Friday, May 21, 2010

On "Lunkheads"

It would seem that several of the male cast members of Impact’s Twelfth Night have read my post and are wondering what a “lunkhead” is and whom I’m referring to.

According to Webster's definition, a "lunkhead" is a dolt. A "dolt" is a stupid person and comes from the old English word for "foolish". Google search "Define: Lunkhead" and you'll also turn up the definition "Derogatory term for a fool or idiot."

Twelfth Night is a play about fools. The name "twelfth night" refers to the Twelfth Night holiday twelve nights after Christmas (which is either the night of January 5th or 6th depending on whether or not you follow the Medieval custom of starting the new day at sunset). It marks the beginning of the Carnival season which then runs through Mardis Gras. It also marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas and the celebration of the Epiphany when the wise-men arrived at the manger to see Jesus, when kings paid tribute to the son of a carpenter in a barn.

Basically, in Medieval times, it was a giant excuse to party, which we see in the play through the constant revelry of Sir Toby Belch and his crew. But that's not all, Twelfth Night festivities often involved the appointment of a Lord of Misrule. The King and Court became the peasants and vice versa, mirroring the magi at the manger (but don't be fooled, "lord of misrule" has it's origins in the Roman feast of Saturnalia). It was about the world turning upside-down for a day.

That is Twelfth Night the play. It's about role reversal (Viola goes from being a noble woman to a servant man; Malvolio goes from head of the house to insane prisoner). It's about the Fool being wise and the nobles being foolish. It's about lunkheads and wise-men.

True, I was incorrect. Not all the male characters are lunkheads. Feste is no lunkhead. Olivia certainly is. As for the actor who seemed to be a lunkhead playing a lunkhead, he just seemed to be more playing at the role than playing it.

If you're worried that it's you, don't because it's not. A lunkhead wouldn't worry that they might be a lunkhead.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.