“The doors of the cellar creaked and I was stunned by the pebbles falling from the stoned roof. I had no escape but to pray for the mercy of his lord. My arms were chained and the floor was filled with the pool of water that leaked through the walls. In the hopeless gasp of few breaths I closed my eyes and decided to give up. I called out Edward’s name. In a sudden and immediate moment, there was a loud thud and my eyes opened to see a muscular figure with a shining armour. He was none but the King Edward, the man I loved and the one who saved my life. With a stroke of his sword he broke down the chains which bound my freedom and we escaped in the glory of his empire as the king with his lost queen.”
Aren’t these verses common to you? Or is it just us, the lovers of literature, who find ourselves escaping in the classics of the universe of Shakespeare. The romances of the lovers and the secret moments of numerous promises shared between them, the mysterious intrigues of the mistresses who are in no contentment with the affection of their husband and the clash of the swords of two opposite territories or hearts wanting to defeat one another or win over a lady. All of these is what the readers and audience of the early plays craved for: the plots and nuances that made literature so great and glorious. But it would be unfair to call Shakespeare and many other playwrights of the classical literature as old and sassy.
Amy Henion, a communication studies major and theatre minor in Northeastern University say while playing the role of Dona Angela from The Phantom Lady (A 17th century Spanish Play), “It’s really surprising and it translates well to a modern audience because it introduces the strong female character as we understand it today”. The play was organised by the Northeastern Student Theatre with love and laughter as its major themes. It was performed at the Curry Student Centre Theatre. The play highlights one of the many perspectives that Henion discussed, the daring and smart intellect of women which we cherish and believe in today. It was directed by Jonathan Carr, an assistant academic specialist in the Department of Theatre of Northeastern University. He read the play on a beach and fell in love with it due to its charming romance and intrigues. including a lot of themes that the audiences would love to watch. Talking about the play, originally written by Pedro Calderon, Carr says, “You are in this world of rich language and complex characters, but Pedro’s play takes different turns that surprise us”.
Apart from the romances, intrigues and belligerent warfare, these plays portrayed the most eminent qualities of human character; be it the romantic gestures or even the unrequited love of failed lovers, we saw all the aspects of affection in these snippets of ancient literature. The plays replicated what they saw in their audience and mocked the negative attributes of various personalities with subtle humour and therefore I guard these works with love, honour, and respect. It is the language that attempted to merge with the culture of that age and the future ages too. The characters, plots, setting, and scenes of these classic plays are, as Samuel Johnson quotes, “genuine progeny of common humanity” and they planned to live for generations. And now we finally reach my perspective of the question that I posed in the title of this article:
“The theatre in my eyes is a mirror to what the human race has been and it is the biggest proof of the strengths and flaws that existed with it.”