WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

'Star Stuff'

Some things have endured, (Shakespeare, Sophocles, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Chaplin). I think survival of their works (by fate, by luck, or quirk of history?) are life-affirming, magical, transcendant. Most things are insubstantial, ephemeral.

Theater and Music have an advantage over other arts (painting, cinema): plays and symphonies are reanimated by the actors, directors, musicians, and conductors of the present day. Watching 'King Lear,' on Sunday, was a resurrection, a reanimation of Shakespeare's text. The King lives again in the body of a Chicago actor in 2004.

This is magic, a ritual, a sacrament. How many men in the last 400 years have played 'Lear?' And as the words tumble from their lips, do they in some mystical way 'become' Lear? Do they join a strange, community of men that extends from Shakespeare's time to ours?

If you're lucky enough to know one of the actors (for instance, our friend Winston) you are reminded that the actor, (the sorcerer's apprentice) is a man just like you, one who may have a 'gift' a 'talent,' but also, one who has the quirks, flaws and humanity of anyone riding the el, walking down the street.

This is an important lesson. We are just human beings, made of the 'stuff that dreams are made of.'

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