|Photo from Shakespeare's Birthday 2011 by Lloyd Wolf|
Granted: I know Shakespeare. I first picked up Romeo and Juliet as a nerdlette 18 years ago, became obsessed with the Animated Tales for years, and was the only student in my 5th grade class to cross-dress for our living biography project so I could be Shakespeare.We're tight, is what I'm saying. I'm not your average first-time audience.
Still, though, it was sort of nice to see a Shakespeare play where all of the words were new to me (except for "What light is light if Sylvia be not by?..." I have seen Shakespeare in Love a few times).
And it just made me think of a small bit from a recent article by STC's former literary associate, Akiva Fox, the week I saw the show (the whole article is the genre-fication of Shakespeare and how that's hurting more than helping our audiences):
"I wish I could be shocked when Cordelia doesn’t make it—what a ballsy and maddening and vital way to end a play! I wish I could hear jealousy described as a “green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on” and remember what jealousy felt like and realize what an insanely original and right way that is to describe it. I want to be 15 again for that (and not for any other part of being 15), but I understand that genie is not easily rebottled."For one glorious evening, I was able to be surprised by Shakespeare again. I got to see him testing ideas for his later plays, playing with words in different ways, exploring the limits of a relationship. Yes, I will always feel something for Hamlet, and Juliet, and Beatrice - but to meet new characters for the first time after a lifetime of loving the old clique, it felt like a gift.
Now if only Coriolanus would come to DC, I could try it again!