I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve tried to warm up to Shakespeare, and I just cannot do it. I was in The Merchant of Venice in high school, and I’ve seen a college stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, film adaptations of both Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet, and my daughter performed in a version of Twelfth Night. Try as I might, none has ever stuck with me.
Then last spring, I was invited to audition for a modern retelling of Othello for a “Shakespeare on Main Street” performance. I visited one audition, but it was not the type of stage production I like to perform in.
Tonight we just returned from another college adaptation, this time for Macbeth. The performers did well, the roles were convincing, and the sword fights were amazing. Oh, and Lady Macbeth’s climactic scene, where she was unable to wash away the everlasting blood, was extremely well done.
Yet, I was still unmoved. While the second act was much easier to understand, personally it was still not enough to convert me. There were numerous audience members who laughed in places I assume were appropriate, and many others chatted up the depth of Shakespeare’s words. I was part of neither group. Perhaps, even though I enjoy theater, I remain uncultured.
As I write this, and in an effort to redeem myself, I’m listening in the background to a Public Television modern retelling of Macbeth. It stars Patrick Stewart and, I must admit, I’m enjoying Shakespeare. Well, I’m enjoying Patrick Stewart, anyhow.
What about you? Are you a fan of the Bard? Please leave a comment!