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.


Friday, September 24, 2010


All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare Theater Company, Washington D.C., 9/17/10
     All’s Well That Ends Well doesn’t end well. This is because the ending is impossible to perform at a high standard. The actors aren’t to blame. Nor is it the fault of the director. No, in this case the shortcoming falls on the playwright. This is because the ending becomes an entirely different play. The characters change about 75% opposite of their previous selves. It’s not as easy as just becoming the opposite, but it’s still a drastic change.  It takes serious acting talent to be able to judge where to stop so that there is a glimmer of the true character that doesn’t fully disappear. Also they all change at different times in the same scene, while onstage. This means the actors also have to be able to morph in performance. To really pull this off, it takes raw acting talent. A lot of it. And this is not common. So most people have trouble performing such a challenging thing. Can you blame ‘em?
     The one thing about this play that really didn’t work for me was the set. The stage was bare, with a metal gazebo above it. The back drop was a sky. The idea was that it could take place anytime, anywhere. This worked when they turned it into a train station by projecting a dark wall on the back and lowering a clock. But for the other sets it seemed bland and monotonic. The direction kept Helena motionless, front and center for most of her scenes, which violated the idea of her being a courteous and faithful servant, as she was always the center of attention. The costumes were extremely effective. They were somewhat pre WWI but not completely. Like soldiers had old-fashioned garments as well as 20th century ones. This left it up in the air.
     Helena herself was quiet. She didn’t project or seem to get excited over Bertram. This showed that she had given up on the thought of being with him at all. At the end she clearly showed the talent she possessed. She switched into the role of the ‘mission accomplished’ very well. Bertram was an arrogant jerk even in the end. This worked, because he never made the switch at all. He utilized the fact that it was not as effective to do what Shakespeare wrote because it’s so hard to do it right.
     The Countess Roussillon was one dimensional. She neither emotionally changed nor did she stay the same when the end came. She just seemed to emotionally disappear. She didn’t react or speak with any sense of caring.  Paroles was slick. He slid in an arrogant comment here and there until Lafew called him on it. Then he began to self destruct. In the end he became a monk like figure. He quietly accepted all insults that were thrown at him. Lafew was pretty mean to Paroles in the way he physically treated him. He made gestures that indicated he didn’t think Paroles was even worth a thought. But in the end his grandpa side came out and he softened. The king was a by-polar king. He either spoke in a quiet rage or a slow joyous stream. The production had its flaws, but all in all it was the play that brought it down. 

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