Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love's Labour's Lost

About four years ago, I went to see the Southwest Shakespeare Company's rendition of George Bernard Shaw's play Pgymalion with school; I liked it so much that I had to go see it again--I think I was very afraid of forgetting anything about it. I was afraid of temporality.

I have no idea how I haven't managed since to see another play by this company--I have wanted to, very much wanted to, even. So it was a happy sort of occurrence that I was required to see Love's Labour's Lost for one of my classes this semester; given that we also have to write a short paper on the production, I won't be going into much critical detail here, but I do want to give a few thoughts.

A few thoughts perhaps on how wonderful it is to see a live performance unfold before you. I don't generally like Shakespeare much (sacrilege for a literature major, perhaps), but I love seeing things live (though I don't often get the opportunity). Reading one of this plays is like staring at puns on a page, but watching one is watching what the actors (and everyone else involved) bring to the stage. Their gestures often cause more laughs than their words themselves.

I was a little disappointed, overall, by Berowne: I was expecting him to be more vibrant and silly like he was in another (recorded) production, so he didn't stand out so much to me. But Costard, Costard was great--the actor's biography mentions how much he loves Shakespeare and it shows. He was a scene-stealer because of his tactile approach to the role. Armado and Moth were also great in their scenes. Do you notice the trend here? I found myself enjoying the "lower classes"/the comedic roles more than the main gentry characters.

I also realized that I was seeing, for the first time live, many things I knew much about. When I first read the play-within-the-play, I was bored to see it once again (it's also in Hamlet), but it was entirely different to see onstage. There was a musical component to this play, culminating in the ending song that almost acted like a bridge between the play's world and our world. So that's it: colliding of worlds, worlds of fiction and reality--that's what's amazing about seeing plays live.

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