If I could have set out to define the poles of theatrical experience, I couldn’t have done much better than to choose Kit Harington’s Dr Faustus and the Globe’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
First performed within a couple of years of each other, the former displays the troubled spirit of Kit Marlow e, the latter Will Shakespeare’s most exuberant exploration of imagination.
Kit Karington- the Game of Thrones one carries off the great opening scenes in his London bedsit, this is a tawdry damnation made tragic by Marlow’s soaring lines and Harington’s declamic delivery. Faustus is damned for a piece of paper, a contract signed with the devil from which he cannot release himself. It’s a play about obsession, introversion and megalomania.
The cast of Midsummer Night Dream put on such an extravagant and happy show, that the langour that had set upon me after the previous night’s performance has now lifted. The Marlow hangover cured by this effervescent production as if Shakespeare had dropped alka-seltzer in my water bottle!
The Globe and Duke of York in St Martin’s Lane are separated by a ten minute Boris bike but together define magic in its brightest and darkest forms; both plays were written in the reign of one Elizabeth and performed in the reign of another, the interlude of 400 years might just as well not have happened -such is the transformative and enduring power of these great playwrites.
The power of writing surprises me.
Thanks to Robin Powell, the Evidence Based investor, for quoting my blog in his. I can assure his readers as well as mine that I am under no threat of closing my blog. The pressure to withdraw statements is usually a polite request and is frequently made (and usually agreed to).
I am quite sure that the threats of legal action will increase if – as I hope – the screw is turned on asset managers and those who derive a living from them. I pay word press not to have advertisements on this blog, you pay nothing to read it. My investment in blogging is in time and to an extent in the opportunity cost of not being paid what to write.
So you know that what is on this page is the product of one person’s imagination. When I publish other’s work (Ralph Frank for instance) it is because Ralph talks sense and values the platform I can give him. I do not get paid by Ralph to promote him nor do I pay him for his copy.
Which brings me back to Marlowe and Shakespeare and their dark and light explorations of magic and the imagination.
We do not go to the theatre for empirical fact, we go for an emotional engagement with other’s imagination. Similarly people do not – should not – read my blog other than as my views.
Like Bottom , you may see me an ass or something else – that’s up to you!
I’ll fight my own battles but I’ll put up my sword and shut up if I’m proved wrong. Unlike Faustus, I have signed no contract with the devil!
To use the words of my friend Mark Scantlebury (with whom I saw MND last night) I want to write “vivid and real” and to share some of those qualities with those who are kind enough to read what I write.
The threats and bullying that I get from time to time is boring and drags me into the tawdry world from which Faustus tried to escape. It will not allow me to escape from the sunny uplands or from the enchanted forest, for those places dwell in the magical kingdom of the mind.
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.