March 2nd, 2006

reach for a treasure by juno_magic

The Magic of The Bard

That’s why his work survives even today: despite the nearly incomprehensible Elizabethan language, his plays still possess the ability to captivate an eight-year-old!

Well, my eight-year-old, anyway.

Who can resist the capering Fool, the flourishes, the velvet plumed caps? My son may not understand the dialogue, but he recognizes a spectacle when he sees it.

The 6th – 8th graders at our school (a history-focus school) performed “Twelfth Night” this evening, and I gotta tell ya: I am impressed. These kids are what? Twelve to fourteen? They’ve memorized a freaking Shakespearean play! Granted … it’s a condensed version, but I’m impressed.

I loved the skinny adolescent legs in tights, the stage presence of the kids, and (my favorite bit of poetic justice) the majority of girls playing male parts.

Despite a degree in English and a college class in Shakespeare, I’ve never read “Twelfth Night.” I admitted this to my son as we took our seats. His class watched the dress rehearsal yesterday, so he took it upon himself to provide whispered explanations to me this evening: “That’s the Duke.” “That’s Viola. She’s pretending to be a boy.” “Oh, this is my favorite part. Isn’t Sir Toby Belch funny?!”

Amazing.

“Twelfth Night” contains the famous lines “If music be the food of love, play on,” and “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

Who knew?
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