I’m about to say something no respectable Theatre Arts major should ever say (Certainly not a “Sweetheart of the Stage.” Seriously that was written about me? I honestly don’t have any recollection of that and would say you were lying if I hadn’t just found the college newspaper clipping.) but here I go … I don’t like Shakespeare. GASP. It’s just so BOOORRRRIIINNNG. Shakespeare lovers are shaking their head and tsk tsking me. “It’s not boring at all,” they will exclaim, “there is love and death and incest and magic. Everything you could possibly ever want in a story.” Ok sure. Unfortunately it is all wrapped up in annoying unreadable poetry.
I know wherefore art I speak (see it’s ridiculous). In college I was Rosalind in As You Like It. You know who Rosalind is? She is the chick who pretends she is a guy and WON’T SHUT UP. Seriously she talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks. It’s exhausting. The rest of the cast and crew got to hang out back stage having fun and playing games and I was on stage throwing out words that 3/4 of the audience couldn’t understand. They had to be there because they received English credit for sleeping through/seeing the production. Now I’m not one to complain about a leading role but COME ON. That gal needs to back up and take a breath now and then. Unless you are there just to practice your craft part of the college theatre experience is the backstage shenanigans. Something the actor playing Rosalind gets no part of.
I have a friend who is a BRILLIANT actor and she is in an all woman’s Shakespeare group. I’ve seen one of their performances and they really are spectacular. She was recently in something and I really wanted to go to support her but I just couldn’t pull myself to the theatre to sit through the production. Let’s face it there is no way I’m going to concentrate that hard to understand what is being said. I’ll follow you along the big actions that involve someone cutting off someone elses head and such, but beyond that I’m lost. I’m not saying I couldn’t follow it I’m saying I don’t want to. I feel bad about that. Not too bad though.
I don’t even want to see movie versions of Shakespeare plays. If you update them to the point that the only thing left is the general plot then that’s ok. West Side Story is terrific. If you just set it in some fancy world and keep all the iambic pentameter than screw you. Unless it’s Patrick Stewart doing a one man show (that man can do no wrong) then I want nothing to do with it. No amount of glittery beautiful costumes and awesome scenery can offset the fact that I can’t understand what that “fool” just said let alone understand why he is a “fool” when he isn’t the least bit funny.
Then there is the dude himself. I guess it isn’t so much him as all the post scholars who debate who he was. Who gives a crap? Shakespeare, Bacon, Marlowe, does it matter? They are all dead. WAAAAAAYYYYY DEAD. Who gives a flying flip? It doesn’t change the plays and sonnets one bit. Just accept that there was some dude who wrote this dribble and move on. The one thing I will give him is his ability to make up words and make us all think that is a-ok. When something ridiculous comes out of my mouth and is questioned my response is, “If Shakespeare can make up words so can I.” So thanks for that Shakespeare or Marlowe or Bacon or whomever.
Different but related subject. I’m the first to say that a student who graduates with a Theatre Arts degree is better suited to succeed in the real world than most degrees. You laugh but these are the folks that worked day and night for an end goal and deadline. There was no “can’t” they just made it happen. These are folks that have learned the skills of emotional manipulation and public speaking. These students haven’t been able to just do what they want but instead have had to help others for the good of the team’s goal. Granted my Theatre Arts major isn’t doing me any good right this second but I’m confident that my success in business and sales started with the training I received on and behind the stage. Although when I look back through all the pictures I have what I miss most about being on stage is the fabulous costumes! Perhaps I need to add more flair to my daily life.
Now to show you how innocent I was here are a few Wendy quotes from that article I mentioned earlier:
“Newell believes that none of the work that goes into a production should be considered most important. … ‘I don’t think a good actor is someone who acts for himself. A good actor will share energy with everyone involved; backstage crew, audience, as well as those on stage. A selfish actor has no business on stage.'”
“When asked why she loves acting … ‘It’s an interesting way to share energy with other people in a good way; in a positive way.'”
Wasn’t I just adorable?