Making the best of a bad situation

There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distil it out.

Henry V, act 4, scene 1

So I’ve been out of a job for nine days now and out of hot water for four, which naturally means it’s time to start a blog. Because, as we all know, no one starts a blog if they have reasons to leave the house or shower. And I do not, so here we are.

So, without (much) further ado, welcome to Stumblethrough Shakespeare, where I learn things about Shakespeare and share them with you if I think they’re interesting or writing about them will make me sound smart.

Am I an expert? Absolutely not. Do I have a lot of time on my hands and an irritating habit of reading mildly interesting wikipedia articles out loud to anyone in the room with me? Unfortunately yes. But in commencing this new chapter of my life, I can now stop inundating my friends with useless facts and instead spam them with links to blog posts containing at least 60% more useless facts than they’re usually willing to sit through before pointedly turning on music.

Real talk, though, it’s been a hard few weeks for us folk in the theatre, for a lot of reasons. I know many of us are in what might as well be mourning, for our jobs, our shows, our communities. We’re adrift.

This blog is my coping mechanism.

Mostly, that’s because I can’t bake and I’m not flexible enough for yoga. But I do think Shakespeare can be a comfort in times of struggle, for all of us. Not because he provides a message of hope, or anything like that – when was the last time you heard someone describe a Shakespeare play as “hopeful”? If you search for an uplifting conclusion in Shakespeare, you either get a postponed wedding, some sort of weird too-late moralizing, or a speech about books that’s supposed to be really empowering but ends up leaving you feeling just kind of disquieted. Or maybe that’s just me.

But that’s not really why we look. Because Shakespeare, better than anyone else, knew how to get at the heart of human suffering and put it on the page. When we seek comfort in Shakespeare, we find not hope, but solidarity. And when our grief is too all-encompassing to express, it’s nice to have someone on hand who’s way better at words than we are.

Obviously this blog is going to outlast our modern-day ban on playing; I’ve got a note on my phone with like 30 punny post titles and I can’t quit until I’ve used them all. But for the time being, I hope you all have something that gives you as much purpose as this dumb little blog is giving me.

So stay safe out there, friends, and if I can’t be educational, at least I’ll be entertaining.


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