Saturday, October 6, 2012

Long Live a Boy's Shakespeare Dream

(Brian Hartenstein visits his boyhood dream... Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London)

When I was a kid growing up in the tall grass fields and evergreen forests of Colton, Oregon, I used to never think that England was a different country.   We jousted knights on bicycles down logging roads, stormed castle barns, and rescued fair maiden neighbor girls out of chicken coops and woodsheds.  England was as close to me as any book I could reach on my mother’s library shelf.  

(Richard III stage poster, summer season 2012)

Ivanhoe,  Robin Hood, Kidnapped, those characters were playmates of my mind, close as any brother, and I took them with me into the fields with my wooden swords to clash against the dragon trees and sail rafts across the swimming hole moats toward fame, glory, and gold.

(Taming of the Shrew stage poster, summer season, 2012)

About this time I discovered Shakespeare too.  There in the black bound withered anthology, I poured through Arden Forest and Birnam Wood, to Dunsinane Castle and finally the taverns and streets of the Boar’s Head Tavern, John Falstaff, and London herself.

(Edvard Munch and Damien Hurst exhibits at Museum of Modern Art, London)

Of course, it was many years later that I realized… in fact, London was quite far away.  The other side of the world in fact.  But that never stopped me from dreaming.  Keeping the boy’s dream of Shakespeare in my heart, forever.

(St. Paul's Cathedral across the Thames directly in front of the Globe.  This is where people in Shakespeare's time came to break the laws and enjoy life)

I spent two, almost three days coming in and out of this theater last summer and it was marvelous, better than I’d actually hoped.  The plays were fantastic, the crowds raucous and wise, and the setting couldn't have been more magical.

(A player piano along the Thames loses its sheet music... let it go lads.  Let's be off inside and hear a good play)

The next three blogs are devoted to hanging out around this wonderful British landmark and all the fun had hanging from the rafters, standing in the rain with the groundlings, and touring the inner workings in the dungeons beneath.  Long live a boy’s Shakespeare dream!

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