Monday, September 24, 2012

Wherefore Art Thou?

Sound: a ringing in my ears and heart.

For those of you who do not know: At the age of 8, I first stepped on stage before an audience. I was a mere but worthy caroler in, you know it, A Christmas Carol. I was in third grade, I was just part of the choir. But it was just the beginning.

Then came the Big Move, and that following winter I performed- and sang again- in Newsies. I was Boots.

Another year later, and that was my first introduction to Shakespeare- I joined Shakespeare Conquest. To graduate the first portion, I had to read/watch/listen to at least 17 of his places. Then came the acting, my first play: Twelfth Night.

It's been true love ever since.

I was going through the list of his 36 plays and I recall 21, the other 15 having never held any interest. And I've read many of those 21 plays several times. I cannot think of all the hours I have spent in production of some of those plays along with reading and watching and just EVERYTHING.

The ones I've performed in:
Twelfth Night -Gideon
A Midsummer Night's Dream -Her...? Hermia!
Romeo And Juliet- Balthasar
As You Like It - Silvius
The Comedy Of Errors- Dromio of Ephesus

I think that's the right order? I also redid pieces of Twelfth Night as Olivia [Jenessa, is that right? It's been so long!] and As You Like It as Touchstone- those for the Annual Shakespeare Festival held every April in Balboa Park, CA by their Old Globe Theatre. Actually my last year there, we did a piece of the Comedy of Errors, and I got an award for it. YAY!

Um but yes. Yes.

I feel like I was meant to be Shakespeare's soul mate sometimes.
If I ever get to meet him- I may spontaneously combust.

I feel like these truly are the stories of my childhood, though I didn't begin until I was about 12. But they took  many of my years growing up, and I gave them freely. I've seen so many movies of them, I've reread many of the plays, and I have been lucky enough to see a few performed.

All new SUU students are able to participate in the new Thunderbard project [witty or what??]. For one, there's a new minor: Shakespeare Studies or something like that.  [HEAVENS YES I FOUND IT (and at a decent price at that)] AND anyways so there have been workshops on discussing pieces of Hamlet, the play they picked alongside The Shakespeare Festival held here in Cedar City every summer.


Fangirling a lot here, seriously.

I miss the stage, I realized. It's just incredible.

I was in the fifth row, on the edge by the steps which the actors took advantage of. I cannot say enough about this! I loved the movie by Kenneth Branagh, he is just a wonderful Shakespearean, I cannot say enough about him. 

And think about it, Hamlet is pretty tough to portray. Not only are you trying to help an audience understand Old English which very few understand any more- while acting as a man who may or may not be mad! A lunatic, honestly. It's one of Shakespeare's most intriguing plays, indeed.

In fact I was at the workshop last Friday- and nearly started freaking out then because I'd missed it so!

At first, I wasn't sure I'd be impressed. I mean, they did good with slightly modern dress- sort of 20's era, almost? But still modern. I mean, Hamlet came out with hair in a ponytail and ill-fitting loose suit. Everything was stiff, just "eh" I was almost disappointed!

But then Hamlet saw his father's ghost- which they portrayed as a light, because let's face it, most ghosts on stages aren't too awesome nor creative, it's 'just hard. But yeah, after that... like he lost his mind and that's how the play just really came together. He came out with really short hair and I kid you not, a goth jacket [long with slits and zippers, everything!] and big combat boots. INGENIUS!

They worked so well with the costumes- Gertrude was always in red, like the sinner she played [and yet for the first time, I actually felt sorry for Hamlet's mother- first time ever! Lovely actress!]. Claudius wore white- until Hamlet's play with the actors where we really knew he was the murderer- and then he began wearing black like the murderer he was. Ophelia was always in white. 

She was pretty good, played such a delicate part that was pretty tough to do. I loved her last scene, when she's handing out the flowers- but all she had were long nails! Ugh, it was just incredible.

Oh okay okay OKAY- tiny piece but it made such an impact: after the play within the play, Hamlet was called to his mother's bedchamber to talk to her. He has that quick monologue, how he will talk with knives but have no daggers there [something like that? anyways, he lied because he used his pocket knife to kill Polonius]- but he stares off madly, starts running up the stairs just to my right- and yells "MOTHER!"

It made me shiver, it was just so.... Skldfjalskdjfakdsjfsakdfjadskfj!!!! YOU KNOW? Insane, irrational, yet calm and conniving and just it's so maddening and lovely and genius.

Final piece to go crazy about: the play ran by WAY too quickly and suddenly Laertes was literally banging on the door to the King and Queen and then they were plotting Hamlet's demise [just the first two, that's when the Queen became a real alcoholic], and then the final scene.

IT WAS THE COOLEST SWORD FIGHT EVER ON STAGE. They pushed a table across, they had actors running around to avoid it, those people seriously knew what they were doing. It was incredibly impressive, I couldn't believe it. It was pure MADNESS. Carefully orchestrated, of course, but still. To be honest, the trade of the knives and the two woundings/poisonings/murders [no, three, don't forget the King as well] didn't flash so well as they could have at first, they almost lacked momentum- but it did catch up fast, indeed.

But seriously. I was on the edge of my seat from all the awesomeness.

Granted, there are a few pieces in the play where I had some BRILLIANT ideas for the actors that would have made it a teeny bit better. But still, granted without my assistance, it still rocked. Like, insanely.

Actually, I do feel that if the Shakespeare Festival here in Cedar met with the professionals of the Old Globe Theater back at Balboa Park- every stage might explode from sheer amazement of what could be done. 

You know how people say that there are a few things we are meant to do, a few passions we are meant to keep, to grow, to share?
THEATER!!! Mostly Shakespeare granted, but I'm definitely leaning towards some Broadway [in Vegas on Nov 20-25 they'll be doing a production of The Addams Family- THE FREAKING ADDAMS FAMILY] so since that's my dad's Birthday week, and he's the one who got me such a fan of that freak family, I think we should go. Don't you?

I'm going to be a writer. Don't know if I'll be an actor- maybe little pieces? But I do love the big ones... I'm just such a reserved person, I'm not willing to do just anything and be that crazy and outgoing, I have too many limits at the time being...

Definitely looking to write the next Wicked. Or something like that. I kid you not, I am ready. All I need is a musician to put those momentus pieces together and we could very well have a great production just waiting to be performed by professionals. 

1 comment:

  1. You're crazy. And i don't remember what parts you played! Goodness. lol But uh...I miss Shakespeare. :( Maybe I'll have to watch a movie or two while I'm out of commission this week. And I'm SO jealous!
    No wait, so EXCITED for you and I can't wait to go to a play at the Shakespeare Festival!