Monday, April 18, 2011

The Weight of the Title

Youngblood’s latest show has a very long title, but just how long is it?

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Youngblod Theatre Company recently announced its next play—a two-person show by Mickle Maher featuring the devil and Dr. John Fausts (played by Michael Cotey and Rich Gillard.) As there’s no opening date and, as of yet, no venue for the show (set to open some time in late May or early June) the most striking thing about the play so far other than the concept itself is the length of the name. Precisely how long is it? Let’s put it in perspective.

A Very Short Title:

Margaret Edison’s Wit, which in recent memory saw a deeply moving production with Soulstice Theatre, is probably the shortest title I can think of . . . one word—three leters.

An Eight Word Title:

Okay, so it’s not really that long, but Tristan Tzara’s The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine--Fire Extinguisher is one that I’ve always wanted to see staged for no good reason, so I guess it’s worth mentioning the Dadaist play here.

A Slightly Longer Twelve Word Title:

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf--Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem had kind of a long title that caught they eye, but it wasn’t decadently long when compared with others . . .

An Absurdly Long Fifteen Word Title fo an absurdist play:

Arthur Kopit’s Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad is an absurdist play by the guy who wrote Road to Nirvana in the early ‘90’s.

An Equally Absurdly Long Sixteen Words Title for a very serious play

I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady From Rwanda--Sonja Linden’s political drama is actually taken from a quote.The intensity of the drama is more than enough to keep the title from seeming too absurd.

Youngblood's Next Play Twenty words

Finally, there’s the title of Youngblood’s new show—a show penned by the mind behind Spirits To Enforce, which debuted last year with Youngblood. Here goes: An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening. That’s twenty words with author and basic information, that’s already over one tenth of the 250 words I have for a preview on the show . . .inany case, it’s one that I’m looking forward to. Cotey and Gillard are both really talented actors. Seeing them play Faustus and the Devil should be a lot of fun. . . .

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