Sunday, June 04, 2006

Shakespeare in the park

How now, brown cow?

Last night we strolled over to the park to watch a creative adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Perhaps not the best subject matter for our children, or was it?

This foray into the land of dramatic arts was Einstein's brainchild, and I knew there was no hope of actually watching the play itself. Kitty Bill and Moonshine can barely sit through dinner, did we really expect them to sit through Shakespeare? And what of Sunburst? How do seven-year-olds fare with the Olde English language? Doth thine ears quiver and thine head shaketh when thou speaketh? Would she dig the language and even get the faintest hint at what was going on? More so, did I want her to?

Twelfth Night is a story about a love triangle. Viola, disguised as a man, loves the duke. The duke loves Olivia, and Olivia loves Cesario (erm, Viola.) There's a bit more to it than that, obviously, but that's the gyst. While Kitty Bill and I watched Moonshine play on the playground, Einstein and Sunburst tried to decipher what was actually happening on the stage:

"If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!"

Sunburst didn't really get the plot, but she adored it. She desperately wanted to know what was happening and couldn't take her eyes off the stage. During Intermission, Einstein walked her backstage and let her look around. She was awestruck! Later she told me there was a table full of food and books and lots of people in costume stumbling around. One of them even mimed to her. She found the entire thing fascinating.

On the way home, she had more questions than she knew what to do with.
  • How do they know what to say?
  • What's a script?
  • Did that guy, uh... Headspeare or whatever you called him, write the script?
  • Are there books about this stuff?
  • What was actually happening?
  • Why did that girl dress in the fisherman's clothes?
  • How does it end?
We left after Intermission, which was well after bedtime. Sunburst wanted to know right away what it was really all about. Einstein told her they could look for a book tomorrow at the library, but that wasn't quite fast enough for her. She had to know now.

"Aw Dad, can't we just google it?"

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