Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Love Affair with William Shakespeare

The biggest draw for me to come out here wasn't just London. Don't get me wrong, I've wanted to study theater in London since High School. But ever since I was a little girl I have loved the Bard. I remember when I was about eight or nine (I was in third grade) stumbling across a Macbeth speech in our encyclopedia. I memorized it quickly and remember walking around my room reciting it over and over again. (I can still recite this to this day)

Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

I remember as a child understanding what this speech meant, and trying to figure out the parts I didn't quite understand. I'm not sure what my first exposure to William Shakespeare was as a child. Because of my sister, Kendra, I'm sure my exposure was earlier than this. The point is, finding this speech and being so enthralled by the language was my first love affair with the Bard that I can remember. That was the day I fell in love with Shakespeare, and we've had many love affairs since. 

Throughout my life I find myself thirsting to know more about Shakespeare and know more about his life.

Recently I've started leaving my place on the stage and living more in my sewing room, and it's been torture at times. If I could study and perform Shakepeare the rest of my life, I would be happy. I don't even care if I get paid. (Although that would rock). I have this thirst to understand him more, to know his words more. I want to be able to read his plays and learn his language more. 

And I love this program. I can't believe how much I have learned. It's so overwhelming, but at the same time, It's not enough. I can't learn enough. Class is never long enough. I can't see enough shows. I can't read the plays enough. 

There's something in me that moves me, that affects me physically, about Shakespeare and the things he and Burbage's men accomplished that I can't describe. But it is one of my biggest passions. 

We went on a walking tour of London to sites that were meaningful to the development of Shakespeare, the Globe, and theater history in general. I couldn't believe how much history there was, and that these places existed, and I could see how they completely affected theater today as we know it. After our tour and a great lunch at Burrough Market, I went back to the Globe and was able to procure a ticket to see Hamlet. 

My first show at the Globe was Hamlet.

I cried. I did. I admit it. I walked into that theater, and I cried. I was so moved that a little girl who would walk around her house saying in my most grown up, serious voice, "Out! Out Brief Candle!" with as much feeling and gusto as I could, allowed her life to bring her to this moment. The moment where I stood in the Globe Theater and watched a production of Hamlet that left me breathless. 
It is a love affair, I imagine, that will go on for the rest of my life. Yes, whomever I end up marrying will have to share me with the Bard. Because he was my first love.

I know that everyone out there has had an experience with the Bard. That's one thing that makes him so amazing, he is so universal. Everyone can relate to one or more character. Some are a tortured Hamlet, some are an ambitious Lady Macbeth, some star cross'd lovers (who are also idiots), some are the misunderstood blundering Dogberry. I've always thought of myself as a Beatrice (probably wishful thinking there), although for most, it changes. After all, The world is a stage. So many characters, so much time, and so many lives. I believe that every person's relationship with Shakespeare is unique. Some even hate him (I don't get that, but whatever.) 
My relationship with the Bard is unique. I'd like to think. It's very special to me. And I hold it very dear. And keep this blog post, because I don't like to share about it much. If you don't know what your relationship with the Bard is, then I challenge you to find out. Doesn't have to be something huge. Read a play. Read it while you watch a movie. Find a quote of his that fits your life. When it doesn't apply, find a new one.
But before you dismiss him, remember: There's a reason this genius has been more performed and read than any other writer in the world. Just saying. 

And for those of you who say that shakespeare plays were written by multiple writers? Well, you're an idiot and obviously haven't gotten to know Shakespeare the man at all. :)

1 comment: :) said...

Mandee -- why don't you say how you really feel? LOL!! This is a beautiful post -- even though I know it, and know you, it opens a depth that not even I was as aware of as I should be. I can so see you as a child walking around memorizing these lines -- but wish I had been more attuned to your thoughts then. I'm not surprised that you're finding yourself here in Shakespeare land, though -- I've known for more than a year (since Germany) that you were walking towards 'your place'. That it includes this great talent, is not surprising. I am so very glad you are there, and that you are having these incredible realizations. Thanks, also for checking out "grandpa Edward"! Love you so! mom :)