Lovely at The Globe today. The gate was full of roses. Must be Shakespeare’s birthday sonnet walks. There was Mark Rylance looking preoccupied with his bicycle. The sonnet walks are part of his legacy to that building. I always feel the urge to greet him like an old friend, because I’ve seen so much of his accessible human work. He’s stitched into the fabric of that building. His priorities and his spirit. His taste and his beliefs. They have helped recreate that well placed and powerful edifice, which has in turn kept me fed through the fallow seasons for a few years now.
I was working at a Drama teacher’s birthday party today. She didn’t really know what she wanted but she wanted something performative and Shakespearean. I didn’t really know what I was going to do but my head is full of stuff. There was a harpist playing. I did things that underscore nicely. Oberon. Some sonnets. Then a quick timeline and some other little attractive snippets.
In my break, an 11 year old girl bobbled up to me. “What’s your name,” she beamed. “I’m Al. What’s yours?” “If we shadows have offended think but this and all is mended,” she responded. She then did the whole of Puck’s epilogue from Dream, word perfect, marking the verse. Her favourite teacher, Vicky, made her learn it. Vicky is everyone’s favourite teacher, you see. She’s in Wood Green and she teaches drama. Everyone knows that bit. She gets us to do it when she points at us. “Do you want to share it with your auntie?” “Yes please. Not on my own though, I’d be scared.” “We can do it together. Let’s practice now.” She’s great. We speak the lines in unison. She speaks it forward and loud and enjoys it. “I have to get back to work but I’ll give you a thumbs up when it’s time and if you still want to do it just come and stand by me, ok?” “Ok.”
A spot of MC, introducing speakers etc, a showy silly bit stealing Henry V and Prospero, and then thumbs up and she springs over immediately. She’s raring to go. Highlight of my week, sharing those lines with that 11 year old. Particularly on the day that The Globe celebrates Shakespeare’s birthday. That was my energetic contribution to the festivities. Flowers in the fence. Sonnets in the surroundings. Barclay in the balcony room. Good things for the year to come.
If anyone knew energy and the power of language it was whoever wrote those plays. I’ve been blessed to work in so many different contexts and different parts of the world over the years with those human, healing words. Two nights ago I was writhing around in Hampstead with tights on my head in a silent scream playing Banquo’s ghost, and tonight I got sentimental, underscored by a harpist and in partnership with an 11 year old girl. I hope I didn’t just make another actor. She was fab. She had already made herself. I knew when I was 8.
Now I’m home early and taking myself off to bed ahead of another odd week, in which I’m hoping there’ll be some positive news. I’m waiting on 3 jobs. It’s unfamiliar. Something’s gotta stick. My hit rate is high. I want to keep it that way. Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo.