February 9, 2016   no responses

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Alexander Hamilton Napoli

This is the  speech I gave at Valbella Restaurant at the conclusion of our fantastic 41st Carnevale  after we had seen the Broadway musical, “Hamilton.’  

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Tonight reminded me of the phrase – “On such a night as this”
From Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice – Act V scene 1.
I was always struck by the 1973 production, directed by my mentor, Ellis Rabb at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center. He placed the two lovers on the Lido in Venice, 1960’s Jet-set Italy – very Felliniesque.  Lounging on their hotel beach chairs the two lovers look up at the night sky and try to verbally outdo each other with classical allusions:

 

The moon shines bright.

On such a night like this,
when the wind blew the trees

so gently that they didn’t make a sound,
me thinks Troilus climbed
up onto the walls of Troy
and sighed for Cressida in the Greek camp.

On such night like this,
Thisbe saw the lion’s shadow
and ran away in fear.

On such night like this,
Dido stood holding a willow branch
on the seashore, begging her lover
to come back to her in Carthage.

On such a night like this, Medea gathered magic herbs to rejuvenate old Jason.

On such a night like this, did Loretta steal away from Appalachia
Driving her way from Romney town to the City of Churches
all the way to Garfield Place.

On such a night like this, young Anthony swore he loved her very much, stealing her heart with vows of love, but not one vow was true.

On such a night like this, handsome Gary, in a bad mood, said outrageously wrong things about his husband lover, and he forgave him.

On such a night like this, family and old friends have gathered round
On a cold winter’s night, for two score years in masks of revelry and
Ribald play.

I would out-night you more,
With my perhaps clever verse and bastard Bard iambic pentameter but time has come to bid a sad adieu.

So let us dance a merry last dance -

On such a night as this!

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