Friday, June 29, 2012

What You Will

You can't see that Malvolio's cross-gartered stockings are bright yellow.
I have been lucky enough to recently come into possession of an Android phone. One of my favourite things about having such a clever phone is the Kindle app. I can put so many beautiful books in my pocket and there are many many many of them for which I don't even have to pay. A consequence of this is that this morning I (re)read Twelfth Night. I first read it in high school, inspired, I think, by Shakespeare in Love, which was our grade twelve English film study. (I know I wrote an essay comparing the film and the play, but I don't remember exactly why I chose that topic or if I read the play specifically for the essay.) I realised recently that I haven't touched Shakespeare since starting university and today I remembered just why that really is a pity.

Plays are fun to read and Shakespeare is just plain clever. I can fly from my cosy curled-up armchair spot to the Globe theatre; to the private showing at Candlemas 1602; to a performance in a modern theatre; to the director's chair at rehearsals; to the tech crew's  scaffolding and lighting board; to that half-enchanted land of Illyria where, ghost-like, I anxiously watch Viola extract herself from the horrible mess that Sir Toby and Fabian have taken it upon themselves to create. It's quite glorious. I daresay I miss some things and misinterpret others; but the stuff wasn't written, I don't think, so much to be analysed as to be enjoyed. Analysis will inevitably proceed from the enjoyment and some folk will carry that out in great detail. That is one good thing. Also a good thing is those of us left feeling awfully lucky that there's another play and another and another to be downloaded at the click of a button.

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