Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Mikado or The Town of Titipu

Originally published on Sunday, July 29, 2012.

If you don't already know, I've been volunteering at a local theatre for the past two weeks.

If you want to read about the training day, click here. If you want to read about week one, click here. 

The workshop going on the was week was The Mikado or The Town Of Titipu written by W. S. Gilbert, music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. 

Play Summary:

The idea of this operetta is in Japan some time ago, Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado (Emperor) of Japan ran away because he was being made to marry Katisha, an old cougar. He disguises himself as a travelling minstrel and meets Yum-Yum, a beautiful young school girl from the town of Titipu. Yum-Yum is supposed to marry her guardian, Ko-Ko who is under the death sentence for flirting. But while Nanki-Poo is away playing music, Ko-Ko is made Lord High Executioner and is supposed to marry Yum-Yum the day Nanki-Poo arrives back in Titipu. 

Ko-Ko then receives a letter from the Mikado, whom is outraged at the fact there have been no executions made in Titipu for a year. Ko-Ko is required to behead someone within a month or the post of Lord High Executioner will be abolished and the town of Titipu reduced to the rank of a village. Meanwhile, Nanki-Poo decides to kill himself because he can't stank the fact that Ko-Ko will be marrying Yum-Yum. Ko-Ko catches him and makes a deal with him that if Nanki-Poo allows Ko-Ko to execute him, Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum. It is later discovered that if a married man is beheaded, his wife must be buried alive. How do they overcome this new problem? I don't want to give it away, so you'll have to watch the play. 

The task that was almost exclusively mine to undertake was to look after a young, but very energetic boy named Bruce. Most little kids are a handful. Bruce is about seven handfuls. He has a very small attention span coupled with a lot of energy and limited listening skills. He's very smart but a lot of work to keep under control. This was my whole job all week. I was even in three scenes (Act I Finale, Act II Scene 1, and Act II Finale) because in the finales Bruce needed a dance partner and for Act II Scene 1 my friend who was blocking it wanted me in it. 

On Wednesday, all the staff and a few students wore capes all day because the only male staff member this week, Ryan, found himself a gold cape and wore it all week. By Wednesday, we all wanted in on the cape trend. Mine was a mauve-purple with a gold sheen. My friend said I looked like a Jedi. During lunch that day, I raised my shoulders and lowered my head so I'd look like one of the vultures from The Jungle Book.

By the way, everyone learned this play in a matter of 3 1/2 days. 

I was in the last two Gilbert and Sullivan productions at this theatre. The first one I was in was Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty, which was put together over a two week period of time. This one's about a Fredrick, a 21 year old man who became a pirate at the fault of his nursemaid, Ruth when he was very young. Because he's old enough, he decides he doesn't want to be a pirate anymore and leaves to marry Mabel, one of many daughters of the Major General. Fredrick finds out that since he was born on a leap year (just like me!), he will not technically be old enough to leave his pirate band until he's 84 years old because his contract expires on his 21st birthday. 

The other G&S production I was in was Thespis or The Gods Grown Old. This one, as with The Mikado, was also done over one week. I missed 1 1/2 days of this one. Basically, a group of actors lead by a man named Thespis replace the Gods of Mount Olympus temporarily because the original Gods have grown old and are being ignored. As it turns out, Thespis and the gang are pretty sucky Gods. When the original Gods return, they make their replacement into "eminent tragedians whom no on ever goes to see".

All Gilbert and Sullivan operas are public domain and whose plots, time periods and lines can be changes as you see fit. 

Have a great day, everyone!

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