Monday, July 28, 2008

Shades of my college days....

Last evening I was invited by parishioners to attend a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night by a local dramatic troupe up in Warwick, New York, at the Warwick Valley Winery. It was an outdoor performance on an open-air stage. We brought lawn chairs and were able to buy food and drink from the winery's store. (The Chardonnay is very good, by the way!) It was very civilized, even though our intermission was brought forward a few scenes due to a rain squall. We all had a great time.

I was really intrigued to see this performance, for several reasons. Shakespeare in the Park is big in New York at Central Park in the summer, and all sorts of good actors take part. Consequently, tickets, although free, are very hard to get. So it was great to get a great seat and see what I thought was a fine performance with period dress and even a harpist playing Renaissance music beforehand. Reminds me of the performances of Shakespeare in the Park in Columbus that I went to as well. They did Shakespeare as well as musicals. I rememer seeing the Scottish play, King Lear, and several other ones as well, as well as the musical Camelot.

What was more interesting to me was the incredible fact that I actually played Sir Toby Belch in Capital University's production of Twelfth Night about twenty years ago, and I couldn't remember very many of my lines at all! Now I can recall almost all the music I sang with the Chapel Choir from the same period - we memorized our music, so I had to drill it as much as I did my lines as Sir Toby. But still, I had to confess that I didn't even remember how the play went except very broadly. And to not remember my lines. Admittedly, I'm not much used to Elizabethan English, and so the cadences don't lend themselves to sinking in like lyrics in sacred music. But still. I played the part in four or five performances and God knows how many rehearsals!

I'll get over it. But it's still a little weird.


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