What a fantastic performance by the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Opera House Drama Theatre. Around 60 students from ACU and another 20 or so from the Clemente program witnessed this great event. Thank you all for attending. Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a play that appeals above all to our sense of order, our sense of a world that is running harmoniously, free from arguments, jealousies and all kinds of conflicts – especially within families. Shakespeare constructs a “feel good” narrative in which everyone, eventually gets what they want and what they deserve. But this is not without showing us also, what drives people’s greed, what colours their attitudes. So the play is a mixture of realistic presentation of the nasty side of being human, then softened by the joys of what happens when people are nice to each other. And all this is overlooked (as in reviewed philosophically) by Jacques (Squeeze a Jay) who dares to sum up the human condition with the most famous Shakespearean lines: “All the world’s a stage, /And all the men and women merely players.” How to understand this summary of the human condition in which the stage, in the Globe Theatre, becomes a metaphor for where we all lead our lives, every moment of the day? Is there ever a time when I am off stage? Certainly the play As You Like It seems to present all the characters as if “stage-bound”…. perhaps with one exception Duke Frederick and then – following him- Jacques… who both end up in some distant monastery… Was Shakespeare drawn to that kind of conclusion himself? Certainly at the end of The Tempest the magician Prospero seems to be glad to leave the stage; and Shakespeare himself shortly thereafter left the stage and returned to his country hideaway in Stratford Upon Avon. Interesting, compelling questions….
John Bell in discussion with Michael Griffith on the role of Jaques in As You Like It
Blog Topics for Week 5 (Shakespeare ENGL210 Students only)
CREATIVE: 1/ write an alternative epilogue to the play in the voice of Orlando rather than Rosalind. 2/ Using a single line from one of the many songs in the play write a short song of your own that captures 21st century sentiments. CRITICAL: 3/ Briefly summarize what you think Jacques’ (Squeeze a Jay) philosophy of life is? 4/ “All the world’s a stage/ And all the men and women merely players”: what do you understand by this idea (2.7.138ff)? Do you think the play as a whole illustrates this idea?