…wear it for an honour in thy cap… – HENRY V, IV viii

I have this cap.

I bought it blank and beige and added a patch I found on Etsy (from Storied Threads, if a cheap plug from a satisfied customer means anything).

When I was first given the job of dramaturg/text coach with Kentucky Shakespeare I joked about having a separate hat for the simple reason that I was and am also an actor with the company and it’s more fun to wear multiple literal hats than multiple metaphorical hats. Then I found the patch and cap and put them together and the cheap joke became real.

If you’re not an actor, you may not know this, but it is universally acknowledged to be Bad Form to give any sort of note to fellow actors. The protocol is to instead bitch about their choices that affect you while they’re not around, if my unscientific observations are accurate.

Now, the job of the dramaturg/text coach, in this company at least, occasionally requires less quoting Shakespeare than quoting the eternally meme-able Inigo Montoya.

But that’s not my favorite thing to put on a hat. Also, it’s not a particularly useful note. I prefer the patch for several reasons.

The season before I added this duty, I played Bottom for the company. The irony of this setup has never been lost on me. So even “Take paines, be perfect”, a rather useful thing to hear while working on a meticulously prepared Folio edition, was most recently spoken in this company by a pompous buffoon. Who happened to be playing Nick Bottom.

So I put it on the hat knowing everyone in the company knew this was a line from a fool (or two). And I also intentionally sewed it on a bit askew just because self-contradiction, thanks to Groucho and Bugs, is one of my favorite joke sub-genres.

Cheap chuckle at the first table read every time. But also people come up to me with “hat questions” (the term at which they all independently seem to arrive), much less of a mouthful or conceptual quandary than…whatever other term they might use. And when I come at an actor or director with The Hat on, they know some twerp of a fellow actor isn’t about to toss a Montoyism at them; a dramaturg is. Which comes with different protocols. Easier for everyone. I think. Simple solution borne from an overthought gag.

Though I suppose some other solution is not inconceivable.

One thought on “…wear it for an honour in thy cap… – HENRY V, IV viii

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