When we ended The Wind in the Willows, the producer told the Moms that their kids would be depressed, restless, and tired after coming off such a high.
I’ve been depressed, restless, and tired! A Beatles song kept going through my head, “There’s nothing you can say that’s not been said. There’s nothing you can sing that’s not been sung.”
Today I googled All You Need Is Love and realized that the Beatles were singing “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.”
So, although I still think that I have nothing more to say and won’t ever be able to start anything new, I feel a little more optimistic. I picked up Shakespeare in London – A Unique account of Shakespeare’s life and times, by Marchette Chute, to reread for the third time because it makes you fall in love with theater all over again.
It’s such a rich, vivid book. Marchette Chute, who was a nationally recognized scholar of English literary history, wrote it in 1950, when you could have bought it for $1.95. It’s out of print now but can be purchased from Amazon for not much more.
The book doesn’t discuss Shakespeare plays as literature but only as they relate to the working problems of the London stage. Reading the book, you begin to understand how Shakespeare could have written almost forty plays in twenty years. He was an actor in a repertory company, who worked full time and got paid for it. And he wrote for that company.
Here’s just a little bit that could have been written about us all:
“The fact that Shakespeare was an actor gave him one great advantage over the average playwright of the day. Usually a playwright made a play to order and met the actors in some convenient place where it could be given a reading. Normally an alehouse served as an impromptu office, since, as one foreigner remarked, there were “partitions between the tables so that one table cannot overlook the next.” Once the play had been read and approved, the dramatist was paid and his contribution was over.
But Shakespeare was an actor. He was present during every detail of the production of his own plays and when they were acted he almost touched hands with his audience. He was in a position to know exactly what could be achieved from the production point of view, and the quality that has kept him a living force on the stage for more than three hundred years was born in part of his close professional knowledge of his audience.”
Where is that repertory company today? Is there one in Los Angeles? I’d love to know.
Back to the book.