“I never met a guy I didn’t like.” – Will Rogers.
He was born over four and a half centuries ago and yet we hardly know the guy, William Shakespeare. Hate him or love him you cannot ignore ‘Gentle Will.’ Your formal introduction? School! Your tor-mentors’ weapon of choice? A grainy video. In my day we used a little thing called a book with words ordered into rows like prisoners on a long death march to obscure pronunciation and existential confusion. My gaolers’ goal was to feed me small servings of Shakespeare with huge helpings of algebra and dodge ball. They failed well. I still love the Bard though I have never met the guy.
Allow me to introduce myself. Do take careful notes as this may be on the exam. Abruptly born on the Rock; exile to Winterpeg; a northern transfer to the sub-arctic; delivering newspapers while distant wolves howl over moonlit snowdrifts; back to the ‘Peg; caught the acting bug in high school; a BA at the U of Dub; an MFA at York U; motorcycle misadventures through Central America; offered a PhD; plays in Vancouver; screenplays in LA; and finally washing up off Dallas Road to found an in-tents Shakespeare festival. Those are the headlines. Glad to meet you. Air hug!
We now return you to regular grammar and programming already in progress.
The modest missives to follow will describe our ‘brave new world’ through a lens of articles ranging from rose-coloured shades to stained-glass windows. May it encompass the creative chaos of Shakespeare’s Southwark and the solemnity of his Holy Trinity Church. There is no journey’s end with him.
I am grateful to the mother ship MondayMag for this fine importunity to get it all blissfully wrong with the Bard. The dawn of the Twitter Wars soon breaks with an article series ominously titled “So Who Wrote Shakespeare?”
No exam today. Off you go!
– Robert Light is the Artistic Director with Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts