The other day was the first warm, sunny Saturday in forever. Smiles were out. Sidewalks and parks were full. I’d already planned on going to a two-woman show, Will’s Women. Even though it was indoors, I needed something to balance a student production I’d seen the night before. Shall we say [politely, of course] that the students have a quite lot of potential to work with in their futures. Anyway, I was looking forward to celebrating Bill’s birthday seeing a production that promised to be something along the lines of Greater Tuna goes to Stratford – or considering where I live, Bare Bodkins in His Pockets.
The show was wonderful, beginning with each of the women telling us touching – and probably true – stories of their childhood introductions to Shakespeare. Some of their monologues were familiar, others not, but all were powerful, including a transgendered Richard III welcoming us to a glorious summer. After all, Bill cast men and boys as women, so why not return the favour? From the outside, we heard kids playing, infants crying, sidewalk vendors vending and street musicians playing Prince. Inside, we were packed, seats full and aisles SRO with people and a good smattering of very small, very young people, too.
The afternoon brought back memories of an icy, sleety, snowy Dublin of a few Februaries ago. We awoke to notices that the city was shutting down. Schools, workplaces, transit, airport and roads closed. Only go out in an emergency, etc. etc. You know the drill. I had tickets for a production of King Lear that night. Midday I called and was told the show would go on. So I showed up. On a Tuesday night the 2,000-seat house was packed to capacity, snow sleet and ice be damned. Not for the latest import from the West End or Broadway, but for Lear, which has been around and will be around for quite a while. “This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.” The performance was worth the walk.
Meanwhile, back in Cork, the afternoon closed with Puck and Prospero walking through the house, talking to each of us, one-by-one. Kids’ chatter stopped. Infants cooed and smiled back.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on.