Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Austenain Gentleman's Guide to Wooing

Gentlemen, have you found your ways of wooing wanting?

Do mothers across the county curse your name?

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to make a match that develops into matrimony?

Perhaps it is time that you found yourself some new men on which to model yourselves! Men of integrity, wisdom, and intelligence. While the ladies may swoon over the brooding Mr Darcy now, it is only because we have seen his gentler side. If all we could see was his initial pride and coldness, none of us would want any part of him. (Well, perhaps some parts…)

Do not be like Darcy, insulting the very woman he is proposing to! Behavior such as that is the product of vaingloriousness and a popular, granted, yet very incorrect of view of how to win women’s hearts. All one need do is extend respectful admiration and friendship to win our good favour.
Which sirs would I have men consider in their interactions with our fairer sex? An excellent place to start would be with Mr Tilney of Northanger Abbey. Quite an admirable example of manhood, Mr Tilney engages his lady of interest in earnest conversation, listens to her opinions without interrupting, and takes genuine interest in what she has to say. Such manners! It makes one giddy!

Yet another paragon of gentlemanly behavior is Mr Knightley, friend and spouse of the vivacious Miss Emma Woodhouse. While his exterior may be a touch prickly, his affection and concern for those around him is clear. He is always honest with Miss Woodhouse and though he may occasionally reprimand her, he never attempts to control her nor infringe on her buoyant spirit.

Many may think it unfair that I have slighted Mr Darcy earlier in this writing, but I use him only because he later on learned the error of his ways. That is what saves his reputation as a good man: that he can recognize the error of his ways and work toward rectifying the situation. Indeed, there are far worse characters available for scrutiny.

Dear gentlemen! By no means should you hold as heroes the likes of Mr Thorpe, Mr Wickham, or Mr Willoughby. Brutish, deceptive, and greedy, they are not to be imitated by any except those which desire to be the most loathed men in the country!

There are so many better men of character on which one could model oneself. I cannot think of a better man to hold up for scrutiny against those I previously mentioned than Colonel Brandon. Here we have a man who greatly admires his paramour and yet does not foist himself upon her. He knows that a love that is forced is no real love at all. The Colonel always conducts himself with the highest integrity. Would that all men would follow his example!

In conclusion, good sirs, have a care in how you treat the ladies. There is nothing to be gained by viewing the womenfolk around you as dolls to do with as you please or ornaments simply existing for decoration. When you offer respect and courtesy you may find that your life will then be filled with pleasantries, friendship, and perhaps even lasting love.

(Though, I would not discourage you from brushing up on your athletic skills if you are so inclined.)

Written by Improvised Jane Austen cast member, Josephine Longo

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Respectful Argument for Why You Should Attend

How is it to perform at 10:00 p.m. on a Thursday (which, let’s be clear, is the new Friday) in February, in a city where most individuals bemoan the weather in this the most desperate time of the winter?

It is, in a word, exhilarating!

Yes, we all know the feeling you get when you return home from a strenuous day of work, and remove your shoes to sit upon your more than usually comfortable couch.  You sink in, perhaps order from the Hub of Grub, and are in for the evening.  But I challenge you to consider a few very interesting points that I’d like to hit upon in an respectful argument for getting out of your proverbial cave to support live theater.

In the first, you feel that you have indeed accomplished something, and you feel this way because you certainly have.  In these times of anxiety and strain in our modern culture, it is most indubitably a great feat to get out of your warm, inviting abode and commit to putting away your tiny, bescreened escape device for long enough to be transported in a different and more ancient manner; THEATER.  To support live performers, who have also made the decision to come out on a chilly eve, is to offer the deepest gratitude to creativity, hopes and dreams of like minded individuals, and of course, the arts.

In the second, to brave the night and the weather to come out into the public eye solidifies your deep commitment to community.  This act of making yourself known publicly puts you on as social pedestal.  You may not know, but coming to attend a performance such as ours makes you pure perfection in the eyes of those you are going to see.  You are, respectfully and warmly spoken of in the back of stage and will be thanked profusely upon entering the lobby at the finale of the show.  At this particular theater (The McKaw Theater, a divine space)  you will be made to feel as if you entered the parlour of a dear friend.  You will be told how wonderful you look and indeed how wonderful you are! Additionally, you will be offered a refreshment, for free, upon payment for the performance (and at $10 for the show, you are getting your monies worth of dear diversions).

In the final, the good that you accomplish by attending is beyond logical measure.  You will be made to feel special (because you are), you will be supporting live performances, and you will also show your unparalleled commitment to your community and the arts.

We do so much hope to see you this evening,
Thursday, The 9th of February (or if you must miss this eve, Feb. 16th or 23rd)
10:00 o’clock in the eve of night.
1439 W. Jarvis Ave.
Many of the Warmest Returns,

The Ladies of Improvised Jane Austen

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Swear Words Used During the Regency Period:

It is so strange, but as the days creep past I find myself in need of a few old curse words.  
These gentlemen are clearly cussing softly to each other.
Swear Words used during the Regency period:

Swag bellied - fat
Maggot pie - lowest of the low
Bally - a shortening of ballocks,  which means balls
Deuced - screwed over, damned
Dad - meaning God
Sard - *uck……………* = f
Blimey - oh shit
Berk - a tem for the c word %unt………% = c
Gosh - GOD
Crikey - WOW, I mean WOW!
Adventuress - whore
Ass - same as ever
Balls or ballocks- testicles
Bitch - meaning slutty and used for men and women
Bull - thought to be taboo because of how virile a gentleman cow is
Crap - shit
Strumpet - whore
Cherry - a maiden’s vagina
Dashed - damned
Cocksucker or cockchafer - you know this one
Imp - devil
Fool - idiot
Dad shamed - shamed by God
Macaroni - effeminate male
Damn - yep
clap - V.D. (Venereal Disease)
Devil - satan
Bloody - damn
Dickens - hell or damnation
Fuck - a very bad word
Dafted - dumb
Redneck - a poor person living in the country
Sodomite - a homosexual male
Necessary - the bathroom
Boat-licker meaning ass-kisser
Randy - feeling sexy
Fart-  as in,  I don’t give a fart
Blame - Damn
Tarnation - a popular sub for damnation
Contemptible - terrible, looked down upon
Horney - wanting the sex
Sit down upons - underpants
Inexpressibles - pants. It was not nice to speak of pants in public
Quim - vagina
Jesse - hell
Lick-finger or lick-spittle - kiss-ass
Knock up - get pregnant……..who knew how old school this term was…….not me
Nancy Boy - effeminate male
Limb - leg…….it was extremely bad taste to talk of the hidden body parts of the time
Piss - pee-pee
Twat - *unt
Whoremonger - a frequent whore visitor
Prick - small penis
Puss - self explanatory
Snatch - puss
Shit - poop
Urchin - disgusting
Tarnal- damn
Strumpet - a lady of the night
Scalawag - a worthless person
Huzzy - proud and apt to use the words on this list
Swow - cuss


Monday, January 16, 2017

Hannah More - Civil Rights Activist

As we take time today to respect the sacrifices of those who fought so bravely and peaceably for civil rights, I was wont to ponder what, if any, civil rights were afforded to less well off citizens of the realm in the Regency Era. It is my pleasure to share with you a bit about a woman named Hannah Moore.  She lived from 1745 to 1833.  She was a teacher, playwright, author, poet and activist for the abolition of Slavery.   Hannah was a courageous abolition activist and worked to gain more support for legally doing away with slavery. Her work undoubtedly influenced some of those who passed the Slavery Abolition Act in July of 1833, the year of her death.

Hannah More

The following is her writing
Slavery: a poem

If heaven has into being deign'd to call
Thy light, O LIBERTY! to shine on all;
Bright intellectual Sun! why does thy ray
To earth distribute only partial day?
Since no resisting cause from spirit flows               
Thy penetrating essence to opose;
No obstacles by Nature's hand imprest,
Thy subtle and ethereal beams arrest;
Nor motion's laws can speed thy active course,
Nor strong repulsion's pow'rs obstruct thy force;                
Since there is no convexity in MIND,
Why are thy genial beams to parts confin'd?
While the chill North with thy bright ray is blest,
Why should fell darkness half the South invest?
Was it decreed, fair Freedom! at thy birth,                
That thou shou'd'st ne'er irradiate all the earth?
While Britain basks in thy full blaze of light,
Why lies sad Afric quench'd in total night?
Thee only, sober Goddess! I attest,
In smiles chastis'd, and decent graces drest.                
Not that unlicens'd monster of the crowd,
Whose roar terrific bursts in peals so loud,
Deaf'ning the ear of Peace: fierce Faction's tool;
Of rash Sedition born, and mad Misrule;
Whose stubborn mouth, rejecting Reason's rein,                
No strength can govern, and no skill restrain;
Whose magic cries the frantic vulgar draw
To spurn at Order, and to outrage Law;
To tread on grave Authority and Pow'r,
And shake the work of ages in an hour:               
Convuls'd her voice, and pestilent her breath,
She raves of mercy, while she deals out death:
Each blast is fate; she darts from either hand
Red conflagration o'er th' astonish'd land;
Clamouring for peace, she rends the air with noise,               
And to reform a part, the whole destroys.
O, plaintive Southerne! * whose impassion'd strain
So oft has wak'd my languid Muse in vain!
Now, when congenial themes her cares engage,
She burns to emulate thy glowing page;              
Her failing efforts mock her fond desires,
She shares thy feelings, not partakes thy fires.
Strange pow'r of song! the strain that warms the heart
Seems the same inspiration to impart;
Touch'd by the kindling energy alone,               
We think the flame which melts us is our own;
Deceiv'd, for genius we mistake delight,
Charm'd as we read, we fancy we can write.
Tho' not to me, sweet Bard, thy pow'rs belong
Fair Truth, a hallow'd guide! inspires my song.               
Here Art wou'd weave her gayest flow'rs in vain,
For Truth the bright invention wou'd disdain.
For no fictitious ills these numbers flow,
But living anguish, and substantial woe;
No individual griefs my bosom melt,               
For millions feel what Oronoko felt:
Fir'd by no single wrongs, the countless host
I mourn, by rapine dragg'd from Afric's coast.
Perish th'illiberal thought which wou'd debase
The native genius of the sable race!               
Perish the proud philosophy, which sought
To rob them of the pow'rs of equal thought!
Does then th' immortal principle within
Change with the casual colour of a skin?
Does matter govern spirit? or is mind              
Degraded by the form to which 'tis join'd?
No: they have heads to think, and hearts to feel,
And souls to act, with firm, tho' erring, zeal;
For they have keen affections, kind desires,
Love strong as death, and active patriot fires;               
All the rude energy, the fervid flame,
Of high-soul'd passion, and ingenuous shame:
Strong, but luxuriant virtues boldly shoot
From the wild vigour of a savage root.
Nor weak their sense of honour's proud control,               
For pride is virtue in a Pagan soul;
A sense of worth, a conscience of desert,
A high, unbroken haughtiness of heart:
That self-same stuff which erst proud empires sway'd,
Of which the conquerers of the world were made.                
Capricious fate of man! that very pride
In Afric scourg'd, in Rome was deify'd.
No Muse, O Quashi! shall thy deeds relate,
No statue snatch thee from oblivious fate!
For thou wast born where never gentle Muse                
On Valour's grave the flow'rs of Genius strews;
And thou wast born where no recording page
Plucks the fair deed from Time's devouring rage.
Had Fortune plac'd thee on some happier coast,
Where polish'd souls heroic virtue boast,                
To thee, who sought'st a voluntary grave,
Th' uninjur'd honours of thy name to save,
Whose generous arm thy barbarous Master spar'd,
Altars had smok'd, and temples had been rear'd.
Whene'er to Afric's shores I turn my eyes,                
Horrors of deepest, deadliest guilt arise;
I see, by more than Fancy's mirrow shewn,
The burning village, and the blazing town:
See the dire victim torn from social life,
The shrieking babe, the agonizing wife!                
She, wretch forlorn! is dragg'd by hostile hands,
To distant tyrants sold, in distant lands!
Transmitted miseries, and successive chains,
The sole sad heritage her child obtains!
Ev'n this last wretched boon their foes deny,                
To weep together, or together die.
By felon hands, by one relentless stroke,
See the fond links of feeling nature broke!
The fibres twisting round a parent's heart,
Torn from their grasp, and bleeding as they part.                
Hold, murderers, hold! not aggravate distress;
Respect the passions you yourselves possess;
Ev'n you, of ruffian heart, and ruthless hand,
Love your own offspring, love your native land.
Ah! leave them holy Freedom's cheering smile,                
The heav'n-taught fondness for the parent soil;
Revere affections mingled with our frame,
In every nature, every clime the same;
In all, these feelings equal sway maintain;
In all the love of HOME and FREEDOM reign:                
And Tempe's vale, and parch'd Angola's sand,
One equal fondness of their sons command.
Th' unconquer'd Savage laughs at pain and toil,
Basking in Freedom's beams which gild his native soil.
Does thirst of empire, does desire of fame,                
(For these are specious crimes) our rage inflame?
No: sordid lust of gold their fate controls,
The basest appetite of basest souls;
Gold, better gain'd, by what their ripening sky,
Their fertile fields, their arts * and mines supply.                
What wrongs, what injuries does Opression plead
To smooth the horror of th' unnatural deed?
What strange offence, what aggravated sin?
They stand convicted--of a darker skin!
Barbarians, hold! th' opprobious commerce spare,                
Respect his sacred image which they bear:
Tho' dark and savage, ignorant and blind,
They claim the common privilege of kind;
Let Malice strip them of each other plea,
They still are men, and men shou'd still be free.               
Insulted Reason, loaths th' inverted trade--
Dire change! the agent is the purchase made!
Perplex'd, the baffled Muse involves the tale;
Nature confounded, well may language fail!
The outrag'd Goddess with abhorrent eyes                
Sees MAN the traffic, SOULS the merchandize!
Plead not, in reason's palpable abuse,
Their sense of * feeling callous and obtuse:
From heads to hearts lies Nature's plain appeal,
Tho' few can reason, all mankind can feel.                
Tho' wit may boast a livelier dread of shame,
A loftier sense of wrong refinement claim;
Tho' polished manners may fresh wants invent,
And nice distinctions nicer souls torment;
Tho' these on finer spirits heavier fall,                
Yet natural evils are the same to all;
Tho' wounds there are which reason's force may heal,
There needs no logic sure to make us feel.
The nerve, howe'er untutor'd, can sustain
A sharp, unutterable sense of pain;               
As exquisitely fashion'd in a slave,
As where unequal fate a sceptre gave.
Sense is as keen where Congo's sons preside,
As where proud Tiber rolls his classic tide.
Rhetoric or verse may point the feeling line,               
They do not whet sensation, but define.
Did ever slave less feel the galling chain,
When Zeno prov'd there was no ill in pain?
Their miseries philosophic quirks deride,
Slaves groan in pangs disown'd by Stoic pride.                
  When the fierce Sun darts vertical his beams,
And thirst and hunger mix their wild extremes;
When the sharp iron * wounds his inmost soul,
And his strain'd eyes in burning anguish roll;
Will the parch'd negro find, ere he expire,               
No pain in hunger, and no heat in fire?
  For him, when fate his tortur'd frame destroys,
What hope of present fame, or future joys?
For this, have heroes shorten'd nature's date;
For that, have martyrs gladly met their fate;                
But him, forlorn, no hero's pride sustains,
No martyr's blissful visions sooth his pains;
Sullen, he mingles with his kindred dust,
For he has learn'd to dread the Christian's trust;
To him what mercy can that Pow'r display,                
Whose servants murder, and whose sons betray?
Savage! thy venial error I deplore,
They are not Christians who infest thy shore.
  O thou sad spirit, whose preposterous yoke
The great deliver Death, at length, has broke!                
Releas'd from misery, and escap'd from care,
Go meet that mercy man deny'd thee here.
In thy dark home, sure refuge of th' opress'd,
The wicked vex not, and the weary rest.
And, if some notions, vague and undefin'd,                
Of future terrors have assail'd thy mind;
If such thy masters have presum'd to teach,
As terrors only they are prone to preach;
(For shou'd they paint eternal Mercy's reign,
Where were th' oppressor's rod, the captive's chain?)                
If, then, thy troubled soul has learn'd to dread
The dark unknown thy trembling footsteps tread;
On HIM, who made thee what thou art, depend;
HE, who withholds the means, accepts the end.
Not thine the reckoning dire of LIGHT abus'd,                
KNOWLEDGE disgrac'd, and LIBERTY misus'd;
On thee no awful judge incens'd shall sit
For parts perverted, and dishonour'd wit.
Where ignorance will be found the surest plea,
How many learn'd and wise shall envy thee!               
  And thou, WHITE SAVAGE! whether lust of gold,
Or lust of conquest, rule thee uncontrol'd!
Hero, or robber!--by whatever name
Thou plead thy impious claim to wealth or fame;
Whether inferior mischiefs be thy boast,                
A petty tyrant rifling Gambia's coast:
Or bolder carnage track thy crimson way,
Kings disposses'd, and Provinces thy prey;
Panting to tame wide earth's remotest bound;
All Cortez murder'd, all Columbus found;               
O'er plunder'd realms to reign, detested Lord,
Make millions wretched, and thyself abhorr'd;
In Reason's eye, in Wisdom's fair account,
Your sum of glory boasts a like amount;
The means may differ, but the end's the same;               
Conquest is pillage with a nobler name.
Who makes the sum of human blessings less,
Or sinks the stock of general happiness,
No solid fame shall grace, no true renown,
His life shall blazon, or his memory crown.               
  Had those advent'rous spirits who explore
Thro' ocean's trackless wastes, the far-sought shore;
Whether of wealth insatiate, or of pow'r,
Conquerors who waste, or ruffians who devour:
Had these possess'd, O COOK! thy gentle mind,                
Thy love of arts, thy love of humankind;
Had these pursued thy mild and liberal plan,
DISCOVERERS had not been a curse to man!
The, bless'd Philanthropy! thy social hands
Had link'd dissever'd worlds in brothers bands;                
Careless, if colour, or if clime divide;
Then, lov'd, and loving, man had liv'd, and died.
  The purest wreaths which hang on glory's shrine,
For empires founded, peaceful PENN! are thine;
No blood-stain'd laurels crown'd thy virtuous toil,                
No slaughter'd natives drench'd thy fair-earn'd soil.
Still thy meek spirit in thy * flock survives,
Consistent still, their doctrines rule their lives.
Thy followers only have effac'd the shame
Inscrib'd by SLAVERY on the Christian name.                
Shall Britain, where the soul of freedom reigns,
Forge chains for others she herself disdains?
Forbid it, Heaven! O let the nations know
The liberty she loves she will bestow;
Not to herself the glorious gift confin'd,                
She spreads the blessing wide as humankind;
And, scorning narrow views of time and place,
Bids all be free in earth's extended space.
  What page of human annals can record
A deed so bright as human rights restor'd?                
O may that god-like deed, that shining page,
Redeem OUR fame, and consecrate OUR age!
  And see, the cherub Mercy from above,
Descending softly, quits the sphere of love!
On feeling hearts she sheds celestial dew,                
And breathes her spirit o'er th' enlighten'd few;
From soul to soul the spreading influence steals,
Till every breast the soft contagion feels.
She bears, exulting, to the burning shore
The loveliest office Angel ever bore;               
To vindicate the pow'r in Heaven ador'd,
To still the clank of chains, and sheathe the sword;
To cheer the mourner, and with soothing hands
From bursting hearts unbind th' Oppressor's bands;
To raise the lustre of the Christian name,               
And clear the foulest blot that dims its fame.
  As the mild Spirit hovers o'er the coast,
A fresher hue the wither'd landscapes boast;
Her healing smiles the ruin'd scenes repair,
And blasted Nature wears a joyous air.                
She spreads her blest commission from above,
Stamp'd with the sacred characters of love;
She tears the banner stain'd with blood and tears,
And, LIBERTY! thy shining standard rears!
As the bright ensign's glory she displays,                
See pale OPPRESSION faints beneath the blaze!
The giant dies! no more his frown appals,
The chain untouch'd, drops off; the fetter falls.
Astonish'd echo tells the vocal shore,
Opression's fall'n, and Slavery is no more!                
The dusky myriads crowd the sultry plain,
And hail that mercy long invok'd in vain.
Victorious Pow'r! she bursts their tow-fold bands,
And FAITH and FREEDOM spring from Mercy's hands.
F I N I S.
More, H. (1788). Slavery: a poem. Philadelphia: Printed by Joseph James, Chesnut-Street.