Thursday, March 24, 2011
Privy Thee what??
If I'm not mistaken the last time I read, listened to or slogged through a performance of a Shakespeare play was probably somewhere in the late 70's. If this makes me a cultural moron, I am more than willing to accept that moniker. If it counts for anything I do catch the occasional showing of some celluloid version of William's works, but to be honest movies are exempt from "true Shakespearean" experience due to the ultimate dumbing down of Shakespearean-speak for the average joe. I am grateful for this.
Last night bookmarked the end of that drought. The SF School has a tradition of having the 8th grade class put on a full-on Shakespeare Play during their 8th grade year. This year we were treated to a truncated 90 minute rendition of "As You Like It." They read the full play in language arts (Shakespeare on one side of the page / translation on the other) so that they knew what they were doing up there. Between you and me - - it might have been helpful to have had the parents do a little tutorial ourselves.
Thankfully, the playbill contained a very broad synopsis of the play. This was so very kind of them. At least I had some general concept of what was supposed to be going on. But given the VERY wide artistic license utilized by the directors of the play (i.e. there were some fairly large chunks of the play omitted), some of us were a little slow on the uptake upon the introduction of each new scene (who's talking? Where are we? What's going on?). It would have been a whole lot easier to get some bearings based on the scenery - - 'cept the director also felt that using a simple set consisting two risers was the vision she was going for. We were, however treated to some surround sound sound-effects thanks to some well placed folks in the audience who would made various bird sounds and forest noises (chirping signifying day - owls hooting signifying night) upon the change of scene. Creative for sure.
By all accounts the kids did really well. It's an amazing undertaking to put together this kind of performance. They remembered their lines. There were some moments of true artistry. They sported the costumes with aplomb - and the staff was wise enough to forgo any tight wearing for the boys.
George the younger's official role, as noted in the playbill, was "Lord 2." Basically he nailed the part of one of Duke Senior's thugs. He had one line - something about being happy to set out to find whoever it was that Duke Senior wanted dead or alive. He didn't physically sport any dark sunglasses with his tunic, tight black pants, cool black boots and what looked like a fez on his head, but they were definitely implied in his "muscle" demeanor :)
I've heard that there are going to be some photos of the performance, so hopefully we'll some good shots of George the Younger looking menacing in a fez. Until then, congrats on a performance well done - - even if there were parts of the evening when I neither understood a single word of what was being articulated, had any idea who was speaking or whether the actors were in a hall, a forest or a cave. But that was my problem. They did great!