Monkeys are smart. Though they haven't created cars or trains or weapon, they are educated through simplicity. They flourish on what they have, and if something doesn't work, they don't give up, but they evolve to overcome it. Like monkeys, Shakespeare had no thesaurus, no dictionary, no laptop and no editor. But when he came to a spot where he was at loss for words, he made up his own words. Through practice, perseverance and certainly trial and error, he created works that will last forever.

I am a 13 year old kid who is trying to read and attend live performances of all 37 Shakespeare plays (plus 3 possible collaborations) in 2 years. This is a record of my experiences.

I am now a 19 year old college freshmen at Northwestern University, pursuing a degree in Theatre. The spark of love for Shakespeare that began this blog has grown into a roaring fire. That fire burns a little bit brighter each day. This is where it all began.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Bridge Project

[4] Dillane walked on stage to signal the start of BAM theatre’s The Tempest, on March 10, 2010, like it was nothing extraordinary. He just strolled on as if he did this every day. As he donned his magic apparel, he began to circle a sand pit in the center of the stage.

As he walked, the men on the ship began to appear, and simulated a tempest, which Ariel (Christian Camerago) seemed to instigate. From that point on, the audience was hurled into the world of Prospero, and no one looked back.

The set was minimal. It had a couple of little things, like a camouflaged hole in the sand pit (which facilitated a coup de theatre [Thee-atre] when Caliban’s hand shot up through it to make his entrance) and a shallow pool of water in the back.

This really brought out the genius of the direction. There were too many great things about this play for me to explain all of them, so I am going to go through all the characters, compare them to their As You Like It counterparts, rate their performances, and then wrap things up.

Stephen Dillane, Prospero: Amazing. Simply amazing. So much better than his Jaques, you would not know that the two were the same actor. It wasn’t just Prospero’s casual style, or his powerful words, but it was his body language that really set the bar. His reactions and actions were so devoted, so meaning full, that you really believed what he was saying. He kept the character at a slow pace throughout the play, which gave the audience time to ponder the beautiful language and the hidden meanings. The only place he really stepped out of character was the epilogue, where he threw his book into the water without a shred of remorse and spoke the words too quickly, and with no real rhythm.

Christian Camarago, Ariel: White face paint, a black suite, and a heck of a performance. I don’t know if he was just playing a role better suited to him, or if he was extra pumped up on that particular night, or if he just made a bad first impression. But regardless, he showed everyone there how Ariel should be done. He dawned metal wings and terrorized the stage, he snuck around with a rattle and tricked other actors. He begged for freedom, he tormented Caliban. But whatever he did, he did it well. He was miles ahead of his Orlando. He spoke his lines with power, he owned the island. His physical attributes made him a much more authoritative figure. He didn’t play Ariel, he was Ariel.

Ron Cephas Jones, Caliban: He played the part somewhat happily. This can be taken one of a million ways, but I’ll name the two most prominent; he A. broke the boundaries set by the character, and it did not work out, or B. he showed that Caliban actually believed that Stephano was a god. Yes, he did break the barrier, but yes again, he also showed that Caliban believed Stephano. He was like a child. When the music of Ariel began to play, he danced to it. That is not the same, futile, cliché Caliban. It showed that Caliban really wanted to help and aid his god, and was all the more tricked. But when the trick was over, he wasn’t heart broken, but he went off searching for the god that would not be fake. He was much more effective than Charles the Wrestler.


Juliet Rylance, Miranda and Edward Bennett, Ferdinand: She was actually the only person in the play who was stronger in As You Like It. She was a fantastic Rosalind, but her Miranda faltered a bit. She has a raspy voice, and she did not get the chance to physically act the way she did in As You Like It so she was relying on her ability to annunciate and speak well, and she just didn’t have it. He was pretty good, better than Oliver. He spoke his lines with a lot of passion and bravado, but he didn’t have very much chemistry with Miranda, although that is a falter on both parts.

Thanks to Matthew Yeager at BAM for help with the photos!