Thursday, June 28, 2012

Desperately Seeking Rosalind and Orlando

Note to my Readers:

I started this post last week, got interrupted, and to my horror, realized I had never finished it only when I opened up Blogger thirty minutes ago to write a new entry. It's been that kind of week.

The lesson I learned from this is one I actually learned a long time ago...and keep on learning:

If not now, when?

To be true to the real-time character of blogging, I am going to publish the incomplete post it as I found it, without slapping an ending on one week later.  Instead, I am adding an introduction, wherein I explain what I wished to write about.

It might be summed up as follows:
  • Shakespeare in the Park is one of the magical experiences of being in Manhattan. 
  • This season's As You Like It, is a sheer delight. 
  • I was especially captivated by Rosalind and Orlando, not just with the way the actors inhabited their roles, but with the characters themselves. 
As I write below, I've been fortunate to see extraordinary Shakespeare, but this performance stands above all.  Though thrilled by every aspect of the production, so smitten was I with the intense romance of the young lovers Rosalind and Orlando that I begged them to accompany me home. Hand in hand, skipping, kissing, laughing, they agreed, following me out of the Delacorte Theater, along the side streets and avenues of the Upper West Side, now visible, now hidden, playful, forever young, forever in love.

Amid the cynicism of the city, the intense quality of their attachment to one another was luminous. Their love was that of yedidei nefesh -- soul mates -- deep, passionate, loyal and sustained. Having found one another, they quite literally could not live apart. Juxtaposed against the 21st century hook-up habit, run rampant in the society of people their age, their old-fashioned fidelity produced actual sparks, which surrounded them in the evening air.

I would like to say that Rosalind and Orlando are still with me, but somewhere along the journey homeward they took off like wild creatures, barefoot, shrieking with horror, streaked with tears. Unmoored, lifted out of their Shakespearean cocoon, they could not withstand the slings and arrows of New York City -- the love faded by disappointment, the refracted sorrow of broken hearts, the anger and pain evaporating off the pavement, the memories of notes pinned on trees and stolen kisses melting in the summer heat.

All Manhattan's a stage and all the men and women therein play out their dramas, comedies and tragedies of love and loss. Rosalind and Orlando never had a chance. They simply cannot exist outside of the Shakespearean realm for their lives have not been written to contain the necessary number of acts.

Below is my original post:

All the world's a stage but the best seats to be had are front row at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for the mind-blowing, magical performance of As You Like It.

Actually, make that any seat, for this performance is, one of the greatest, most energetic and inspired Shakespeare performance I have ever seen...and I have seen fabulous Shakespeare from Stratford-Upon-Avon, England to Stratford, CT to Shakespeare and Company in the Berkshires to the creative Shakespeare on the Hudson and Times Square's Theatre for a New Audience.

"Where are you? What time can you get into the city," demanded HOBB at 6:57 p.m. as I was pulling into SAR High School in Riverdale, with Little Babe and his guitar in the back seat. Though school was out for the summer, my youngest had agreed to perform at an Open House for incoming freshman and, despite the insane heat, was freshly showered and decked out in a suit and tie.

The gas gauge was hovering below empty and it was 96 degrees outside. Knowing that there was a possibility of snagging seats, I had stopped earlier at Whole Foods to stock up on bread, cheese, olives and a bargain bottle of Reisling. The refreshments were chilling in my home fridge, but, in truth, I was not looking forward to the sauna of Central Park.

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