Thursday, July 24, 2014

In Love With Shakespeare

When I was in the 9th grade, we read "Romeo and Juliet" in English class.  It was my first real exposure to Shakespeare.  When I look back on it, I'm not sure that I really did enjoy studying "Romeo and Juliet".  But at the time, I thought I did.  Shakespeare was certainly something that I thought I was supposed to love, so, I set out to love it in spite of myself.

The edition we were taught did not contain Juliet's monologue that begins "Gallop apace you fiery footed steeds . . . "  This monologue is Juliet wishing for night so she can have sex with Romeo.  I might have truly fallen in love with Shakespeare sooner if they hadn't cut that.

No, I didn't really fall for the Bard until my senior year when we read "Hamlet".  You don't realize how much of "Hamlet" you know until you read it for the first time.  Sure, we all say "To be or not to be" when we're trying to prove we know something about literature or Shakespeare or theater or Laurence Olivier, but there are so many familiar phrases in "Hamlet" that hit you with the stark realization that not only do you quote Shakespeare everyday but everyone else does too.  The English language wouldn't be the same without him. It's enough to justify every high school senior reading "Hamlet" in English class.

This spring, I got to fulfill a dream, literally, as I worked as the assistant director on a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  I've been involved in theater now for nearly 20 years and it's the first Shakespeare production I've been a part of.  I want to do it again.  Soon.  Everyone was just lovely on this production and the show we put up was well worth the price of admission if there had been a price.  You don't have to take my word for it!

Other than it being my first Shakespeare, it's hard to put my finger on why this production was among the personally most treasured of any I've been a part of.  I've been with amiable, hard-working actors and crew before.  Was it because the finished product was so good?  Was it because everyone involved wore more than one hat?  There was certainly a "Hey, let's put on a show!" vibe.  There was something magical going on, maybe the King and Queen of the Fairies, hand in hand, with fairy grace, did sing for us and bless the place.

New project/goal - figure out a way to get the money to keep this theater company going.