Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Last Call: Love's Labor's Lost at Old Globe

A comeuppance for the imagined heirs of all eternity

The men are scarcely aware of how the tables have turned in Love's Labor's Lost.
The men are scarcely aware of how the tables have turned in Love's Labor's Lost.

One of the year’s better productions must close this Sunday. Even with the play’s disturbing, though fully justified, un-comic ending, the Old Globe’s Love’s Labor’s Lost is a keeper.

Love's Labor's Lost

Two things:

1) People watch the rampant misogyny in The Taming of the Shrew and wish Shakespeare wrote a sequel where women put men in their place. But he did: Love’s Labor’s Lost. Scholars date both around 1593, so the connection may have been more evident at the time.

In Taming, Petruchio woos Kate with draconian tactics: sleep and food deprivation, mental tricks. In the end, accepting the reigning belief of the day, she subordinates her will to Petruchio and obeys St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians: “wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands...for the husband is the head of the wife.” Whether Petruchio’s “tamed” depends on individual productions.

Good luck, Kate.

Love’s Labor’s Lost turns the tables. Four of Navarre’s most eligible males, including young King Ferdinand, want to abandon the world for three years and become, as it were, the anti-Petruchio: wall themselves in, like monks, and study so rigorously they’ll become the intellectual “heirs of all eternity.”

This means, among other Shrew-like deprivations, taming their sexuality by renouncing all contact with women.

But guys book-learning without life experiences is like sunshine on water: it never gets wet. And, ancient Heraclitus would hasten to add, “much learning doth not make wise.”

Enter the princess of France on a diplomatic mission. The four males are so full of themselves they think they can woo the French contingent with highfalutin poeticizing. Boys will be boys. Oh, are they in for a comeuppance!

2) Shakespeare was lucky. He lived in an age when language expanded. The Renaissance opened up new areas of knowledge. Ships returning from far-off places brought new customs, ideas, and terminology. Science, separating from religion, grew apace, as did philosophy and rhetoric. So much was new that an Elizabethan complained, “there are more things than there are words to express them by.”

The result was the “language explosion” of the Renaissance. Poets coined words and phrases, creating new worlds with words akin to the New Worlds abroad (one wonders what they would think of today’s shrinking vocabularies).

In Love’s Labor’s Lost, Shakespeare delights in this expressive freedom. The play’s a feast of words, laced with sonnets and a new kind of verbal music. But the linguistic explosion had a downside: a new word could mean anything, or nothing. Much of the comedy comes from those who misuse words, like Holofernes, the pedant scholar who may not even make sense to himself; or Armado, the over-the-top, braggadocio stylist. Also, the four males of Navarre, who assume the French ladies will swoon over airy nothings. Little do these gents know, the princess and her retinue are among the most astute literary critics in Shakespeare.

Playing through September 18

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Next Article

Three poems for August by Dorothy Parker

With an acidic wit and keen eye for flawed humanity
The men are scarcely aware of how the tables have turned in Love's Labor's Lost.
The men are scarcely aware of how the tables have turned in Love's Labor's Lost.

One of the year’s better productions must close this Sunday. Even with the play’s disturbing, though fully justified, un-comic ending, the Old Globe’s Love’s Labor’s Lost is a keeper.

Love's Labor's Lost

Two things:

1) People watch the rampant misogyny in The Taming of the Shrew and wish Shakespeare wrote a sequel where women put men in their place. But he did: Love’s Labor’s Lost. Scholars date both around 1593, so the connection may have been more evident at the time.

In Taming, Petruchio woos Kate with draconian tactics: sleep and food deprivation, mental tricks. In the end, accepting the reigning belief of the day, she subordinates her will to Petruchio and obeys St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians: “wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands...for the husband is the head of the wife.” Whether Petruchio’s “tamed” depends on individual productions.

Good luck, Kate.

Love’s Labor’s Lost turns the tables. Four of Navarre’s most eligible males, including young King Ferdinand, want to abandon the world for three years and become, as it were, the anti-Petruchio: wall themselves in, like monks, and study so rigorously they’ll become the intellectual “heirs of all eternity.”

This means, among other Shrew-like deprivations, taming their sexuality by renouncing all contact with women.

But guys book-learning without life experiences is like sunshine on water: it never gets wet. And, ancient Heraclitus would hasten to add, “much learning doth not make wise.”

Enter the princess of France on a diplomatic mission. The four males are so full of themselves they think they can woo the French contingent with highfalutin poeticizing. Boys will be boys. Oh, are they in for a comeuppance!

2) Shakespeare was lucky. He lived in an age when language expanded. The Renaissance opened up new areas of knowledge. Ships returning from far-off places brought new customs, ideas, and terminology. Science, separating from religion, grew apace, as did philosophy and rhetoric. So much was new that an Elizabethan complained, “there are more things than there are words to express them by.”

The result was the “language explosion” of the Renaissance. Poets coined words and phrases, creating new worlds with words akin to the New Worlds abroad (one wonders what they would think of today’s shrinking vocabularies).

In Love’s Labor’s Lost, Shakespeare delights in this expressive freedom. The play’s a feast of words, laced with sonnets and a new kind of verbal music. But the linguistic explosion had a downside: a new word could mean anything, or nothing. Much of the comedy comes from those who misuse words, like Holofernes, the pedant scholar who may not even make sense to himself; or Armado, the over-the-top, braggadocio stylist. Also, the four males of Navarre, who assume the French ladies will swoon over airy nothings. Little do these gents know, the princess and her retinue are among the most astute literary critics in Shakespeare.

Playing through September 18

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Nicholas Wiseman: a great influence on John Henry Newman

Also known as author of Fabiola, a novel
Next Article

Black Lives Matter offshoot chooses street outside Police Headquarters for street mural

Placing the BLAME
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close