Re:Creation is happening all around you. You just need eyes to see it.
Maria Aitken breathes new life into Shakespeare for hundreds of viewers a night in a posh, but cosy theatre in Chinatown, DC. For someone not very well versed in Shakespeare, I feel I have a new understanding of the man. And this thanks to Maria and her amazing cast and crew.
In dusting off Shakespeare’s collection, you will mostly find star-crossed lovers. However ‘As You Like It’ is something different for the “Bard of Avon”. The one who seems to suggest we give all to Love – despite the fact that it will bring us ruin – turns that on its head here. Two lovers who reinvent themselves over many years (the heroine changing herself into a man), somehow wind up winning one another’s affections, and trumping the will of the gods. In this story humans will not remain ultimately confused by love. They will against all odds live in the blissful tranquility of love requited.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company interpreted Shakespeare’s work in light of our postmodern context, and drew parallels between exiled Rosalind and Orlando and the exiles of many of our forefathers that brought them to the ‘Land that we Love’, America. The story starts in a dark and cold England with an even darker and colder Duke. Soon enough however, we saw Rosalind and Orlando’s love take shape over hundreds of years of American History, spanning the late 1700s to early 1900s. This pays homage to Shakespeare’s belief in the transcendence of love, and also helps the audience understand the re-invention of culture that has marked our heritage since its inception.
The actors were incredible, as were the sets and costume. The entire storytelling experience made me want to be a playwright, and caused me to question my own assumptions of love, as I was drawn into the transcendence of a story close to the hear of one William Shakespeare.
As a Shakespeare play may collect dust if not re-invented by a modern theatre company, so too will our culture decay if we do not re:create it.
We must all become re:creators… or we, like Shakespeare’s volumes un-acted, will languish.