The Purinton Primer: On The Faithful Shepherdess and H.P. Lovecraft

This is it—my last column for the Thrill. It’s been a great year and, together, we’ve discussed a great many topics. During finals week last semester, I wrote about the types of exams actors take, but this time around, I want to do something more poignant. After all, this is an emotional time for me. On top of this being my last Thrill post, I’ve been going through a lot of lasts recently—last class at Kenyon, last English paper at Kenyon, last concert attended at Kenyon, etc., etc. Therefore, if you’ll let me, I’d like to write about something that I’m really excited about. I honestly can’t imagine another topic that I’d rather discuss. It’s a fascinating discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy it. What is this topic, you ask? What else other than…(drumroll please)… elements of the pastoral in the plays of Jacobean playwright John Fletcher!

I hope you’re excited.

Ben Stein is!

As I think we all know, Fletcher was born in 1579. His father Richard was a cleric who was famed for his support of Mary, Queen of Scots. Despite elements of the pastoral being prevalent in most of his plays, his famed production of The Faithful Shepherdess is notable for its absence of pastoral themes despite its use of a shepherd. By playing against the typical stereotypes of shepherds…

Oh come on, Miles.

…what was that?

Nothing. Pay no attention to the man behind the italics!

Okay then.  Where was I? Oh yes. . by playing against the typical stereotypes of shepherd and failing to meet the expectations of the audience for a pastoral tragicomedy featuring dancers in gray coats, Fletcher met his one major failure in his career. Luckily, his works, especially in collaboration with Francis Beaumont, have solidified his place as…

God, Miles, has it really come to this?

Who is this? Kevin Rich, I hope it’s not you, playing a sick joke on us before you disappear…

Never mind who this is. Consider me a…concerned fan.

If you just tell me who you are, maybe we can address your concerns? It’s not Mara, is it?


Kenny Fedorko?

No, it’s not Kenny! Damn him and his love of shirts!

The speaker in italics may not be Kenny, but this picture is. The internet is a treasure trove of pictures from peoples’ pasts.

Issa! It’s you!?!?

Yes! You got me.

I never would have guessed. I mean, I thought you liked The Primer. I thought you were my biggest fan! What’s the problem exactly?

Frankly, I am shocked and disgusted at what this blog’s theatrical editorial has become. You know, I came to Kenyon for two reasons: disturbingly open access to debauchery, and a long, upstanding tradition of entertainment blogs.  Unfortunately, The Purinton Primer has devolved into nothing but a pedantic discussion of theatre’s most trivial aspects, and as a longtime member of The American Society of Individuals Against Theatre’s Most Trivial Aspects (ASIATMTA) I see no other course of action than to file a formal complaint.

How does one formally file a complaint about theatre blogs?

IRS Form 112-B66494-X. Federal journalism-regulation codes state that upon discovery of pedantic theatrical blogs and submission of the aforementioned form to authorities, a yearlong investigation into the offending blog will be initiated, funded by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and spearheaded by Ryan Seacrest. 

Ryan Seacrest?

Yes. The man knows more about the arts than any human being, alive or dead.

I find that hard to believe…

HE IS THE LAST BASTION OF ENLIGHTENED THEATRICAL UNDERSTANDING IN THIS GALAXY!  Anyway, if Lord-Thespian Seacrest finds the blog offensive, the author of said blog will be subject to PAIN AND PUNISHMENT BEYOND THEIR WILDEST IMAGINATION!!!

Issa, I’m not sure if any of that is true. I mean, Ryan Seacrest? The ASIATMTA-thingy?  The implication of theatre in other galaxies? Are you sure you’re alright? You’re sounding like an Oxfordian.

Silence, Purinton! XhraGnok, Lord of the Blog commands it! Your trivialities will be blanched from the earth! Your wicked words punished! Ygbar, the Destroyer shall return and shine this world in his editorial glory! All hail KFFFFrtreui!!!!!

Pictured- Ryan Seacrest.

Okay, okay, okay! Hold on, Issa. I can see you’re incredibly…um…passionate about The Thrill’s theatre blog.

Seacrest demands passion! Blood sacrifice to the Dark Ones! BARGOGGG!!!

Passionate. So, since I’m graduating this year anyway, why don’t you just take over for me? That way you can be sure to please Seacrest and all of your scary, Lovecraftian blog deities.

…Is this a trick?

No tricks, Issa. Seriously, you should take over for me. For old times’ sake. We’ve been through a lot together this semester, after all. Hamlet, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Icarus and Aria.

But your character in Icarus and Aria was untrustworthy.

So was yours.


Besides, someone has to take over for me as theater columnist next year. And you have all the qualifications.

Because I’m involved in the theater community?

Well, that. And also your last name starts with P. We can’t have it be called the Thompson Primer or something, that just sounds terrible.

Well, fine. I accept.

Wonderful! But, since this is the last Purinton Primer, would you mind me signing off?

It would be my pleasure, Mr. Barfee.

Thanks, Issa. I guess all there is to say now is that I hope you’ve enjoyed this column. I’d like to thank everyone at The Thrill for giving me the opportunity to write about such strange things. Not a lot of people would have seen the merit in my analyzing the character of Francisco in Hamlet, but, for better or for worse, you let me. Come to think of it, the same can be said for the theater community as a whole. A production of the worst play ever written that was performed with no rehearsals? And the house was packed! I’m truly grateful that madness is accepted as a theatrical talent in Gambier.

In general, I just hope my readers stay active in theater at Kenyon—there really is a wonderful community here and I’m so pleased I got to be a part of it. Furthermore, I’m glad that Issa Polstein will be taking over for me so that no one at Kenyon will be deprived of trivial, pretentious theatrical commentary. And, now, given Issa’s mention of Ryan Seacrest, there’s only one thing left to say.

Purinton out. Cue the Kokosing Farewell.

One response

Share your thoughts on this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: