Act 2 Epilogue – “A Classic Christmas story.”

Notes on A Midwinter Night’s Dream

Act two draws to a close with Zounds’ take on a classic Christmas story. I wanted to bring everyone together in an impossible way for a curtain call again, and The Night Before Christmas felt like the perfect means to do it (I was delighted to discover it has an authorship controversy, just like Will…)

In choosing a character from Shakespeare to play the part of Father Christmas, there really was no choice at all – it could only be sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff and so on and so forth. The fat knight is a rare visitor to these parts, but his appearances always feel special somehow. Rosalind and Puck’s mischievous natures made them natural choices to play the part of Falstaff’s elves, while the rest of the image filled itself out easily enough, with the key recurring characters receiving their signature props and a nod to The Merry Wives of Windsor in Falstaff’s reindeer antlers. I even managed to sneak in a discreet Doctor Who reference…

This is the first time I’ve ever used the ‘D’ word with regard to the Lady. I’d started out with the idea that it is up to the reader to decide whether she is the Dark Lady or someone else entirely – in the beginning, I never actually ruled out Anne Hathaway. As time has gone on, I realised that of course she’s the Dark Lady – but that doesn’t rob her of any mystery, since we still don’t know who the Dark Lady actually was. This cartoon is also the most blatant example of her appearing as a magical being, and yet it isn’t, since it’s all quite possibly a dream anyway. Truly she is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in an implausible hairstyle.

And so to act three. I’m still considering what form the next stage of Zounds will take. I’m very pleased that I managed to maintain a weekly turnaround all year, and that act two hit its target of 50 cartoons – but I’m not sure I’ll keep that up for the whole of next year. Act three may end up being more of an occasional thing. The part of act two I’m most pleased with is The Trial of Antonio, and so act three will probably lean heavily in the direction of ongoing stories, and I already have two or three kicking around. I’m sure the one-page funnies won’t dry up altogether though, and I have some Christmas reading matter ahead of me that will hopefully spark fresh ideas.

But for now, it’s time to leave the stage. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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