Friday, 10 July 2009
A Shakespeare experience
We went to an outdoor production of a Shakespeare play last night (it was meant to be a birthday treat for our neighbour). All very posh. Country house, wonderful gardens, picnics with champagne and everyone being very English and pretending that it was warm when it was absolutely freeeeezing. So far so (fairly) good. But the play (better not say which, in case) was appalling. The actors couldn't act, couldn't speak up, couldn't put any expression into what they said, and we were bored stiff (and still freezing). Half time came. We looked at one another. Shall we go home? we whispered. YES! We gathered up our picnic things and escaped, feeling triumphant and guilty in equal measure, and tore home for a warming cup of tea (we'd run out of whisky). The whole episode leaves me with two unanswered queistons. (1) Was everyone else really enjoying themselves, or was it an emperor's new clothes kind of thing (which I suppose makes us little boys)? And (2) Should amateurs do Shakespeare at all? I think that with Shakespeare plays the plot is a vehicle for the wonderful words, rather than the other way round, and last night the words just weren't wonderful (or audible).