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To write or not to write

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:50am
So, here's the moral dilemma. Three of your favorite bloggers -- Jessica Lipnack, John Halamka, and I -- were invited to attend tonight's performance of Julius Caeser at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and then blog about it. This is part of an experiment by ART to link into social media and other outlets to expand the experience of the actual stage performance. We were given free tickets and were told we could write anything we want.

Even before the performance, I felt a bit awkward. Truthfully, I have not gone to the ART in years because I gave up several years ago after attending many shows that I thought were pretty awful. But, I figured this would be fun and, hey, maybe it was time to give the company another chance. Nonetheless, I expressed concern: What if I didn't like the show? Was I somehow obliged to say nice things because I had been given a free ticket?

We were assured otherwise. No obligations. No conditions.

Well, let's just say that I was disappointed. The show had poor pacing. And, as we would say in music, it had no dynamic variation.

But the writing was really spectacular. This fellow Shakespeare deserves a lot of credit.

There was one segment in particular that made me and the person behind me gasp as we heard it. It is Act III, Scene 1, right after Caesar is murdered. After Brutus suggests that they bathe their hands in Caesar's blood, Cassius says:

Stoop then, and wash. How many ages hence

Shall this lofty scene be acted over,

In state unborn and accents yet unknown.

I think we gasped because we were reminded of how many times political aggression and murder are undertaken by people couching their actions in terms of bringing liberty to the population, but who really are driven by the same desire for power as their predecessors. Shakespeare's theme from hundreds of years ago has been replayed over and over again through the centuries, even to our own time. Thanks to the ART for the vivid reminder.
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