When I first heard that we were going to be bringing to the stage Shakespeare I thought to myself “Oh god this is going to suck.” Then when I heard that the show, in particular, was A Midsummer Night’s Dream I thought “Oh my god this is really going to suck.”
But, after working with director Lester Malizia I realized some of my preconceived notions of Shakespeare are wrong.
Now I know many people hold Shakespeare in the highest regards as the epitome of the theatre. I, for one, have never understood this notion and have always thought of old Bill Shakespeare’s works to be nothing more than popularized historical pieces. Furthermore, these pieces in their own right have some rightfully earned esteemed as great pieces of work, but never as the highest tier of Shakespeare.
At the same time, I have always dreaded doing Shakespeare because the writing is weird and the language is difficult if you have no idea what you are saying, thus making acting nigh impossible. But after learning just what the heck I was saying, and after Lester, a well versed Shakespearian veteran, told me not to think of it as anything more than a normal play, I have come back to one of my original notions: Shakespeare is just a playwright and A Midsummer Night’s Dream just happens to be one of his plays, no greater or lesser than any play in the realm of theatre.
The only difference being the language, and that this era of theater has the acting built into the lines, whereas modern shows add the acting atop of or after the lines.
After I got out of my own head, and with Lester’s direction, this is the first time I have ever enjoyed Shakespeare. This is the first time I was able to understand what Ol’ Bill was trying to say to us, mostly sexual innuendos mind you, and this is the first time where I have looked at a Shakespeare piece as nothing more than any other play I have performed.
After this realization I feel confident that I could pick up any piece of Shakespeare and go through it and perform in a somewhat pleasing fashion, as Shakespeare is not special, it’s just different.