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The Folger Spotlight

Everything is a Thing (First Rehearsal)

O, I find myself in gathering mess.
There’s enough on my plate, but more I get
How I’m the “blogger” is anyone’s guess
While also playing dad to Juliet

First day is filled with possibilities
As actors meet and greet and take a seat
At the table. Responsibilities
Clarified. Lovers eyed. Buffets to eat.

There’s something about the first rehearsal
Where every line spills with tantalizing
Possibilities. Choices made, reversals
Inevitable, yet still surprising.

As Shakespeare goes, I’ll try to be on it.
But please forgive me this “Shakespeare” sonnet.

Michael Goldsmith & Erin Weaver star as Romeo and Juliet. Photo by James Kegley.

Michael Goldsmith & Erin Weaver star as Romeo and Juliet. Photo by James Kegley.

Hey. Hi. Brian Dykstra here.

I’m blogging for the Folger Theatre for this here production of Romeo & Juliet. They asked me and I said, “sure.” Before we really get to introductions, let me re-apologize for the above sonnet. I say “Shakespeare” (in order to keep the meter) and, of course I mean in the “Shakespearian” style, in that it is 14 lines, ABAB rhyme-scheme, with a rhyming couplet at the end. It is roughly iambic and completely pentameter (except for one line with an extra half-foot – called a feminine ending – there may be a future blog entry about his meter if I can keep it from becoming too wonky.) Shakespeare, of course, was way better at keeping the meter more precise, and he found ways for the end rhymes to more often end stop (at least in the sonnets.) But that ain’t my style. Anyway…

Hello again. Since I’m your host for the next few months, I guess it’s only fair for you guys to know a tiny bit about me. (If you want to know more, hit up my website at If you DON’T want to know more… don’t.) I’m an actor and a playwright. Oh, and a poet. I even get to call myself an HBO Def Poet ( That makes me one of those “Spoken Word” poets who maybe begin to sound a little like hip hop cuz Spoken Word poetry blossomed out of early hip hop. Of course that’s only if we ignore all those freakin’ Beat Poets of the 50’s and 60’s. And, trust me, lots of these hip hop kids DO want to ignore them. I mean, everybody wants to feel like they invented the cool shit.

Facebook cover 1A little like Romeo (smooth transition, huh?) kind of wants to stake out the pain of being the first and only teenager who ever had his heart broken. Or Juliet, who can’t believe she is the only 14 year-old to have to deal with her meddling parents! But that’s maybe for later blog posts. Right now, we’re settling in…getting to know each other. Narrowing all those possibilities because like my composer friend Ray says, “Everything is a thing.” He means that someone decided what color the lining of the jacket should be (sometimes the decision is based on what fabric is most affordable, but that went into making the choice) so, let’s assume that if a director and designer make choices regarding clothing lining, there are thousands of choices that can’t happen by accident.

So let’s start here: Everything is a thing. And this particular bloggy thing is my purview for a couple months. I do hope you enjoy the read. But really, I hope I enjoy writing it. Cuz whether or not you like it, I’m still going to keep providing content.

So far, so good.

At least for me.


We’re looking forward to seeing it.
These blogs are an interesting backstage insight.

Jeffrey Fox — September 25, 2013

I agree with Jeffrey, these blog posts are interesting! I especially like to read about why the actors approach their roles as they do. For instance, with Twelfth Night last season, Richard Willis gave Malvolio a unique spin, and I got a great deal more insight into his cross-dressing after reading an interview with Willis. (Then, I had to see the production AGAIN, so I could pay more attention to his nuances — “Aha, now I get it!”) Louis Butelli’s blog posts on his research into Feste were very intriguing, and gave me a new appreciation for the Fool. I just love to learn more about the characters before I see the production… It’s sort of like learning about a guy from his best friend before the date.

Dawn Forsythe — September 26, 2013