Thursday, November 5, 2009

Love's Labour Lost

I went to a Shakespeare play. Not just any Shakespeare play, but a good one, put on by Skakespeare's own Globe Theatre Company. With proper British accents, impeccable acting, beautiful singing, and a lot of laughter. I felt compelled to attend because I am neither an English major, nor am I knowledgeable about Shakespeare. I read the requisite Romeo and Juliet and Julius Ceasar and I'm sure a few sonnets in high school but that's about it. I recall Shakespeare being difficult to understand, and having to go line by line through the parts in order to understand nuances and innuendo and to get the the gist of it all. In general, I think I had pretty good English teachers who helped me to understand the interesting parts of the plays. I also recall them being very minimalist, not describing a single direction or stage cue or lighting or anything. Which, in general, makes them a wonderful thing to interpret, right? I enjoyed Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet when I was a kid, most probably because it had the My So-Called life girl in it with Leonardo DiCaprio. And I had read it before, thanks to Mr. Lewis, I believe in freshman year English.
However, this was different. A true acting troupe, fully realizing the characters on stage. The performance was wonderful, beginning with a group of musicians wandering about the area outside the theatre, playing lovely tunes on their (presumably) 16th-17th century era instruments. There was no curtain, and the actors marched into the theatre together, along with the musicians. The actors were truly brilliant: pantomiming, enunciating, emphasizing Shakespeare's unbelievable ability to write poetry. The costumes were beautiful, and the storyline and plot was truly hysterical. I am so glad I took the time to see Shakespeare performed as I would imagine it was performed way back when. I am hoping to not be so intimidated to see another difficult play again. And, surprisingly, the second act was much easier to follow than the first. I guess I must have a small English major deep within my psyche!

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