Why Shakespeare? (No, it’s not an assignment. It’s fun.)

Recently, I implored (and will continue to remind) my friends to attend “Measure for Measure” as performed and interpreted by the North Fulton Drama Club. After attending last night’s performance for myself, I began to wonder what compels me to promote this show.

I discovered Shakespeare, really discovered the draw and awe of Shakespeare, while attending a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon in February, 2012. The ticket to the show was part of U.K. travel package organized by a now friend and formerly my high school English teacher. She selected a performance of “Measure for Measure” as well. The play leapt off the page and into my face, my consciousness in a manner which I never encountered reading Shakespeare and watching movie adaptations of Shakespeare plays.

Certainly, Karen Ferrell-White (formerly know as Karen Strickland) took great pains to describe in High School Senior English Lit what an actual experience of a live production of Shakespeare. She always said that you must see it truly understand. I enjoyed reading “MacBeth” and “Hamlet.” Viewing the film adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” provided me with greater understanding of the comedies. I always imagined though that the men in tights and Elizabethan collars would be off-putting

As I watched these wonderful characters in this theatre present these magnificent ideas in Elizabethan English, costumes updated to be more contemporary (not a stiff collar among them), the draw of Shakespeare crystalized. Some of the players interacted with the audience, drawing me in and holding my attention. My role was not that of a mere spectator but participant in the mysterious machinations afoot to resolve the cruel injustice seemingly about to take place.

Shakespeare’s plays then reach far beyond the words on the page. Anyone who even slightly enjoyed the ideas contained within Shakespeare should witness and participate in a live performance. During intermission of that RSC performance, I sought out Karen Ferrell-White, trip organizer. I had to tell her. I get it. It all makes sense now. I was overwhelmed.

The North Fulton Drama Club interpretation of “Measure for Measure” finds Shakespeare’s cast in Prohibition Era America. The most striking aspect of this play? Realizing the transcendent nature of the ideas and issues of Shakespeare’s time. The play explores the meting out of justice with fairness and equity, how personal impulses influence choices made by those who govern, and the struggle to find a just resolution.

Please, attend this show before the run concludes. Rarely does a group perform this particular play. Explore the important ideas, experience WHY Shakespeare continues to be a critical part of education, but most importantly, have fun.


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