A Summer Night and Shakespeare

Can one desire too much of a good thing?  ~As You Like It, Shakespeare

Shakespeare.  Just the name conjures memories of wading through at least one play in high school for most of us.  Depending on the teacher it could be a wince producing experience or the start of a lifelong love affair with his work.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  In high school reading Romeo and Juliet out loud was torturous, but seeing the movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli was magical and suddenly the words made sense.  Besides, all the eye candy on screen didn’t hurt either 🙂

I’ve had opportunities to see other plays over the years and most recently I saw Richard III at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The venue was wonderful and the play…well, Shakespeare – what more needs to be said.  It was fun laughing at the sly humor throughout  and to hear the clashing of swords in the final battle.  The Bard certainly had a way with the written word that resonates even today.  It is amazing how many lines from his plays are used in everyday conversation!

Truthfully, I know just enough about Richard III to speculate about the figure Shakespeare depicted, but not enough to argue its accuracy.  I do know Richard III was a warrior, commanding armies while still very young.  To me that means he had to have been physically able and strong bodied, not the limping, twisted wreck of a man Shakespeare led us to believe he was.  Although the recent discovery of his remains verifies his spine was twisted, I don’t think it was enough to give him the deformities represented on stage.  As for the evil deeds attributed to him, I haven’t a clue whether they are factual or exaggerated.  What I can tell you is I was absorbed from the opening line.

I understand people from all over the world travel to Ashland, Oregon each year to attend the summer long festival and catch as many plays as they can pack in during their visit.  I don’t blame them.  It was quite an experience.