A revolution was televised.
Doing what it does best, the BBC delivered an epic of drama, comedy, fear, doubt, exhileration, madness, anger, joy, success, truth. A small-screen offering, so vast in ambition, that, at any other point in the multi-media new-age, it might have remained engulfed within the ether of ideas. However, it seemed that the country was ready to be gripped by the hands of a vivid voyage of emotional discovery and overcome by a tidal-wave of reality and revelation, in the guise of two actors, Dan Poole and Giles Terera, and embark on the ultimate Shakespearian road-trip!
Entitled ‘Muse Of Fire’, the premise revolved around a long-running issue with regard to the assimilation, or not, of, quite possibly, our most exceptional playwright, The Bard of Avon… Investigating exactly why, for some, his entire body of work is so unapproachable… Why, for others, the language is so, utterly fear–inducing, as to inspire pyjama-drenching night-sweats! It was a bold attack upon this trepidation and through raw and honest show-and-tell, on the part of the two actor-protagonists, themselves, and a wealth of notable thespians of all vintages, we were enticed to, part-ransack, part-coax, memories of relationships with Shakespeare, to our own frontal lobes.
It quite got me to thinking back to my first remembrance of language, let alone, plays…and my earliest recollections start from hearing poetry recited around the house, both to me and during such activities as washing the dishes! Hearing ‘The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck’ or ‘Elegy Written In a Country Churchyard’ delivered with the passion of artists who have graced any world-renowned stage, whilst attempting to scour a pot, served to turn such a quotidien task (often to the detriment of the item being cleaned!), into a surreal foray around the realms of one’s imagination…
Thus, when time came to become better acquainted with William Shakespeare, I was already accustomed to cadences, wordplay and verbal soundscapes…even though I did not formally know of the terminology. I devoured the energy of phrases, which danced along my tongue, at times gliding as a ballroom-dancer in the hallowed halls of Blackpool’s ‘Tower Ballroom’, at others, popping like an old-skool, free-styler, at ‘Ministry of Sound’! I revelled at falling-in-love through Juliet and agonised through the stoic melancholy of Cleopatra, as she regaled Mark Anthony post his demise. How the memory of he who was no more, should have been more vital than those who were still alive, further to the peerless gift of its articulation, led me to an acutely profound plateau of emotive reasoning, which, in turn, facilitated my understanding, before I could process fear. I now realise that, for me, the visceral route of the subtext of ‘feelings’, fleshed-out my cognitive response to the motivation in the text, itself… Of course, back then I was simply caught up in the relentlessly sublime drama of it all!
Thankfully, I was encouraged to run headlong into Shakespeare. Not understanding was never frowned upon, but instead, utilised as a splendid spark for deciphering a message… Hitching oneself to the emotional-wagon, focusing upon the landmarks, absorbing every ounce of scenic suggestion, as to the narrative, and putting the clues together to make a picture, was the ultimate in ‘Sherlocking’! Never were my thoughts decried, and if they were wildly off-track, then that was fine as, with guidance, the dots were joined. Sounds perfect. Well, it was…in that my understanding of perfection is not that everything is correct all of the time, but that there is a sense of completion which can be had, in connection.
Sometimes, I’d connect with Shakespeare on a guttral level and, to experience that, was all there was to be had. The assimilation was complete, no less engaging and, therefore, perfect. At other stages upon my journey, I have experienced a ‘stillness’. No feeling, per sé, but no doubting that I had received content that would emerge, in the fullness of time. That was perfect, too! I have, since, continued to learn that accepting a new definition of perfection was the key to my true enjoyment of the rigours of, not just Shakespeare, but any style of writing or artistic endeavour, and the ‘approach’ has been a dear companion, to this day!
This week, ‘Henry V’ arrives at ‘The Noël Coward Theatre’. I have a distinct feeling that, since ‘Muse of Fire’ so powerfully broke through the glass ceiling of fearlessly embarking upon a Shakesperian exploration, there will be an even quieter ‘hush’ as the curtains go up and a lion’s-roar of applause, at its conclusion. I also believe that, in no small measure, it will be at the crux of an upswell of all-age, theatrical re-engagement and interraction. To me, it was the fulfilment of one, particular viewpoint of The Bard and the beginning of an exponentially, expanding vista, by cleverly incorporating and perpetuating the fact that showing-and-telling-the-emotional-working is wonderful!
So whether you think you get it, feel you get it, aren’t sure whether you get it, at all…rest assured that it’s not about judging the response, rather, connecting, in the way which is, not only bespoke to you, and/or speaks to you..but which truly sets the muse of your heart on fire…
©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
TWITTER-TESTIMONIAL FROM GILES TERERA!
‘Amazing piece, by the way!’