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Welcome To the Globe....
Mrs Brisby and the Rats of NIMH (the Iambic Pentameter Verse Play)
Such stern and childish games the ancients play,
Yep, this is easily the craziest thing I've ever written. A 70000 word, five act iambic pentameter verse play based on an obscure animated film and children's novel. Way to go me. But back when I wrote this, writing verse was like eating candy.
Yes, this is the kind of thing that I do when I'm bored. But it never has hurt to be a bit silly. Seriousness and doting lead to headaches, wrinkles and unhappy feelings, forsooth!
All in all, I like what I did with the story. The National Institute of Mental Health I transformed with my pen into a Pythagorean mystery cult. Messengers rove about the Lancaster countryside in dark cloaks bearing foreboding messages. A shrew and a mouse exchange some heated brickbats in grand old Globe fashion. The style of the play follows quite closely Elizabethean form, but a lot of it shows my very free and sometimes highly-affected style.
The verse is at best hypnotic word-music, and at worst too jingly-jangly (think Merry Wives of Windsor jingly.) And as most of these plays should be, this is an incredibly wordy work. You'll get the most pleasure out of it if you actually try reading the words aloud as you go. My personal favorite scene is Act IV, scene 4, which the heroine spends conversing with a character known only by its voice - it is behind the wall the whole time.
Look for the secret forty-line acrostic, the line of reverse rhopalic, the owl's sonnet-speech, the playful references to Macbeth and other famous Shakespeare plays, and the complete sestina (!) in the fifth act. Don't trip over the thick alliteration, anagrams and puns. Watch for the parallel friendship between Brisby/Ages and Jenner/Sullivan, and how the villain can twist even the best relationships to their evil purposes.
It's the verse play with everything: coz'ning wretches, an arcane mystery cult roving the countryside, a bed-ridden waif and a wit-ridden brat; sonnets and sestinas, acrostics and alliterations, untouchable, unnameable villains in a sinister Spring and a Loss; and in the play Love is not afraid to change, but will give itself entirely for the Beloved... although when one gives oneself to Love, one discovers what one truly is... for nothing can possibly exist but for the ordination of Love.
If you want to enjoy the references to the fullest, be sure to know Shakes and the Bible well, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to grok Sophocles, Milton, Dante, and Aristotle. And you should probably know that toothaches were considered ill augers, that St. Christopher was invoked against sudden death, and that suicides were buried at crossroads with a stake through their hearts. You get the point.