Monday, June 27, 2011

Helpfully Falling Into Shakespeare Again

Macbeth by William ShakespeareYou cannot help falling into Shakespeare again if you read Harold Bloom's Anatomy of Influence. Soon after I started Bloom's book, I signed up for a program luncheon in Washington, DC, Carol Levin speaking about Shakespeare's use of dreams for two sub-themes in Winter's Tale and Macbeth. As soon as I arrived I met two other early arrivals, and we started what would turn out to be an on-going conversation and, I do believe, a new friendship.

Our acquaintance started when I overheard one of the two comment that she wanted to sit near the speaker, and they walked toward the other end of the long dining table, and sat. I'd already had a conversation with the sound man, before they came into the meeting room. After a few moments' reflection where I'd perched, nearer the entrance, at a corner seat, I decided to walk down to where the two ladies had taken places already at the luncheon table. "Excuse me, but I think she'll speak from the other end," I said. "I'm not sure, but that was the last plan I heard." They decided to move, and  thanked me very kindly as they gathered their things. 

Immediately, I thought, Uh, oh, they're getting up and moving; what if Carol Levin has changed her mind about where to stand, to deliver her speech?

"I hope it will help," I said a bit uneasily, as they slid out of their chairs; "It could flip-flop on us." They went to the other end, where I was, nevertheless. 

Before they were fully settled in their new seats near me, I leaned in to ask: "Does either of you read Anne Tyler?"

"Yes!" they cried in unison.  

Oh, these two could be my best new friends! I love Anne Tyler's work.

I continued: "Do you remember her characters who habitually try to help, and it so often backfires?" Thinking especially of the woman in Breathing Lessons. "I have similar experiences all the time." 

They understood. Perfectly. And, fortunately for us all, the speaker stayed with her plan. After the presentation and questions, we had dessert. A third new friend sitting on the other side of me used to act Shakespeare roles. She commented during the meal, "I had a decision to make today: Go to Emergency with an injury that's acting up again, ...or come here."

The show must go on. I offered something she might want to try next time, as I'd learned that she'd taken nothing to help ease pain. Then I thought, Let's hope nothing else she may be taking conflicts with ibuprofin...!

After lunch with Shakespeare and friends, I now want to see Branagh as Henry V. At least the movie.

Copyright (c) 2011 Opinari Writers Network
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