Watching From The Wings


Sketch of William Shakespeare.

Sketch of William Shakespeare. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?”

Another superb question. So many possibilities!

As a total computer geek there are a number of events starting in the 60’s I’d love to have watched. Starting with Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritche developing Unix and C. Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn working on the first computer internetworks. Then, of course, to be in that garage when the two Steve’s built the Apple I and Apple II. I could watch as as the “pirates” developed Mac OS.

Though all those events are recent and quite well documented. You can be a fly on the wall by reading all the first hand accounts. They are also not that visual.

One of my loves is the theatre. I’ve had the privilege of seeing some great actors in some great plays starting with Judi Dench in an RSC productions of ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘A Winter’s Tale’ back in 1970 through to Cate Blanchett in ‘The Cherry Orchard’ two years ago and ‘Gross Und Kliein’ last year. Imagine though the possibilities, the rehearsals and performances I could choose to watch.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall for the first two seasons of the Old Vic theatre company during 1944 and 1945 in London. This has been claimed as the high point of English classical theatre. Laurence Olivier at his peak, in the first season his Richard III was, by all reports, superb and in the second things only got better.

To quote Wikipedia “The magic continued with one of Olivier’s most famous endeavours, the double bill of Sophocles’ Oedipus and Sheridan’s The Critic, with Olivier’s transition from Greek tragedy to high comedy in a single evening becoming a thing of legend. He followed this triumph with one of his favourite roles, Astrov in Uncle Vanya.”

Though if I am going to give in to my urge to be a fly on the wall for theatre then there is one time and place that leads the rest. London between 1585 and 1616 when the country born actor William Shakespeare lived and wrote. To be able to gain definitive texts for his plays, to answer the question of which plays he wrote and which were collaborations, to see the lost plays and to see how the author himself would direct a production of such plays as ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Hamlet’ just to name my most obvious four. To watch Richard Burbage in the first performances of those plays.

That would be a fine and fabulous thing. I am almost stunned as I think about it.

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7 thoughts on “Watching From The Wings

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