Our advice expert, semi-retired actor-director Armin Zaphiratous, has the expertise that denizens of the theatrical demimonde need when whipsawed by doubt and confusion. We invite you to Ask Armin anything and everything, theater-related or not. He's here to serve.
This week: .
►Dear Armin: I'm sure Shakespeare was a great guy and all, but what the hell is up with iambic pentameter and why is everyone still so gaga over it?
Zounds! Iambic pentameter is a commonly used metrical line in traditional verse and verse drama. The term describes the particular rhythm that the words establish in that line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called "feet." The word "iambic" describes the type of foot that is used (in English, an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable). The word "pentameter" indicates that a line has five of these "feet". Bored yet? I know I am! But Shakespeare did iambic pentameter better than anyone. Theater artists are so gaga over his verse because it is soooo much fun to do. We see the bored high school students out there squirming in their seats and daydreaming about their smarty phones, but we're loving it anyway. Doing Shakespeare is like golf. Maybe you're terrible and boring over the full four hours (18 holes), but when you nail that one speech (drive) it's like a tuning fork going off in your loins. That's a good thing.—YOURS, ARMIN
►Dear Armin: I'm clueless when it comes to theater, but I want to impress this new girl I'm seeing. I asked around for what I should take her to and got several different answers. A play, a musical, the ballet, opera, etc. Where should I take her to make the best impression?
Let's not pretend we're not talking about sex. OK? With that mind it is very important that you do not take her to a musical! Good lord, man! No woman who has ever watched a man enjoying Starlight Express will ever have sex with that man! Opera is out because you will make an unattractive spectacle of yourself by falling asleep somewhere between the fourth and fifth act and drooling on your jacket. Ballet is a fine choice. A lot of people think ballet isn't masculine, but what could be more masculine than watching women in perfect shape jump around for your pleasure? That will keep you awake, and don't underestimate the Codpiece Effect (CPE) on her. Finally, I highly suggest taking a woman to a good production of A Streetcar Named Desire. That will get her dreaming about your Kowalski and she won't expect you to be a gentle lover, you brute!—YOURS, ARMIN
►Dear Armin: I'm in a play and am starting to fall for my romantic co-lead. What should I do about it?
Get together outside of rehearsal to "work on lines," and hit that.—YOURS, ARMIN
We invite you to Ask Armin via email at AskArmin@TheaterJones.com. Go on and ask. When he doesn't have enough queries to ponder, he bothers the hell out of the TheaterJones editors. Also, we don't stand by or even agree with all of Armin's advice. So don't hold us responsible if things go terribly wrong.