Monday, October 25, 2010

All the world's a stage, and we should be watching plays on it

Thanks, Jason, for sharing this quote from Rob Roberge in your last post:

"I know that books don’t save lives on the grand scale. They don’t end wars and such. They don’t cure cancer. But at the same time, books saved my life."

I couldn't agree more.

And speaking of sharing, thanks for the loan of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" by Tom Stoppard. I had mentioned that it was the only book on my daughter's required reading list for school this year that I hadn't previously read, and as always, you were quick with a copy.

I enjoyed the story and think the writing is top-notch. However, as I get older, I think plays should be experienced as plays to be truly appreciated. I love Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca and I think Alfred Hitchcock directed a terrific film adaptation of it. But I don't want to read the script.

Stoppard's work is full of comic touches, but they are meant to be seen, not read. The opening scene involving the coin flips, I'm sure, works much better on the stage.

That being said, there is still much to enjoy by reading the play. Not the least of which is the ability to go back and savor certain passages.

Passages like this one from Guildenstern:
"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day. ... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it. ... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses ... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere, by repute. Yesterday was blue, like smoke."

What a terrific description of the season itself and of the idea of the encroaching darkness where once there was light.

And now, I want to re-read "Hamlet!"

- Tricia Ambrose



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