While raising children, Denise Meagher, a returning area native, became a published freelance writer, voice over talent and enthusiastic community theatre participant. She loves reading, writing, traveling, time with friends and most of her family and empty-nesting with husband, Ted.
Is Shakespeare too lofty, too difficult to understand? Honestly, that's what I thought.
Up until very recently my Shakespeare experience was limited to being forced to read one of his works in a high school English class, watch one high school production and a few screen renditions. So, when I heard Waukesha Civic Theatre was presenting Twelfth Night, I was less than enthusiastic; and even more so after watching an extremely awful and horribly boring production via a library DVD. I didn't even want to blog this show!
However, after talking with Robb Smith (Director), Debi Mumford (Stage Manager) and Michelle Lynn Brien (Cast Member, Feste); reading the Introduction in The Arden Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, edited by Keir Elam; and watching a rehearsal - I've reconsidered and I'm glad I did. Like Debi said, "I didn't know Shakespeare was funny."
Not only is Shakespeare funny; but, Twelfth Night, which is running May 6-22, 2011 (including Thursday, May 12th daytime performances for Educational Groups, 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.*); is according to The Arden Shakespeare, "One of the most popular and admired of Shakespeare's plays; one that gives so many actors the chance to shine. . .it makes us laugh at the follies of mankind, not despise them." And, it does. This cast not only shines but through their delightful characterizations, actions, and facial expressions makes the language spoken, understandable as well.
Too, (thanks, Robb for the enlightenment and Michelle for some insight), while some interpret Shakespeare's work as lofty and unattainable, too difficult to grasp; it couldn't be further from the truth. At the very core, Shakespeare pokes and prods, unveils and makes us take a stark look at the base nature we all possess; one that never changes even though the way we talk and dress does.
Shakespeare also challenges us with the question, "Who are you?" then, forces us to look into the mirror that are the lines, the characters, the stories to answer that poser; even if it's only to ourselves we reply. He, through his works shows us what comes of idiocy, moronic behavior, foolishness and bad choices.
The language's rhythm, the terms, the cloaked innuendoes and pokes at the government, relationships, love, human nature and all that is mortal; the stuff Shakespeare used in his works, (borrowed and retold many times over in as many years by others), was written to be performed not merely read. These works appealed to a wide range of people; the higher classes and particularly the ordinary, the 'groundlings', the commoners who were the bulk of those who made up his audience. They understood, and now, I do, too.
So with all that said, come see Twelfth Night, May 6-22, 2011. Witness this tale as, "Love and madness collide in this madcap romp filled with unrequited love, cunning plans and intense infatuations. After a shipwreck on an unfriendly shore, Viola must pose as a man to survive. She falls hopelessly in love with Orsino; who is pining for Olivia; who falls for Viola, thinking she is a man."
If you've never given Shakespeare a chance, (guilty but reformed and perhaps inspired to dig deeper), or if you just plain love his works, Twelfth Night, this gender-bending triangle of love, laughter and lunacy is a Pix Fix, "One of the Bard's most irresistible and accessible plays," you won't want to miss.
*Thursday, daytime performances are available on May 12, 2011, 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 for Teachers, Educators, etc., for a great Educational Group Rate of only $10.00 per ticket! Spread the word. Tell your local schools, community groups, scouts, etc., and give WCT a call at: 262-547-0708