Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Dear Will Kemp,

Someone got here recently by googling "Shakespeare's relationship with Will Kemp", a subject I addressed here. I bet you wondered if people would remember you after Shakespeare booted you out, and here you are being googled.

Regular readers will know that the next Strange Bedfellows show is going to be about you, and your relationship with Mr WS will certainly obtrude, painful though that may be. That show is well over a year away, so this being no doubt the first of many missives I'll keep it to one thought:

It can't have helped your relationship with Shakespeare when, in one of the first plays to be presented after your ejection from his company (Hamlet), the main character experiences a significant life moment while clutching the skull of a dead clown:

"I knew him, Horatio. A fellow
Of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath
Borne me on his back a thousand times. And now, how
Abhorred in my imagination it is. My gorge rims at

For many years you bore him on your back, and this is how he repays you. My gorge rims at it.


Andrew Field said...

(ps. it also can't have helped that in aforementioned play the same Will S went out of his way to point out everything you do wrong:

And let those that play
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it.

What a wanker.)

danbye said...

Damn. That was going to be next week's letter.