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The Boardinghouse Madrigals

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In our community drama group’s recent production of The Boardinghouse, I acted the role of Mr. Richards, a would-be novelist who becomes a would-be poet who then transforms into a would-be writer of political speeches. Always fashioning himself as a “creative artist.”

The perfect role for me to play, since the play’s Mr. Richards is such an abject failure at it. To play that part, I don’t even need to pretend very hard.

But along the way, I wrote the occasional limerick or couplet to make fun of the Mr. Richards character and of me for playing him so aptly. And along the way I took the character’s own pronouncements of potential poem titles and wrote what I pretended to be the character’s poems. Fitting snugly into my character, so to speak.

Alas, I myself am so wretched an artist that not until after the second of our three performances did it occur to me that I ought to package up my own little collection of faux poems into a pretended book of poems by the play’s character. Which by the way would have come quite in handy during the play’s third performance, when one other character’s missed entrance gave us a few minutes of uncomfortable silence onstage, with several of the other characters wondering aloud where that other character was, as if that dialog might serve as replacement script — ah, what an opportunity that would have been for the poor Mr. Richards to have a captive audience for an impromptu poetry recital!

But better late than never, eh? And who better than I to do a collection of poems by this fictional character? I am better at being a bad poet than most, my abilities pretty much limited to lame limericks.

And in the end, I did manage to unearth a real live metaphor in that boardinghouse basement. A metaphor, the gem of the very language of poetry. Well after all, Mr. Richards does keep repeating that he is an artist. And no true artist is ignorant of the revelatory power of metaphor. So although a failed poet, even Mr. Richards deserves a good ending in this drama, no?

So in the numbered links that follow, herein are the limericks and other “poems” I have put together under the name of The Boardinghouse Poems, by the mysterious Number Five (the professional nom de plume of Mr. Richards). In several instances, as I will indicate, portions (or for the first poem, all) of a poem was written by the the author of the play itself, The Boardinghouse. (And obviously, much of the content of all poems was directly inspired by The Boardinghouse, as heavily influenced by personal details specific to our own community’s staging of the play.)

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Written by macheide

11 November 2014 at 5:46 pm

Posted in last but not least

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