Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shakespeare, Memories, The Masonic Temple

During graduate school, we met for many of our classes in a large assembly room in the Masonic Temple. It was a beautiful room. Rich blue carpets, intricate details, colorful paintings, carved wood, long benches. We used to practice our Shakespeare in this large room. I have such wonderful memories of that room.

Tonight I went to see Grassroots Shakespeare Company's production of The Tempest.

They performed in the Salt Lake City Masonic Temple.

It was lovely. Brash overdone humor. Incredible physical choices. A comedic clownish heroine. A charming and lovable prince. And a thoughtful Prospero.

There were moments where it was difficult to hear the words over the musical underscoring--but the underscoring also added some lovely moments. And as with many productions where there is no director--the actors allowed themselves to perhaps go too far--(something I ADORE when watching Shakespeare)--but Dan Anderson, who played Prospero knew just when to pull back and just be. He drew us in. His final speech was magic.

He stood in the center and simply entreated the audience. There wasn't a doubt in anyone's mind that he was speaking to us and that we alone could free him from the despair of losing his art.

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own, 2405
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell 2410
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails, 2415
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults 2420
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

It made my heart sigh.

Today I am grateful for Shakespeare's enduring words and that tonight I was able to share in a beautiful production. It isn't the same as being in Staunton and playing with my dear friends from the American Shakespeare Center and Mary Baldwin College, but since I am thousands of miles away, I'll take it. 

A couple of preshow artists played songs while Prince Ferdinand practiced his juggling.

No comments: