The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses

This is the very last one! Celebrate a long and fruitful dramatic career by pouring yourself a glass of sack at home, and reading along in your friend and mine – William Gifford. And stop calling me, Shirley.

#ShirleyMarathon – The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses

Tweets from a reading of ‘The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 03/07/2015

  1. and finally, “The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses” #shirleymarathon
  2. Last event of the #shirleymarathon: The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses for the Armor of Achilles. Sounds cool.
  3. “Mighty man of gingerbread!” #noms #donteatme Ajax and Ulysses is the next one #shirleymarathon
  4. And now I’m a sleepy sort of Cyclops *rubs eye and yawns* #shirleymarathon
  5. The American pronunciation you-LISS-ees is the scansion for this masque, folks. #shirleymarathon #ContentionBetweenAjaxAndUlysses
  6. @_Helen_Osborne yes, but I’m afraid Ajax may take it badly, and become a danger to sheep #shirleymarathon
  7. Ajax: “he’ll talk eternally” – yes, just him, not you. #shirleymarathon
  8. A final song – (This was afterwards sung in parts, the Musick excellently composed by Mr. Ed. Coleman) #shirleymarathon
  9. Made it for the final, final little bit of The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re almost done #shirleymarathon
  10. Joys are abortive, or not born to last, / And our bright days are quickly overcast. #Finis #shirleymarathon
  11. Well, that worked out nicely. A beautiful recorded piece of 17th-c music and MWiggins as Agamemnon end the #shirleymarathon. #ChampagnePop
  12. “Joys are abortive, or not born to last, and our bright days are quickly overcast” #shirleymarathon #andsoitends
  13. “Joys are abortive, or not born to last / And our bright days are quickly overcast” FINIS #shirleymarathon

Cupid and Death

Cupid and Death is not the end, but very near. Read along with us in Gifford!

#ShirleyMarathon – Cupid and Death

Tweets from a reading of ‘Cupid and Death’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 03/07/2015

  1. These masques are giving us a fine finale of @JoeDramaTurg ‘s musical talents #shirleymarathon
  2. “To make you acquainted with this Canniball.” #shirleymarathon
  3. Despair: “I have broke my spectacles, and both my hips are out of joint” – like the time. #shirleymarathon
  4. (enter Chamberlain leading two apes): “My dear apes do not leave me!” #shirleymarathon
  5. (Enter a Satyr, that strikes him on the shoulder, and takes away his Apes) – hate when that happens! #shirleymarathon
  6. After mentioning monkeys in many plays, Shirley finally gets to PUT APES ON STAGE!!! #CupidAndDeath #shirleymarathon

The Triumph of Beauty

Read along with us in Gifford!


#ShirleyMarathon – The Triumph of Beauty

Tweets from a reading of ‘The Triumph of Beauty’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 03/07/2015

  1. And, of course, my work on James Shirley! With respects to the winding-it-up #shirleymarathon team!

    And, of course, my work on James Shirley! With respects to the winding-it-up #shirleymarathon team!
  2. “Is it a he or a she dragon” – “No matter which” – “What do you think of my wife?” #shirleymarathon
  3. The goddesses make their pitches at length – haven’t we learnt from #FIFA that it’s easier just to bribe the judges ? #shirleymarathon
  4. “and be sure to carry a good wind in your poop” #shirleymarathon with The Triumph of Beauty. #shipjoke #myfave
  5. “a thousand nymphs fairer than ever thy eye gazed upon” ah, here come the bribes! #shirleymarathon

Honoria & Mammon

I don’t currently have dates for these four last post-closure plays, though hopefully Martin Wiggins will. Read along with us in Gifford!

#ShirleyMarathon – Honoria & Mammon

Tweets from a reading of ‘Honoria & Mammon’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 03/07/2015

  1. #shirleymarathon @ShakesInstitute -10.30: Honoria & Mammon, The Triumph of Beauty, 2.30: Cupid & Death, The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses
  2. Final day of the #shirleymarathon starting with Honoria & Mammon!
  3. MW visits the future today – it’s all very timey wimey #shirleymarathon
  4. And this morning I’ll be playing Captain Squanderbag. #shirleymarathon
  5. Shirley became a school master again- and wrote plays for them (certainly our short plays later) – in private! #shirleymarathon
  6. “Learning is dangerous in our Family, She won’t keep a Secretary for fear of the infection” #shirleymarathon
  7. “some prodigious volume in praise of hunger, and immortal beggary” #shirleymarathon
  8. “Did the ladies sleep well ?” – “Yes, and their monkeys madam” #shirleymarathon
  9. This morning Honoria and Mammon. Monkeys have already been mentioned! #shirleymarathon
  10. “Thou hast cut off my sword hand; this is foul play, I cannot hold my tool now.” #awkward #thatescalatedquickly #shirleymarathon
  11. #HonoriaAndMammon is a fun masque-like thing…. Lots of very witty dialogue. #shirleymarathon
  12. Now that I know Alamode means “with ice cream” in the U.S. I find it difficult to take this character seriously #shirleymarathon
  13. “A taffata-satin-plush-embroydered-lac’d-scarlet-tissue-cloath-a-bodkin devil” #hyphen #shirleymarathon
  14. Col. Will you not aske your life?
    Ala. No ’tis not worth it.
  15. @JoeDramaTurg – To as many persecutions, as the devil or Dutch men had invented at Amboyna #shirleymarathon
  16. #shirleymarathon Enjoy your end of marathon & rewards at the end. Sorry I shan’t be able to join you. Long live Sharkido (if only in minds).
  17. #shirleymarathon “The payment of your ten pound surfeits….” Clearly a reference to our celebratory luncheon after this morning’s reading.
  18. “What heaps of words some men have got together to signifie nothing ?” #linguistics #shirleymarathon
  19. Excellent impro poetic singing here today by MW, founder of this particular Shirley feast! #shirleymarathon #goodthingwererecordingthis
  20. Note to Shirley: Going on for some time (in language or in action) and then it’s “only a test,” it gets a bit annoying…. #shirleymarathon
  21. A widdow Sir That has more money than all your profession
    Has got, since the dissolution of the Abbeys. #shirleymarathon #shardlake
  22. “Sir, you shall have revenge, revenge, the joy of flesh and blood.” #shirleymarathon
  23. “Excellent pidgeons! admirable Spiders! ha!” #shirleymarathon
  24. “Excellent Pidgeons! admirable Spiders! ha,
    ha, ha.” #shirleymarathon
  25. It’s a veritable zoo in here today. Now we just need some elephants. #Shirleymarathon
  26. Pity these Gentlemen should want Civil VVar, They take such pains, and pay so heartily #shirleymarathon #toosoon
  27. “a most magnificent Colledge,
    To entertain men of most eminent wit,
    To invent new Religions.” 1642 #shirleymarathon #HonoriaAndMammon
  28. “Or I have cannibals that will devour him” – the woman who has everything. #shirleymarathon
  29. Phantasme has just vanished into thin air – the clue was in the name, I suppose – but this late on, it was still a suprise #shirleymarathon
  30. Stop calling weapons “tools”, Shirley, it’s very distracting! #shirleymarathon #tools
  31. And…. toward the end of the play, lots of loooooooong speeches in protracted dialogue…. #shirleymarathon #HonoriaAndMammon
  32. “And for you, sir, your name is Squanderbag, what would you do with Mammon ?” #shirleymarathon

The Court Secret (1642)

Shirley’s last play for the professional London theatre – production sadly derailed by the little matter of the Civil War, making it strictly reading-only until the Restoration. Experience something of the same frustration by reading along in Gifford!

#ShirleyMarathon – The Court Secret (1642)

Tweets from a reading of ‘The Court Secret’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 02/07/2015

  1. Looking forward to Skyping in for my last (?) play in the #shirleymarathon, the much-delayed ‘The Court Secret’!
  2. “The Court Secret” – The closure of the London theatres on 2nd September 1642, was sudden and unexpected #shirleymarathon
  3. MWiggins _Drama and the Transfer of Power in Renaissance England_ tells the story of the closure of the theatres, re: #shirleymarathon
  4. #TheCourtSecret (and the history of the manuscript) has quite a bit to say about the closing of the theatres…. #shirleymarathon
  5. ‘Where is the King?’ ‘In his Bed chamber, Sir, With Duke Mendoza.’ ‘I’ll not intterrupt ’em.’ – is this the #CourtSecret? #shirleymarathon
  6. ‘Flame me no flame, unless you mean to turn our family/And name to ashes’ #shirleymarathon
  7. I’m pretty sure I know what #TheCourtSecret will be… There is a page called “Celio” and a lady gone missing. #shirleymarathon
  8. ‘The sea was my Exchequer; for I thriv’d,/I thank my watry Destinies’ Today MW is a badass pirate who can kill with fear. #shirleymarathon
  9. “I know the devil’s excellent at the hug” #shirleymarathon
  10. ‘I wo’not trust you for all this; I know/The Devill’s excellent at the hug’ #shirleymarathon
  11. ‘Maria,/Though sacred in her person, was to me/No more enflaming than a peece of Alabaster’ I dunno, alabaster can be hot #shirleymarathon
  12. “I will keep this hand Both a white pledge, and prisoner, till your eye Or welcome accent doe redeem it from me” #shirleymarathon
  13. I’m going to have to abdicate! Apologies to all my court and subjects #shirleymarathon
  14. “No hurt I hope?” – “The Prince’s feather discomposed, or so.” – the perils of swordfighting. #shirleymarathon
  15. “I should not much repent to carry, Madam, your kiss to Manuel, but I fear, I should forget who sent it.” #shirleymarathon
  16. “Why should we murmur to be circumscribed, as it were a new thing to wear fetters” – Denmark’s a prison, apparently #shirleymarathon
  17. “But persons of your quality shift not so much air without noise.” #shirleymarathon
  18. “I durst not mention Pedro at all, for fear the king had skill in cabala” #shirleymarathon
  19. “My offer, with your leave, to dedicate my life to prayer, and virgin thoughts…” Being a nun is cool right!? #maria #shirleymarathon
  20. “Oh sir, I am – I am — in love – now tis out!” “That all?” “All !” #shirleymarathon
  21. “‘Tis strange none should attend him but his Page.” I’m very fond of my page… #shirleymarathon
  22. If you have strength to hear a truth
    So sad, he has been wounded.
    Ex. Ladies. In a stampede of farthingales #shirleymarathon
  23. I’m not dead yet. This offstage shilly-shallying is so undignified. #shirleymarathon
  24. I can’t hear the word ‘orifice’ without thinking of Rowan Atkinson’s schoolmaster sketch. #shirleymarathon
  25. I thought I was keeping it all straight until we broke for a glass of wine…. #shirleymarathon #TheCourtSecret
  26. “he cannot, He sha’not live to cross me.” I really think I shall. #shirleymarathon
  27. “I was that pirate sir, that stole your son …. ” #shirleymarathon
  28. @notrockyhorror Sorry we lost you there, King Richard O. The #shirleymarathon had a good thing going with Skype for a bit there….

The Sisters (1642)

Read along with us in Gifford!

#ShirleyMarathon – The Sisters (1642)

Tweets from a reading of ‘The Sisters’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 02/07/2015

  1. #shirleymarathon @ShakesInstitute – afternoon & evening sessions today – 2.30: The Sisters, 7.00: The Court Secret – come and read !
  2. And now, “The Sisters” – 1642 – The King has left London and won’t be back for a while #shirleymarathon
  3. Parliament is resisting calls to close the theatres #shirleymarathon
  4. “Our poet thinks the whole Town is not well … I hear say, London is gone to York” #shirleymarathon
  5. what company “To Shakespeare comes, whose mirth did once beguile dull hours, and buskind, made even sorrow smile”? #shirleymarathon
  6. “let stars do what they please /Mercury is a stronger thief than Hercules” a classically educated king of thieves #shirleymarathon
  7. We had The Brothers yesterday, so now it’s time for The Sisters, as @JoeDramaTurg points out 🙂 #shirleymarathon
  8. “she’s my neece and I am sorry for it” – Eeyore-ish Antonio #shirleymarathon
  9. now, if he could just find someone to marry the difficult sister, he could have the younger one … #shrew ? #shirleymarathon
  10. “Let me have Musick,
    This talk has made me Melancholy.” Perhaps a cue for music between acts? #shirleymarathon #thesisters
  11. “The t’other Pox upon thee, and farewell” #shirleymarathon
  12. “May a man trust thee?” Well, if you have to ask… #shirleymarathon
  13. How liked she the picture of Leander swimming the Hellespont upon his back? #shirleymarathon #gettinghotinhere
  14. Piperollo has perfectly understood the complexities of astrology #shirleymarathon
  15. Ask thieves for a receipt for money they received. Nice! #shirleymarathon #thesisters
  16. “And tell your self without a perspective what man is coming towards us” yet more #optics #shirleymarathon
  17. “MY Neece has had a pretty warm night on’t….” Lots of references to hot weather in the #shirleymarathon lately….
  18. “Have you your princely wits about you?” I feel this question should be asked more often… #shirleymarathon #windsor #kejserhenrik
  19. @MaloneSociety the ‘princely wits’ phrase appears in Duchess of Malfi – anywhere else? #shirleymarathon

The Cardinal (1641)

Read along with us in Gifford!

#ShirleyMarathon – The Cardinal (1641)

Tweets from a reading of ‘The Cardinal’ at the Shakespeare Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, 01/07/2015

  1. And now “The Cardinal”, with a huge turnout #shirleymarathon
  2. Play postponed by plague, as the political situation of 1641 gets into ‘deeper and deeper shit’, says MWiggins. #shirleymarathon
  3. ‘I guess the ceremonies will be loud, and publick.’ Much like those cars outside the window! #shirleymarathon
  4. “This sadness might become your other habit, and ceremonious black for him that perished.” #shirleymarathon
  5. ‘I pray excuse a little melancholy’ @_erinsullivan_‘s ears pricking up, I expect? #shirleymarathon
  6. Description of my character: “A rough-hewn man, and may shew well at distance…” #thanks for the casting @adambcqx #shirleymarathon
  7. @notrockyhorror “I dare make my self a loser….” HA! Put this in a buzz feed, mate. #ShirleyMarathon
  8. @notrockyhorror to @_Helen_Osborne “Tis not a name that makes our separation” – no, it’s skype. #shirleymarathon
  9. ‘Misery .. that I could shift into/A meaner blood, or find some art to purge/That part which makes my veins unequall’ #shirleymarathon
  10. The Cardinal becomes more sinister every time his title is ominously mentioned without us learning anything new about him. #shirleymarathon
  11. #ShirleyMarathon Okay, so the guy from Texas is cast as the guy that pulls out a pistol as a moment’s notice. #TheCardinal #Columbo
  12. ‘Common trick of State,/The little great man marries, travells then/Till both grow up; and dies when he should do/The feat’ #shirleymarathon
  13. Why has @JoeDramaTurg just threatened to shoot me – all I did was deliver a letter #shirleymarathon
  14. The King I must obey;/But let the purple Gownman place his engins/I’th’ dark that wounds me.’ What does this mean?! Scary. #shirleymarathon
  15. ‘Strange arts and windings in the world, most dark,/And subtill progresses’ @JoseAPerezDiez You’d know, Cardinal! #shirleymarathon
  16. “You turn the wrong end of the perspective upon your crimes, to drive then to a far” #optics #shirleymarathon
  17. ‘You turn the wrong end of the perspective/Upon your crimes’ @_Helen_Osborne‘s great speech tearing strips off The Cardinal #shirleymarathon
  18. ‘How vast are your corruptions and abuse/Of the Kings ear? at which you hang a pendent,/Not to adorn, but ulcerate’ #shirleymarathon
  19. ‘Pox ont’, are these breeches good enough for a Prince too? Pedro playes
    but a Lord, and he has two laces more in a seam.’ #shirleymarathon
  20. And the reply:’You must consider Pedro is a foolish Lord, he may wear what lace he please.’ Some v slapdash amateur players #shirleymarathon
  21. ‘Have I broken my sleep to study fifteen lines for an Ambassador, and after that a Constable, and is it come to this?’ #shirleymarathon
  22. ‘I’l rather have no head/Than owe it to his Charity.’ This headless backstage banter is becoming all too real #shirleymarathon
  23. ‘Her Chamber’s but a Coffin of a larger/Volume, wherein she walks so like a Ghost…’ Typecasting @_Helen_Osborne? #shirleymarathon
  24. “While barbarous Columbo grinning stood, and mock’d the weeping wounds” #niceguy #shirleymarathon
  25. “…which needs no perspective to reach, nor art of any optic to make greater…” more #optics #shirleymarathon
  26. ‘But ther’s/Another ey that looks abroad and walks/In search of reason, and the weight of things’ More optics & subterfuge #shirleymarathon
  27. ‘How would this cozening Statesman bribe my Faith/With flatteries to think him innocent?’ How wouldn’t he? #shirleymarathon
  28. ‘Does not that sin benum/Thy Arteries, and turn the guilty flowings,/To trembling gelly in thy veins?’ Fight! Fight! #shirleymarathon
  29. Columbo and Hernando have just killed each other’s seconds – is that good duelling etiquette? #shirleymarathon
  30. She is not capable to feel my anger
    Which like to unregarded thunder spent
    In woods and lightning aimd at senseless trees.. #shirleymarathon
  31. “I’le rifle first her darling chastity, twil be after time enough to poyson her” #shirleymarathon
  32. ‘A pretty book of flesh& blood, and well/Bound up, in a fair letter too; would I/Had her with all the Errata.’ Bibliophilia #shirleymarathon
  33. ‘If he fell into/A net, what wonder would the simple Sea-guls/Have, to draw up the o’rgrown Lobster,/So ready boild?’ #shirleymarathon
  34. “I have the picture of my Lord abed / Three are too much this weather.” – but in other weather ? #shirleymarathon
  35. ‘He will but sup, he shan’t stay to ly wi’me,/I have the picture of my Lord abed,/Three are to much this weather’ #HeatWave #shirleymarathon
  36. Thy Dutchess is
    Almost a Ghost already and doth wear
    Her body like a useless upper garment,
    The trim and fashion of it lost
  37. If at this distance I distinguish, tis not church music, and the air’s wanton #song #shirleymarathon
  38. “How came you by that cloven foot?” – great question to a Cardinal ! #shirleymarathon
  39. like a cool soft gale
    Fan my poor sweating soul; that wanders through
    Unhabitable climes, and parched deserts…. #shirleymarathon #heatwave
  40. ‘Oh shew your charity,/And with your pardon like a cool soft gale/Fan my poor sweating soul’ #HeatWave #shirleymarathon
  41. “Strange he should have a good thing in such readyness”! #shirleymarathon
  42. “None have more need of perspectives than Kings” #optics #shirleymarathon
  43. Extremely banterous pre-Restoration Restoration-style epilogue, undercutting the tragedy. Which was quite a good one! #ShirleyMarathon