Friday, December 01, 2006

I have slain the dragon of onto beasts of other descriptions

The TEI beast has been conquered! Now I just have to write an introduction for the play, but that's just a nice little 8 page essay jobby, so no problem. And all of the crazy stuff going on in the play is fascinating!

The picture on the right is of Rowenna, who is the main character in The Fairy of the Lake. She looks pretty nice in the painting, right? Uh, not so much, according to Thelwall's version. Rowenna poisons her husband, Vortigern, tries to kill Guenever, attempts to seduce Arthur, and does some pretty crazy magic with lots of eyes of Newt &c. She's a riot to read.

Arthur is quite the character too. He's a bit of a wimp, really- no Sean Connery Arthur here. For all of you who are in the dark, that's a reference to First Knight. Julia Ormond as Guinevere, Richard Gere as Lancelot (he was younger then!), and so much smolder they almost light the scenery on fire. But anyway, back to Arthur: Thelwall's Arthur chucks Excalibur under a tree and pouts for a good scene and a half. Not exactly my idea of a romantic hero. My heart in this play belongs to the Incubus.

The Incubus, before he became an icicle hanging from the rafters of Hela's house (Scandinavian underworld goddess) was quite the cad, let me tell you. He flirts with one of Rowenna's handmaids, Agga, and invites her to nibble on his frozen fingers, and then suggests that he might have more luck when ice cream comes into fashion. The rake! He sings this amazing song about how when he's done his purgatory in the year 1800, he's going to go out and ogle all of the women in their skimpy dresses. I'm sure that some of you have seen Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility. Think of the dresses in those movies- Empire waisted, thin & clingy, with very low bodices. The idea was to expose as much of your breasts as you could without actually flashing anyone, and the Incubus is all over that. I love Thelwall! (Who was also all over these dresses, apparently. Wrote some very sexy poems to women who came to watch him lecture. The Romantics are always good and smutty!)

I'm having a great time with this research; the link to the actual play is in one of my earlier posts, so check it out when you're in need of a break and feel like learning about Scandinavian mythology & the Welsh love of beer. (Written Cwrw, pronounced coo-roo, in case you're interested.)