Last night I attended an outdoor production of TWELFTH NIGHT by Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company at Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia. Many years ago I played Olivia in an outdoor production. The wonderful Jessica DelCanton performed the role in this production, and Leonard Kelly was a delight as Andrew Aguecheek I went with two faculty members and their partners. I was flooded with onstage and offstage memories of life in the theatre and among those who live their lives in it. Its been a long time.
Patsy Rodenberg gives an exercise in her book THE NEED FOR WORDS in which the actor walks and changes direction when speaking Shakespeare at every punctuation point. It helps the actor see the shifts in the character’s thinking. She uses Hamlet’s speech “O, that this too too solid flesh..” as an example, and its a good one because Hamlet’s thoughts move in very uneven patterns. Sometimes when I walk the labyrinth I think of that exercise. Kristin Linklater in her book FREEING SHAKESPEARE’S VOICE asserts that the rhythms of Shakespeare, in their relationship to the heartbeat, are actually healing, much in the way I am beginning to discover that the Labyrinth is healing. Olivia and Viola’s scene was so well played, that tonight I began to experience that feeling of well being as I listened, and Viola’s “make me a willow cabin at your gate..” speech made me cry in its earnestness and beauty.