Hello .... MARCH
It's nice that it's finally spring. However, it's making me miss last spring even more than I'd ever imagine.
Last spring was my final acting project in high school. And oh, how I miss it.
I've gotten this question a lot from people at college:
Why do you like Shakespeare?
or once finding out, I get a varied reaction of "Ouch," "Yikes", or "Well, that's rough."
Call me crazy, but I love it because it's the only subject matter I feel like I've learned the most from.
[Not to mention, I fell in love with it over being apart of amazing Shakespeare productions in high school, which was the catalyst that sparked my passion for acting]. Regardless, the characters, the stories, just about everything that has to do with Shakespeare's work gives me such meaning.
As You Like It. As You Like It. As You Like It. As You Like It.
The way I see it, everything- every book written post William Shakespeare, every movie produced, every contemporary narrative or play draws some notion of complex personalities, plot lines, and relationships from Shakespeare's texts.
Okay, so it's understandable that that may be a large assumption seeing as I can tell you I haven't read every piece of literary writing out there, but from my knowledge of what I have read, I always find myself discovering such distinctive parallels.
Shakespeare's writing has the ability to reveal the vast spectrum of human emotion in a most simplistic form: the dialogue of a play. It's all about bringing the muddled inner workings of a character out through graceful speech.
Every character in Shakespeare's works are relatable in some way, shape or form, to other characters within other contexts. These humanistic flaws imprinted in each character are feelings and emotions that all readers can relate to one way or another, no matter where you are from, what you do, or how old you may be.
Shakespeare's characters all have a tick.
The egotistical Macbeth, the sovereign Prospero, the lustful Juliet, the foolish Lear, the determined Viola, the sadistic Richard III, the guilty Lady Macbeth, the passionate Othello, the shrewish Kate, and the frivolous Demetrius and Lysander, to name a few-
They all embody notions found on the large spectrum of human emotion, and each of their stories follow main plights of humanity regarding revenge, jealousy and free spirited banter.
There will always be a bit of an egotistical and insane Macbeth in every mentally disturbed character.
There will always be a bit of a lustful Juliet in every pair of "star crossed lovers."
There will always be a bit of a determined Viola in any character (or anyone for that matter) who has ever wanted something so badly that they couldn't stand living without it.
And that, that is the genius of Shakespeare. This ability to capture emotions that are so difficult to put into words.
But it goes deeper than that.
Last spring, I was assistant director of my last Shakespeare show, a long with having two roles in the set of vignettes we performed. The show was entitled "Goodbyes," a collaboration of Shakespeare scenes in which there was a physical or literal goodbye. It was thus, our last farewell to our directors, audiences, and players whom we've worked with and loved for years.
To open the show, my good friend Megan and I were in charge of finding a monologue that would set the tone. I wanted to use As You Like It's "All the World's a Stage," but Meg wanted to use Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech.
After moments of bantering on which to use, we stopped and looked at the speeches, and then it hit us.
>>> Why don't we combine them into dialogue?
But here's the crazy part, it worked. Seamlessly.
You would figure that it would make no sense. But in turn, it was the complete opposite.
Key: Black- To be or Not to be
Pink- All the World's a Stage
"For his shrunk shank; and his big voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
With this regard-
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history
Their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste,
Both: sans everything."
It ran rather smooth. And although it did not fit perhaps as perfectly perfect as it could have, it worked together pretty damn well.
And that, ladies and gents, is precisely why I love Shakespeare: even if you mix it up, read it backwards, or read it wrong, you still will always have a message to take away from it.
Everyone can learn a thing or two about others, relationships, and themselves by reading his plays.
And that is a true test of talent.
"For his monument is ever living, made not of stone, but of verse."
Some of my favorites [in case anyone is curious]
- Twelfth Night
- The Tempest
- Midsummer Night's Dream
- Richard III
- As You Like It
- Taming of the Shrew
- Antony and Cleopatra
- Merry Wives of Windsor
- And just about everything else, as well.
And now, to switch things up a bit and pretend I'm witty and ironic, I'll end this post with a Stephen King quote about Shakespeare:
“A tragedy is a tragedy, and at the bottom, all tragedies are stupid. Give me a choice and I'll take A Midsummer Night's Dream over Hamlet every time. Any fool with steady hands and a working set of lungs can build up a house of cards and then blow it down, but it takes a genius to make people laugh.”
[* Just another reason why I love WS]