St Damian’s Day

Some have asked why go through all of the work to produce “Noises Off” after the fire in BAT’s theater space.  Billy Shakespeare suggested the following:

TIRED VOLUNTEER. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men and women in Burien.
That do no work to-day!

PRODUCER. What’s he that wishes so?
My wonderful volunteer? No, my fair volunteer;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our theatre loss; and if to live,
The fewer men and women, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man or woman more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet live theatre,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man or woman from Burien.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man or woman more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, volunteer, through my host,
That he or she which hath no stomach to this project,
Let him or her depart; his or her passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his or her purse;
We would not work all night in that person’s company
That fears his fellowship to get this done with us.

This day is call’d the feast of Peter Damian.
He or she that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Damian.
He or she that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Peter Damian.”
Then will he strip his or her sleeve and show his or her scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Damian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good parent teach his or her child;
And Damian Damian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of theaterfolk;
For he or she to-day that sheds his or her sleep with me
Shall be my brother and sister; be he or she ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his or her condition;
And gentlefolk in Burien now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods and womanhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That worked with us upon Saint Damian’s day.



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