
This is the big thing. Like when it becomes, when kids start dying and numbers that are more than just simply an anecdotal, if that happens, that’s when things are going to go really ballistic, like, and we’ll just have to see, I guess anyway, let’s maybe a move on to something potentially a happier than that. You know, talking, we didn’t really talk so much about what the future of the Arts will be in.
Our like potential Dystopia future, but you and I are continuing to behave as if there will be an Arts world after this. And one of the things that we are doing in that vein is a writing a play that we’ve been collaborating on it for a while, talking about on and off for a period of years and have put some stuff to paper. What is that
We had a project is called Falstaff S Son
Falstaff Son essentially I think, well maybe we’ll to the Henry for Henry five saga that posits the existence of ESADE a four Falstaff a Son who in the style of these things actually sort of prequel slash SQL slash cycle is going to contain it, jump out of the various points of time.
It expands on a character. And we already know, in fact, we are identifying the son of Falstaff as a preexisting character from the Canada, who is that character? It’s also the boy off to ask the boy who, and Our imagine storey is actually a little stamps. The boy in addition to being the boy. So we have in fits and starts thrown out chunks of this play or a written piece of it thought that it might be interesting to track the development of it and our ideas about it here on this, this very show and being a Shakespeare related things that we were working on together.
And it also might give us continued motivation to keep at it as well. Keep ourselves honest as we check in on the progress on this thing. So why aren’t we writing this play about Falstaff boy, what’s interesting about that to you.
What’s interesting to me mostly about is, is trying to go back into the Henry for plays and, and Henry five and sort of, sort of lift out this other hidden narrative. And we’ve, we’ve talked a few times about how places like a, a story that is like the backstage to the onstage of those other plays.
So that, that we’re sort of seeing the, like the tops entails of some of those other and it trying to make a different narrative of a through line to some of these minor characters and how they sort of tracked through and its in that way, if it has a, a connection to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead in that, you know, there’s this, this we’re sort of showing the reverse, we’re showing all the conversations and the, the developments of these, of this sort of off stage story that is happening and sort of at times probably giving some new meaning or some, or underlining some things to scenes that may have previously sort of been innocuous in some way.
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, that’s one of the, like everything you’re talking about are some of the real, you know, benefits or interesting aspects of doing a project like this. For me also, in addition to all that, I think that it gives us an opportunity to sort of extend and, and dig into the themes. Well, the relationship between Falstaff and, and Howe in particular, which in the second half of the play, as we discussed, it is something they really want to do and really go back, you know, what a, a really go back and a, and examine a lot of the thematic elements of, of, of Henry, of a Henry, the fifth of pals story that I’m in many ways Our left hanging up at the end of Henry, the fifth, which is fine.
You know, Shakespeare, doesn’t have to, you know, land those things, but there are these tantalizing sort of threads that have not quite been well that that could be continued with that. I think we’d like to try and do in the story as well specifically, you know, what, what, how did Falstaff at the end of the Henri foreplay’s they are complicated mentor relationship and also, you know, Falstaff’s odd sort of, well, not odd, but his, his abuse of his relationship with how his over presumption, a presumptuousness of it also housed rejection and, and betrayal of a mentor.
And there’s interesting father and son a story’s to like seems to continue through, you know, in the long term we want to bring the, and, and when he’s no longer a boy, ah, and Henry together at the end of Henry’s life and have an interesting sort of reversal of the relationship between Henry and Falstaff with the boy and Henry.
And so that’s sort of the broad overview in some ways. Well, we didn’t really discuss in detail, but we can get more granular with that among the things that we’ve written here. We do have the chorus who we have imagined as that same chorus character from Henry five. And in some ways we do have this sort of prologue chorus to open up our play that in certain key respects, echos the chorus from Henry the fifth and also plays on some of the themes that you find in, in these prologue.
It was from Shakespeare his work. We might as well read that right. Go for it. Right. Okay. So it begins seeing one in this change is empty except for a few tables and chairs, chorus middle-aged managers and dresses, the audience. We gather once again to make a world as we have done so many times before here in this place where battles have been thought, vast kingdoms built, great fortunes won and lost, or your amazement with your aid and grace we’ve conjured up a magnificent, this magnificent display’s the breadth and scope of which cannot be measured much less contained inside of Playhouse walls here, monarchs, gods, and heroes all have stood an offered up the sequence of their hearts.
No finger is so powerful or a grand that they might slip are Gay’s in judgment here, but Oh, what muse to call on when our needs are not so great as sometimes they have been when simple chairs and tables will suffice to recreate the very truth of life for East cheap is the setting of are seen a squalid humble quarter of the earth when a Tavern stands switch and its form resembles as closely what you’d look on now. And we can see no Royal persons here, although we might have once in days gone by the only salt to be found is a child whose status is but low and prospect’s lien.
And though he hasn’t name of the most call him boy or a horse ambassador. He is too slow to refill men’s cups where they want for ale. And there’s a hidden truth inside these taunts. He does not know his mother, his a w***e, and who has father is he could not say why tern. We are attention to this youth whose life has little value in the world except to a few who we soon shall meet because the past will not keep in its place.
And small sins blindly done at break of Dawn can grow in strength and stature till they may revisit us are closing of the day. And that’s the opening of our play,
We hope To see how it goes, but that’s our introduction to the boy. And you know, this idea of revisiting our sins done that break of Dawn before the end of the day. That is obviously, well, if it’s not obvious, I’ll say it. That’s in reference to Howe and the things that he’s done early in his life and also Falstaff did earlier in his life and how those come back or it could come back on us later on and also playing with the metaphor of the braking of the day, the Son that how memorably compares himself to hiding behind the clouds.
And then at the end of the day, when the sun is going down, having to reckon with what’s to come before. So that’s the project that we’ve set before us. Those of you who are interested can actually find a, a piece of this play that we’ve a, another seen that we’ve written where they live to find that Jeremy
So they can look at the very first episode of our podcast, the, the, the whole podcast Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours I think we published it. I want to say back in April, we had a reading of this seen from Falstaff Son several of our Sweet Tea Shakespeare actors here in North Carolina at a coffee shop. So we have a lovely recording of that with our very own Aaron alderman reading for a Falstaff and I’m actually, I play, I played a little character in that little one.
Yeah, Guard Alyssa. We would enjoy your feedback on that and this, and we’re going to keep on checking in. As we make progress throughout, you are giving you updates on this again, way to keep us honest way to keep us on task. And a, if I, through the various, you know, forms of communication available to us and you, they want to set us on how to ask us questions, tell us how much you hate, or like the things that we’re doing.
We’ll take a look at, and then we might even respond to him. You tell us you hate it then. Well, we’ll maybe not respond well, real angry, right?
Right. You into the play, the sprays I’ve met the boy and Falstaff coming across a horrible monster, a setting on this side of the road, spitting at people and they beat them about the head and neck with a break. There’ll be all a scene about that maybe, or maybe not. We’ll see. Anyway, your feedback is welcome and appreciated. Appreciate it. A and we’ll be coming back to this.
Let’s stop in again a little later. Any other thoughts before we move on? Jeremy none, but I’m glad for people coming through this honest, and that’s what I will say.
Yeah. If you enjoy the work of Sweet Tea Shakespeare, you can find us all over the socials. We’re on Facebook. We have a special secret Facebook community group that we’d love for you to join. We’re also on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, you name it. We’re on it. So join us, click in, gave us a, like, leave us a review and we look forward to connecting with you in all of those places. If you’d like to contact us, please email [email protected] That’s H O U R [email protected]
Or our final topic of discussion on this day, what are we talking about? We’re talking about Netflix is his, is The Old Guard yeah, that’s right. During this time of covered in which we all have relatively few options for entertainment and whatnot, streaming services are, are friends. And this is a movie that does come out relatively recently, a rancher. Tell us about that. Jeremy so The, Old Guard stars, a Shirley’s they on and in the lead, it is a, a story about immortal people, a group of them who, some of whom have been around, basically since the Dawn of civilization.
That’s the sense a very, very long time. And there’s a group that, of them that, that are sort of operating and they are hired by governments and interests to solve unsolvable problems because they can go in like a special ops team. Ah, and if they’re killed, they will resurrect and, and it, it gives them special access, special powers in terms of solving these problems in their, their basically mercenaries and do it for money.
And it lands on this team at a very interesting time, where on a new immortal is, is born essentially while on one of their team is perhaps losing immortality. And it looks at that transition. Yeah. Right. I’m in world that is,
You know, drawn for us here. These figures who are all in their regular lives before they found out they were a mortal, they were all soldiers. That’s what they all have in common with each other. And then in the course of their work at soldiers com to find out that they can’t be while that they can be killed, but that they will come back to live again and be healed for of their wounds and a come back to life. And there this little army of soldiers that works together and has for at least a few thousand years, the Charlise Theron’s character.
Who’s the main character in this group, the leader of the group, she is this isn’t really a spoiler. As I said, fairly early in the film is an <inaudible> who those of us who are familiar with Our the Greek mythology will recognize as a figure from the Greek mythology. From a, I believe the Elliot she’s a Hector’s wife. If that’s not, if I’m not mistaken about that.
And a was a warrior, there’s lots of mythological stories about her throughout the ages and the positive that she continued on. And sorta from there and a master this group of, and mortals who don’t live forever, there are a mortal up until the moment when a, at one point they just stopped peeling it, they died a and as you said, Jeremy, that happens to one of them early on of this story is just a new person is, or they seem to have watched their mortality just as a new person is how many with a group.
I think this has an interesting movie for a couple of reasons. And it it’s, it’s, it’s pretty good for Netflix. I don’t know if it would have been great as a theatrical feature that it does feel a little bit like I’m watching, like you’re watching the pilot have a TV series, like a two part, like a two hour TV pilot in many respects, a and in a way that kind of it is because they are, are going to be making SQLs.
That’s been announced, the a movie’s are based on a comic book series by Greg Rucka, who also wrote the, wrote the screenplay for this. And the movie certainly ends with a big cliffhanger tent teasing the next part of the story, but it’s well made and its interesting, but it’s also interesting if this moment, I think for like it’s politics and some of what it says about the world in some ways, and I would like to talk about that for a second.
Let’s do okay. Well specifically it places a great deal of a, it takes us as a given day, at least in this first part of the story, that violent action on the part of warriors’ is a good for society. Or it can be that a, there is such a thing as righteous, violent conflict.
And you know, it’s not just that immortality happens to a flight, certain people in this story that we’ve met, all of these people are warriors, all they were soldiers and what they do professionally. There is this question about whether, what they do that, that hangs over the story like Charlotte is there in his character is disillusioned at the beginning of This asking the question of what they’re doing has any benefits or positive effects.
But I think by the end of it, it comes down pretty hard on the side of yes. In fact, yes. And that there is a righteous purpose too, to violet action. I’ll be it subverted in interesting ways. But at this particular moment in America, they swear we’re having this big public conversation about the value of militarized in violent responses and violent power of the state does an interesting cultural peace to sort of throw it into that discussion.
Do you have any faster than any of that?
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t think I’d framed this in that way, but what you’re saying reminds me of the, this sort of debate at the time about 24 a and the umm, the veneration in sorta a hero making of The sort of torture for us a sort of CIA spa thing. This does a in a, in a bit of a different way, like a black Hawk down a kinda kind of take and returns that, you know, centers that as part of the conversation, right?
Yeah. Well its interesting. Yeah, because aesthetically in essence this as a superhero story, I that when you look at the, the trade, the trade stories about this that were running, when it was announced, everyone said, Oh, a new superhero take based on this comic book, but aesthetically, it, it really is not a superhero film, but they take and they really work to make it aesthetically look much more in keeping with black Hawk down and, and military stuff a and, and emphasizing that so that if you associate it with superhero as on Mmm, I think that’s a secondary sort of thought.
And the only reason a person would do it right out of the gate is because it is a M it is from a comic book in it clearly as a riff on the idea of superheroes. And what’s interesting also about these people is aside from the fact that they hate it from their wounds and don’t dye, they don’t have any super powers other than on their experience and their training as soldiers, they can’t fly, they don’t have super strength, but you know, the, the core members of the group for instance, have all been fighting as soldiers for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
So the real good at it. And they’re also willing to throw themselves into harm’s way with the understanding that they’re going to be sort of reconstructive and come back together again. I think it’s interesting to that they don’t know work for a given time or a certain company you like early on. And there’s this question as to why are you guys good guys or bad guys and said, it depends on the century that we’re talking about this idea of being that in certain cases we are on the outs with society’s goals or not.
And any in this way, I think it does sort of grapple at the edges with the question that I was asking. And I think that is something that as the franchise moves forward, they may grapple with more directly. But these questions of how heroic is it to be engaged in this sort of work is part of why I feel like this feels like a pilot. They like pose those questions, but they don’t really answer them. And the, in this one and their hints, there are reasons to think that they may engage more directly with some of those questions and the later sort of episodes of this again, franchise, which I, that I understand The they have planned to make multiple films for Netflix on this, but I know a what, again, you know, it’s interesting, like the question of can there be, is the use of force or a good thing or, and maybe the answer is yes, but not if it’s a government doing it.
I don’t know that all seem kind of interesting to me. Were there other aspects of this film or its quality that you found worthy of discussion? I agree with you that its it’s well-made
I actually had some disappointment at the combat and the action mostly because I’ve seen what Netflix can do in other ways I’m thinking back to like Daredevil and that being the gold standard. And this is not that. And its really, I mean there are some action scenes in here that are, that are okay.
The choreography is not bad, it’s competent and but yeah, it’s not shot super well either par like the Daredevil comparisons is interesting because the hallway fight as such an audacious piece of action choreography and also camera, you know, choreography as well. Like the interplay between that is really exciting. And this has a somewhat work on like a approach to the shooting, which, you know, the action’s authentic looking and Shirley is there.
And you know, oddly given at the beginning of a career has really developed into a very credible action figure that all comes across we’re out here
Or the other thing I’m a, so I thought as I was watching this movie basically knowing nothing, I, you know, reading a little bit about it, but I thought we were getting into the, into a vampire world and a, and we didn’t, and that was, that was pretty a, a refreshing and its a different kind of mythos and, and, and it’s, it’s it’s, it feels to me pretty authentic and a and new in that regard, it’s a, it’s a different kind of creature.
I’m phasing a different, a different kind of problems that is not this immortality, but it’s not solved by a vampire or solutions. So a a that was, this is pretty interesting to me as is the, the whole notion of this particular hero, their or their strength. It really is a kind of physical vulnerability. I mean, when you say being thrown into harm’s way, that’s the that’s the game is that I will throw myself of a high rise, two get, and then, then I’ll be fine and we’ll, you know, we’ll move right along.
And, and so that’s pretty interesting because it makes the danger and to go back to the action thing as part of the, the, the, the thing, right? The action loses a lot of bite. When you have characters that, you know, early on in the movie can’t die. Of course it purchases some of that back when it introduces the possibility that this condition is a mortality, a condition can wear off in the introduces. Some of that back later in the story.
Yeah. I mean, one of the you’re right about that, I think there’s two that they sorta combat that one is they’re is something they do. I think at times find fun or occasionally visually interesting ways of seeing how a person is getting put back together after having been, you know, hurt very badly. And there is something sort of interesting and kind of fun about that. It, it, at certain moments, I mean, it’s kind of the same thing that they did with Wolverine and the X men movies for many years.
And so given that that’s not an entirely new concept, I do give them some points for, at certain moments of the film actually coming up with versions of that, that are kind of interesting are fresh or new, but one of the ideas, again, it’s not, I think its something they could dig into more explicitly if they wanted to, but yes, there is this idea that, you know, they’ll be okay, but there is a cumulative trauma to hurting yourself over and over again that you see waiting on certain of those characters, you know, a for instance like the kid, like both Sharley STERRADs character and her sort of main companion and the group of immortals or a character Booker who is, was a French soldier fighting for a Napoleon, you know, they carry a real world wariness to them that feels very authentic and also seems to, you know, show what the cumulative effect of being so engaged in violence is what’s interest and add to having had violence inflicted on you.
So, so often for so long, you know, and one of the other things too, is this idea of like the comradery of the others taking care of each other after the trauma of getting hurt is something that you see in this, which is kind of interesting as well. You know, again, I keep coming back though to this question of like righteous uses of violence. And one of the questions that, you know, there is this new, again, this new character who has just found out she’s a mortal she’s in American Marine.
And one of the things she’s really struggling with through most of the film is the question of whether she wants to align herself with these people and be one of them. And one of her stated reasons for not wanting to at one point is being really put off by the ease with which they kill people. And you know, this thing it’s like, I don’t like that. And I don’t like that. It seems easy to you and I don’t want it to be something that I am numbed to sew. It is that interesting that her big hero moment is the decision to embrace violence and embrace the inflicting of death on people, which she goes on to do in the final confrontation on a massive scale, you know, blowing people’s heads off, you know, in large numbers at the end of this ad, there is something a little unsettling about that is it is just an interesting, it’s interesting, you know, this is clearly making a strong statement that, you know, the use of, of, of violent power is a bold, moral and necessary in certain situations.
And I’ll be curious to see if they continue to sort of grapple with the implications of that over the course of this thing, whatever it ends up or however many of these that they make it, they never make movies again. If the world does a man assuming that the Dystopia doesn’t swallow us all up, Paul, maybe they’ll have to do a podcast versions of it or