I went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the UIC Theater today. Our university has a theater department, so I like to go see plays that they stage. I usually go to the afternoon performances because I like going to the theater in the afternoon. That’s not the usual time to go see a play. Unless you’re going on a school field trip. In fact, the theater is usually filled with students who come on school field trips. And they usually enjoy the plays presented. I’m not sure if they actually like the plays or they’re just happy to be away from their school. I enjoy the plays because I get to stay at UIC a little longer.
Of course, I also love Shakespeare! I had just seen the movie version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a few weeks ago. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, this live performance topped the movie! Watching actors perform in the flesh is always much better. These actors were very professional and delivered convincing performances.
I loved the music they added to the performance. It was fitting because they conveyed the dream theme. From the Eurythmics to Lady Gaga. The Flower Duet by Leo Delibes was also very well-placed. They also played Louis Armstrong, Nessun Dorma. I really can’t remember all the songs they played, but I really enjoyed them in the context of the play.
They were true to the Shakespeare’s words, but they used modern gestures to express themselves, much to the audience’s delight. My favorite was when Oberon hit Demetrius and then does the Sammy Sosa post-homerun celebratory gestures. The audience roared at this! I loved how director Karen Kessler focused on the comedy aspect of the play. This updated version was hilarious and the audience laughed in all the right places. I laughed so loud and so hard that I was glad my sons weren’t with me to tell me, “Dad, you’re embarrassing us”!
I’ve reached a juncture in my life where I am very happy and content. I go to bed whenever I want. I get up whenever I want. If I feel like, I do a little writing, a little reading, or nothing at all. I really don’t have to be anywhere until the middle of August when the semester begins. I’m looking forward to my road trip to Mexico City with my sons who are now twelve and actually a lot of fun to have around. They stay up late and get up late, so I actually have some time to myself in the morning. Today, when they woke up, I announced, “We’re going to Starved Rock!” I was waiting for a resounding, “Hooray!” But I was greeted by silence. However, whenever I suggest outings they go willingly because we always have fun on these trips. And today’s trip was no exception. I like just getting in the car and driving somewhere–anywhere–with my sons.
I have to admit that this is where I wanted to be in my life for the longest time. I really don’t have too many obligations to complicate my life. I get up in the morning, drink my coffee, read my paper, and then go running. After that, the rest of my day is a blank daily planner. I can do whatever I want. Literally. And I often do. My only personal goal at the moment is to write a blog entry everyday until I go to Mexico. Then, I’ll have to take a little break. I’d like to finish editing my play that I’ve been writing for more than twenty years, but I always manage to put it aside for yet another day. And I don’t feel at all guilty about it. I’m happy to have gotten to this point in my life because not many people get to theirs. I’ve been very fortunate and I’m grateful for it.
Today I went to the UIC Theater to see Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I really wasn’t sure what to expect because I had no idea what the play was about other than I knew that the title characters came from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Well, last week I saw Hamlet at the UIC Theater and I liked the production so much that I decided that I would see Stoppard’s play today. Okay, so I’ll never make a living writing reviews, but I thought today’s play started out rather slowly. There were some witty interchanges between Rosencrantz and Guildernstern, but sometimes it didn’t hold my interest. Well, I actually dozed off for a couple minutes in the beginning of the play. I supposed it wouldn’t have been so bad if I weren’t sitting in the very front row in the middle right in front of the actors. So there I was front and center. When I woke up, Rosencrantz was staring at me. I felt so embarrassed! After that I tried not to fall asleep again. But I dozed off again–at least two more times. However, no actor noticed me this time. So about the play, well, since it is a spinoff of Hamlet and it was also produced by the UIC theater department, I was happy to see the same actors reappear. Some of Hamlet’s scenes were repeated for Stoppard’s play. It was very interesting, even though I fell asleep a few times.
Since my retirement, I’ve been trying to re-create a lot of things from my previous lives. That is, things I had prior to my marriage and children, things that I had to sacrifice for the sake of being a good husband and father. Now, I have the opportunity to regress a little and so I am trying to recreate my writer’s garret. Back in 1981 BC (Before Children), I had a nice little apartment all to myself that served me well for all my writing purposes. I actually wrote a lot back then, but nothing very significant like the Great American Novel or the Declaration of Independence. However I did get published in some local publications. Even though these bylines impressed no one but me, I was proud of my writing and myself for achieving another one of my personal goals. Furthermore, I also earned enough money to say I was a paid, published writer, even if it wasn’t enough to earn a living. But I was in my glory as an aspiring writer!
So now, in my retirement, I’m trying to write again. To finish the play that I started 25 years ago and have been finishing up for the last nine; to start the novel I’ve been meaning to write since I was in grade school but never actually started writing; and just to write everyday just to be able to say that I am a proficient writer. (Only real writers know how to use semicolons!)
To that end, I realized that I need my very own writer’s garret where I can feel comfortable expressing my most inner thoughts as a writer. I decided that I must create this writer’s space where I can agonize over the mot just and play the long-suffering writer who lives under squalid conditions that will induce great literature. I need a place where I may rendezvous with my muse, but she better bring some help because she’s really going to need a lot of reinforcements with me.
And so, I have been constructing my writer’s garret. Only, I’m not too much for playing up the suffering part. I’d rather focus on the creature comforts now, especially now during these warm summer months. Therefore, my “writer’s garret” is air-conditioned and has a ceiling fan. How am I supposed to write the Great American Novel if I’m hot and sweaty? Would you like to read a hot, sweaty novel? Plus, I need music to inspire me. Ergo, I have a high fidelity sound system in my garret, along with a cordless phone, a fax machine, Internet radio, and a television. Don’t laugh! So far it’s working. What you just read is a product of my writer’s garret!