The Beauty Of Live Theater

“The Whole World’s A Stage and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

The “seven ages” according to experts analyzing Shakespeare’s thought process is as follows:

Infant, schoolboy/girl, lover, soldier, pantalone (someone at the top of his or her game/ social order), old age, and of course… death.

The reason I mention the above quote is because of it’s complexity illustrated in a wonderfully simplistic phrase, both poetic and truthful… One of the greatest thoughts ever expressed on stage.

As we wander down a path that seems to change with the ebbs and flows of people, places, and jobs… we add layers of flavor to our personas that many have called “the spice of life”. For some this analysis makes no sense because their comfort zone lies in the repetition of working, eating, sleeping, rinse and repeat.

But for me, life is a cabernet to be drunk slowly. Let us enjoy all the nuances of the people, places, and of course the amazing meals that connects to the unexpected daily tapestry written in a book illustrated by our dreams.

Having said all that there is nothing quite as relaxing, sometimes invigorating, and usually entertaining as live theatre (this is most certainly part of the above mentioned tapestry).

Nancy and I journeyed to go see “I Hate Hamlet” at the Festival Theatre during the Neil Simon Festival in Cedar City Utah. The Neil Simon Festival is relatively new and is the brain child of former principle member of the Tony award winning Cedar City Shakespeare Festival, Peter Sham.

Directed by Richard Bugg this play is set in modern times. In 1987 the playwright, Paul Rudnick, rented an apartment on the top floor of a Greenwich Village brownstone. He learned that John Barrymore had once lived in it and that he had renovated the space into, what the real estate ad described as a “medieval duplex”. A year later Rudnick felt compelled to write a play about both the apartment and the legacy of John Barrymore.

Barrymore’s interpretation of Hamlet is widely considered one of the best of all time. He was haunted by the character, just as the main character in this play, Andrew, is haunted by the ghost of Barrymore. Barrymore spent the rest of his life trying to match the power, grace, intensity, and impossible command of body language that he achieved in this performance.

The dialogue and interaction between Andrew (whom just got the part of Hamlet in a production in central park) and the ghost of Barrymore becomes much more than just a question of an actors portrayal or commitment. The story evolves into a question about choosing to pursue wealth or the honor and integrity of self-worth. At least once in our own lives we are faced with the same choice.

Take time to sip in the beauty around us and possibly that could include live theater. We are blessed to live in an age with so many events literally a click away. From enjoying a play, show, sporting event, or concert, and if the stars align just right, you may be taken beyond the time frame of the event and experience a long lasting memory.