Pinch, punch, first of the month... And thus the first day in the 38 Plays: 38 Days challenge to read a Shakespeare play every day for the next thirty-eight days (or thirty-nine if we read on and bag The Reign of King Edward III).
Today, we start with The Two Gentlemen of Verona (which is online at e.g. Project Gutenberg; I'm using The Oxford Shakespeare). Wikipedia's synopsis reads:
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play, and is often seen as his first tentative steps in laying out some of the themes and tropes with which he would later deal in more detail; for example, it is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. Two Gentlemen also has the smallest cast of any of Shakespeare's plays.
The play deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity, the conflict between friendship and love, and the foolish behaviour of people in love. The highlight of the play is considered by some to be Launce, the clownish servant of Proteus, and his dog Crab, to whom "the most scene-stealing non-speaking role in the canon" has been attributed.