Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shakespeare and the Sway of the Sea

Can one seriously imagine that the Bard, who wrote so stunningly of the sea, never truly saw it? Royal Shakespeare Company associate director David Farr on the power that the ocean held over the poet.

From a post on the Daily Beast...

What these plays all need, in production, is that sensitivity to the sea. They need a strange, elusive poetry that renders fortune, fate, chance (all words constantly used in these plays) as agents of a greater power. That makes the sea both God and Devil, and that makes man tiny and vulnerable. In the Twelfth Night I directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the world of Illyria was a hotel, its furniture seemingly drifting on an endless wave, the flotsam of human disappointment. What one learns in working on Twelfth Night is that the truly shipwrecked souls of this play are not Viola and Sebastian but the wretched inhabitants of Illyria, clinging to the driftwood of their dashed hopes as their world goes under.
But we are not just overwhelmed by the ocean, we also contain it. Orsino in Twelfth Night describes his passion as “all as hungry as the sea” (2.4.101). The human soul is an ocean tossed by storms of passion, deep and bottomless in its need for succor and nourishment. Storm is a metaphor for our own desires.

And then again we are just a drop of water. Lonely, lost, bereft.

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