June 08, 2005

Shakespeare's long haul

How does Shakespeare's appeal hold for so long? How many years has it been; close to four hundred years since he wrote and yet a rendition of Julius Caesar on Broadway runs to packed houses, as does an amateur high school presentation of As You Like It in a sheep rearing county of New Zealand. There's a Stephen Beresford, who relocates Shakespeare's romantic comedy "Twelfth Night" from the island of Illyria to the state of Kerala, in southern India! Drama clubs in universities and colleges never tire of presenting Shakespeare plays and have artists vying to be a part of that production. A recent Bollywood (film industry in India) film sold itself by an introductory credit saying the film was based on Shakespeare's Macbeth! Marlon Brando* will forever be remembered 'the best Hamlet ever', just as audiences in New York can't wait to see Denzel Washington as the very first black Brutus, a Broadway show that has already grossed a million dollars in profit upto this point.

I still remember memorizing entire soliloquies, some of which I can still recite, at the behest of my english teacher who I think was madly in love with many of these Shakespearan characters. Her readings are vivid in my mind even today, and that may be partly because that kind of passion is contagious because I fell in love; with Shakespeare! I wonder if it would have been this way had I had another teacher. In which case all those folks who are spending a hundred odd dollars or more to buy a ticket for that Broadway show must have all had similar teachers as mine! Hard to imagine, but a possibility nevertheless.

How often have these lines recited themselves back to me at crucial junctures in my quite so very ordinary love life:
"But love is blind, and lovers cannot see", "Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better", "The course of true love never did run smooth".
Just as I have found solace and inspiration during trying times by reflecting on these:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be", "Brevity is the soul of wit", "Et tu, Brute!", "Now is the winter of our discontent".
Shakespeare rocks because he has it all! He sure as hell 'shakes the sphere' and it's not just the 'The Globe' we are talking about.
* It's Lawrence Oliviere not Marlon Brando (thanks 'starkindler2')

1 comment:

Starkindler said...

ole bill still rocks, verily, but gone are the times when women could be wooed with hastily memorised lines from the bard. but his beauty and efficiency of expression still remain, and his themes are relelvant to life in general, and that's why he is eternal.

and, err, marlon brando never played hamlet. he was known as the 'best marc antony ever'.