Rude Boys and Ros­alinds

As if there isn’t enough high drama on the an­nual Black Pow­der Shoot, Philip Howard turns to The Bard for a bit of added en­ter­tain­ment

The Field - - The Field Classified -

We had been pre­par­ing in­vi­ta­tions for our an­nual Rude Boys Black Pow­der Shoot, for which ev­ery­one has to shoot with ham­mer­guns or muz­zle-load­ers. This year, The Me­dia Queen thought we needed a lit­tle bit of a cul­tural lift – and that wasn’t just the guest list. So we have added a troop of Shake­spearean play­ers from The Ox­ford Shake­speare Com­pany to pro­duce a be­spoke Satur­day night per­for­mance. The di­rec­tor ad­vised us that if our guests were rude and quirky enough he could in­cor­po­rate them into the play, which is to be based on As You Like It.

“Rude enough!” I gasped in hor­ror. That was never in doubt, only their ca­pa­bil­i­ties. So long as they were pre­pared to be some­what free with The Bard’s script, I re­sponded, my cast list in­cluded nu­mer­ous Malvo­lios and Malvo­lias, and a plethora of Shy­locks and Ia­gos. There were a cou­ple of Bot­toms and sev­eral asses. My dis­so­lute friends The Ditch, com­plete with two new knees, and The Spoon, known for his ca­pac­ity to stir, could al­ter­nate be­tween Fal­staff and Sir Toby Belch. We boast an ex-gen­eral, an MI5 agent and a for­mer Spe­cial Forces com­mando, whose close friends re­fer to him as ‘Cheesewire’, thus adding Henry V, Lady Mac­beth and both Co­ri­olanus and Ti­tus An­dron­i­cus to the band of broth­ers. I had even short­listed a Melan­choly Jaques from my old school days but, sadly, he was al­ready com­mit­ted to an­other shoot. “I can’t let him down, he gets very up­set – he’s a Bud­dhist, you know.”

“I didn’t re­alise Bud­dhists shot,” I replied. “Or do they just sit around med­i­tat­ing about what they are about to shoot?”

Short of a few glam­orous young play­ers, I con­ferred with my son. “I need a fair Ros­alind,” I ex­plained. “What about your friend Mi­randa the Model?”

Alas, that is what pre­cip­i­tated our most re­cent fa­mil­ial dis­pute. “No good, Dad, Mi­randa is not speak­ing to me at the mo­ment. Un­for­tu­nately her ex-boyfriend is now go­ing out with my tat­tooist.”

“Your what!” I ex­claimed. He went pale, then red and started splut­ter­ing.

“Ah, well, yes, I con­fess I do have one or two tat­toos but not nearly as many as your daugh­ter. She ac­tu­ally inks them on all her friends. And she has a large ques­tion mark tat­tooed on her bot­tom.”

As I men­tioned ear­lier, we are not short of Ia­gos.

As it hap­pened – and please ex­cuse the bum pun – I sat on this ex­cel­lent piece of in­for­ma­tion. We were dis­cussing the lack of Ros­alinds and Vi­o­las when my daugh­ter piped up: “Why can’t I be your Ros­alind?”

My “I don’t think Ros­alind had a ques­tion mark tat­tooed on her bot­tom” re­ply had the de­sired ef­fect. “How the… bl…” she splut­tered be­fore hiss­ing her brother’s name fol­lowed by some suit­ably strong in­vec­tive that would have im­pressed the Bard of Strat­ford.

“You’re not cross are you? Any­how, there is not a lot you can do. I sup­pose it will end up in The Field but I don’t mind.”

I con­fessed there was not any­thing I could do. Yes, my read­ers might ap­pre­ci­ate some­thing on the topic of tat­toos. And no, I was not in the least bit cross. How­ever, there was the is­sue of her grand­par­ents.

“Oh, grandma won’t mind, she’ll prob­a­bly get one done her­self. I’ll of­fer to do one for her. She likes but­ter­flies.”

“But what about your grand­fa­ther?” I grinned. “A pal­pa­ble hit, me­thinks!” This, she ad­mit­ted, was tricky. Her grand­fa­ther’s ha­tred of tat­toos was leg­endary.

“If you ever ever get one of those dread­ful tat­toos I shall dis­in­herit you,” he booms at his grand­chil­dren reg­u­larly. “Well, I’ll make sure he knows all about Wil­liam’s so he won’t get any­thing ei­ther. But, frankly, with his de­men­tia the way it is, I think he will for­get ev­ery­thing be­fore he rings the so­lic­i­tor. Mind you, he can’t re­mem­ber the names of any of his friends but he re­mem­bered ex­actly what Sexy Sarah was wear­ing – or rather wasn’t wear­ing – at my 21st birth­day party. Grandma wasn’t pleased.”

I con­fess I do have one or two tat­toos but not nearly as many as your daugh­ter. She has a large ques­tion mark tat­tooed on her bot­tom

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