On Saturday we took The Tempest on tour to Sycamore Park in Riverside, California, a beautiful little park that sits atop a hill and gives a nice view of the surrounding valley. About 100 people spread their blankets and lawn chairs beneath the late afternoon sun on a section of grass. We actors performed on another piece of the grass.
It was theatre as basic and raw as theatre gets. There were no lights other than the sun and no special effects; the set was minimal. It was just actors and Shakespeare, actors and the word.
If you think such a thing is impossible in this MTV age of shortened attention spans and video games, let me assure you the performance was a hit. The audience sat quietly and listened intently. Not a one of them left at intermission.
It was just actors and words, but it got through to the audience. The flame that was lit in Shakespeare's soul when he wrote this play was lit in the souls of the audience.
In this depressing time, when America teeters on the precipice, we must make an extra effort to celebrate our values, lest we succumb to despair. I am rejuvenated to have been part of the creation of a beautiful work of art.