Who’s Afraid Of William Shakespeare?


Macbeth Danehy Park 2016

   So I have avoided doing Shakespeare now for about 35 years.  This is not because of any dislike I have for the Bard but rather because of fear.   Pure Unadulerated Fear.  I will admit that I am not a fan of poetry.  I can appreciate listening to poetry but found it difficult to read.  A college acting teacher once asked if I was ever tested for dyslexia.  I never did find out but his question did sort of mirror ones that I had of my own but that is for another story.  

If there was an audition for a Shakespeare play I just would not go.  Fear and a side career in drinking always  kept me from challenging myself in this particular area. Any area remotely difficult for that matter. If I was asked to do a classical piece I got by with a Mephistopheles monologue from Goerthe’s Faust. Go figure that rationalization. Mostly I would keep to roles that were in my wheelhouse as it were.  Finally memorizing lines took too much time away from drinking  period so I joined an Improv Group! That totally made sense to me at the time.  No regrets.   Yet another story for another time! 

I am now auditioning for whatever comes up that I am right for and I have to say I am enjoying it much better than I did back in the drinking days.  This past summer I was given the oportunity to play Duncan/Old Man/Old Seyward in an outdoor production of Macbeth.  The director seemed to have much more conficence in me than I did in myself and I will be forever grateful for that. Grateful and TERRIFIED. I accepted.  You hear a lot about the gifts of sobriety.  Playing Shakespeare in a park 20 years sober is one of them!!  Knowing what the hell I was saying and doing (for the most part) is another.  

Duncan , Macbeth Longfellow Park Cambridge 2016

 This brings me to my current project Love’s Labour’s Lost..In Space!!  Yup in Space you read that right.  Same director with the same confidence in me but this time around I would have to audition. Fair enough but as I mentioned above I had never auditioned with a Shakespeare monologue before.  Even after doing Duncan I was terrified.  What I also was was prepared.  I did a tiny bit of Costard that I had down cold.  Auditioning with a Shakespeare monologue is officially off the bucket list! This time around I let fear push me through something rather than actually let it keep me from doing something.  The stuff you wish you could go back and tell your 25 year old self.  My 25 year old me would probably be too drunk to listen anyway!!

So I am playing Holofernes in Love’s Labour’s Lost..In Space.  I am also realizing Shakespeare is where the old dude parts are!  So maybe a class is in my future as well.  Being sober all these years has not made things any less terrifying.  It has however given me the ability to tackle a challenge and yes maybe even fail at it.  Just now for the time being I get to do it in Iambic Pentameter.

Make Up Your Mind


True Story.  For two weeks now I have wanted to write about indecision but couldn’t decide how to write it.  At times I can be paralysed by indecision. Ok most of the time.  Decide: to make a choice from a numer of options.  Ya I Googled it.  There in lies the problem.  Options. The blue shirt or the green shirt?  The backpack that has all the features I want except one or the one that has none of the features i want but is the right size and on sale?  By the way 75% off sales are great for us indecisive people because then we can buy both options.  Then of course I will have two backpacks and have to convince myself one is for work and one is for play.  That never goes well and is ultimately wastful and a bit greedy. This is not to be confused with the I Need It Now So Will Take The Lesser Version Rather Than Wait On Backorder Till The One I Really Want Comes In Syndrome.    That road is paved in regret.  

My biggest problem is once I make up my mind I inevidably hear “Why did you choose that one?” Usually that comes right after “Hurry up and make up your mind.”  I probably should be writing about why I care so much about what other people think.  Next time and yes money has been spent on Therapy.  

There are of course a billion people willing to give their advice to help you make a decision. One or two of them are sure to tell you what you want to hear.  This is usually not a close friend or loved one by the way.  They will always tell you some form of the truth and that will just mess you up. Better to ask the new guy at work, or the stranger in the coffee line at Dunkins.  These people really get you. 

Of course research helps one decide.  Which brings me to the COMMENT SECTION or 1,897,096 people have rated this product!!  I’ll find a product on Amazon.  It is exactly what I want, or think I want, and I browse through the four and five star reviews till I get to that one star.  What does Hurumph74 know that the rest of them don’t?  Is he the only one willing to tell the truth that the other 156 reviewers were too blind to see? 

Case in point, I am typing on a wireless keyboard I just bought.  It was cheap.  I thought it was a good option at $13. Am I right? One reviewer gave it a 1/2 star, “Beware this product just does not work.” One reviewer came back with “It is so easy to set up my five year old did it in two minutes.”  BURN!!  Another wrote “Did you puy the batteries in?”  I  mean it is wireless not magic.  If I were to review it I would say the space bar sticks a bit.  I would also say it was $13 so you know….

Maybe this post is really about standing by your convictions.  I guess my point is that you may not make the best decision or even the right decision but in the end the decision is yours.  That really is all that matters if you ask me.  I think.

You know I am hovering over the Publish Button trying to decide if I should even post this.