For the past two days, my brain has been stuck on this opening line:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
(and then it goes: admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.)
It’s quite annoying, playing over and over in my head. Just the first line, never the rest of it. Clearly, Mr. Shakespeare knew how to make an impression.
Speaking of Shakespeare, I’ve decided that one of my ‘resolutions’ – that is, the things I want to do after a transplant – is to visit Epidaurus. I’ve only been there once, and not for a performance. I decided I will learn a small sonnet or monologue by then so I can try out the brilliant acoustics for myself (I’m aspiring to visit at least twice – once during the day, and once for a performance). Though I’ve dreamt of it at several points in my life, I’m not an actor – not by any stretch of the imagination – but I don’t need to be in the profession to understand how amazing it is to perform there. Any suggestions or requests?
Someday, I’ll know what I want to do with my life, and perhaps even find my writing-obsession and theatre-frenzy laughable. Till then, however, I find it sculpts a bizarre life and life philosophy out of the thousands of words and quotes that fill my head. For example, without tragic figures like Hamlet, would I (dare I say, would any of us) have the vocabulary to contemplate existence and its purpose?
Aye, using theatre as a filter for understanding life is…well, weird, I get it. What can I say, my brain works in peculiar ways. I might quote the Bard again to reinforce my feeble claim:
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. – (As you like it)
Even he knew about performativity – before Judith Butler and queer theory gave it a name. I’m quite sure Aristotle (or was it Plato?) mentioned something about the ephemeral nature of a play and how each person takes on a role in life… or something. Anyway, when I find it (again), I’ll post an update.
Fun fact: Back in the day (lol – I mean back in the 5th century BC), it seems theatre was a place of learning – it was much later that it became a form of entertainment.
Meanwhile – moving away from the mini existential crisis – I’ve been reading Aristophanes’ Wasps. It’s hilarious, foul-mouthed classical Greek comedy. There are moments where it gets a tad serious, and it’s almost a crime and waste of his poetic genius if the translation is crap. Nonetheless, after his failure* with The Clouds in the Dionysia Festival of the previous year, in the Wasps he pulled out all the stops, dumping fart joke upon fart joke (or well, the classical Greek equivalent – although there are some fart jokes in there).
Some friends and family members I’ve read a few lines to have declared their utter shock at the crudeness of his language – my favourite line thus far involves Aristophanes describing one of his adversaries (that is, if I’ve not misunderstood the text – even in translation, sometimes it ain’t easy!) as some ‘terrible beast’ with the ‘destructive voice of a river torrent, the stench of a seal [as in, the animal], unwashed balls [testicles] of a Lamia, and the ass of a camel.’
Alright, so it’s not Shakespeare… Shocking language by today’s standards – or is it? I mean, we’re living in the 21st century. Despite our technological and scientific achievements, based on the reactions I’ve received, it seems like we’re actually more conservative in a lot of ways than they were in the 5th century BC. Of course, it was an entirely different world… If we ask Robert Graves (writer of ‘The Greek Myths: The definitive edition’ – a very interesting read!), he might claim it was the magic mushrooms and hallucinogenics. According to him, ‘ambrosia’ and ‘nectar’ were hallucinogenic mushrooms – and mushrooms were central to a lot of rituals in ancient Greece.
*In modern-day theatre (at least, in Greece), The Clouds is actually considered one of Aristophanes’ most successful and popular plays, while in classical Greece, it was a total flop… twice.