Sometimes I wonder how I got here. I certainly didn’t have the aptitude, the background or the education for it. And I don’t believe it was inevitable or necessary. But what’s not necessary can be vital, and once you breath it, you can’t give it up. And when it comes to Shakespeare, who is neither my job, my livelihood or my educational background, someone has to make the case for the lowbrow, unscholarly pleasures of his plays.
So here are my five reasons for loving Shakespeare.
1) Shakespeare belongs to the groundlings and the geeks and the actors. No one with pretences of respectability can truly lay claim to him. The farting and the drinking sit at the same breath as the poetry. As they should be.
2) Every play is a never-ending box of miracles. You can always shake the box one more time (one more production, one more performance) and something new will fall out.
3) He is elusive. And a little bit addictive. Not unlike gambling. If you only had another go, you could have it all.
4) Shakespeare is live theatre. Even the words are action and have energy beyond their meaning. No one draws threads between the actors and the audience like Shakespeare.
5) And finally I love Shakespeare because I never studied his plays at school. Nobody told me what they should be, and therefore they are everything I want them to be.
Animation credits: Billy and his pet pig Francis seek play-writing inspiration as they write Hamlet. A film by the Brothers McLeod, music by Gary Yershon. Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company.