Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shakespeare 2016

We just returned from the Cedar City Shakespeare-fest, which we’ve hit for the sixth year running, I think. How I love this little place, and the spectacular quality of its actors and their productions. This year we came with Grandma and Grandpa B, saw a new theater, and a rendition of Much Ado About Nothing that had me in tears I laughed so hard. We also saw King Henry V, with its iconic St. Crispin’s day speech, as well as the Three Musketeers (Keegan’s favorite – he knew the story by heart even before we came), and the incomparable Julius Caeser. Is there a play with more memorable lines? I think not. The evidence:

 Quotes from Julius Caesar

 “Beware the ides of March.”

 “Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves,”

 “It was Greek to me.”

 “He will never follow any thing That other men begin.”

 “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”

 “Et Tu, Brutus?”

 “I am constant as the northern star,”

 “Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;”

 “If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: --Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”

 “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

 “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones;”

 “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:”

 “O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.”

 “If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.”

 “This was the most unkindest cut of all; For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;”

 “Even so great men great losses should endure.”

 “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.”

 I think I can rest my case there. What a work of art it is.

 Not to mention that Brutus quandary over the fate of republican Rome amidst crowds that don’t appreciate their freedoms, and want a strong man king, feels quite timely. Shakespeare captured the eternal issues of man like no one I know. What a great thing to be alive 400 years later and still hear and see his work, as it was meant to be seen. We live in such a great place.