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Friday, October 16, 2009

Exploring the Everyday Miracles

posted by Meg Devine Maxwell, Director of Marketing & PR

It's fall break at Villanova, which means that the rest of campus is quiet. Here in the theatre department, though, we just keep on chugging. We've got props to create (ex., a small deer that looks real), a set to build (with a black floor so shiny you could fix your hair in the reflection), and costumes to create (i.e., more doublets than you can shake a stick at).

What, you ask, are we getting ready for? Why, the run of Shakespeare's As You Like It, of course! It runs November 10-22, 2009, which -- in theatre time -- is right around the corner. It features girls dressing as boys; a nasty, usurping Duke; a jester in the forest; and one of the strongest female characters in Shakespeare's work. All the good things you expect from the Bard, and then some. But director Harriet Power is quick to point out that it's not all fluff and fun. There's an emotional core to As You Like It that has the potential to move audiences deeply.

According to Prof. Power: "We often think of Shakespeare’s comedies as delightful romps peopled by infatuated innocents, testy elders, and zany fools – but Shakespeare’s more mature comedies, including As You Like It, also explore complex, profound ideas. In As You Like It, Shakespeare brings together an astonishing range of characters: old men and young lovers, courtiers and shepherds, thinkers and doers, the educated and uneducated, the happy and the melancholy. And underneath each character’s particular pursuit – of love, certainly; of comfort, perhaps, or power, or accolades, or enlightenment– is that essential question 'How is life best lived?' Shakespeare seems to have recognized that there are no easy answers to this largest of human questions, instead presenting a range of actions and choices that invite us, as audience members, to contemplate what we value most dearly (and, also, what might obstruct our happiness or fulfillment or capacity for selflessness). For all the ambiguities that help make his plays timeless, Shakespeare, in As You Like It, reminds us that generosity, friendship, risk, and especially, forgiveness, are the everyday miracles that enrich our existence, as
'...from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot ...' (Jacques, Act II scene 7)"

Something to ponder, no?