Thursday, November 11, 2004

Part of the Cultural milieu

Be careful. There is no way this doesn't have political consequences.

This afternoon, we at Benedictine Academy had the good fortune to witness a group of New Jersey players perform Hamlet for us at Benedictine. The nearly dozen-person cast was good enough to spend time with the nearly 200 member student body after the performance. The relevant question was about the good and bad in each of us: none of us is all good nor all bad. The Claudius and Hamlet characters agreed that "it's good to be the bad guy". You get to explore the character in a way that's not available to the good guy.

For me, I knew the players "had" the audience when the young ladies (we're all women students here), were rising out of their seats to peer around those in front. You see, they played on floor level in the gym. It seemed the script was faithful to Shakespeare, but the staging, costuming were more contemporary. While the students (and I) had been prepared by a one-page script from our English/Drama teacher, the language seemed Elizabethan and parsimonious.

It's been said elsewhere. Simply characterize Shakespeare as "economy of ideas".

It was heartening to hear one of our ladies questions, "Do you perform other Shakespeare?" , when the players had admitted staging "Midsummer's Night Dream"; the number of students who realized the question was importune, were ready to help out the poor questioner.

The world should be so simple.

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