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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Shaking spears of time

Shaking spears of time

I joined a couple of people from the office to see Shakespeare's Pericles yesterday night. The performance took place at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre in the Rock Creek Park. The sky was clear, the evening was cool and the combination of a lush June vegetation and equally lush verbiage of a classical play was outright spellbinding.

I haven't been in a theater for more than a year. Movies with their dazzling effects are dandy, but live performance has a charm even Steven Spielberg cannot duplicate. As I was reading the synopsis, I got curious how they would render a raging sea storm that was prominently mentioned in the brochure. But the director convinced me again that simplicity is the king. Large swaths of a shiny fabric, rhythmically heaving and swaying and undulating under motions induced by flailing of actors' hands were vibrant and boisterous just as seas should be. Imagination always likes to be tickled.

But the best part came after the intermission, when the night pitched its starry tent above us. The curtain opened, the stage breathed out a cloud of light and the whole amphitheater became a time capsule, temporarily insulated from the mundane world surrounding us. Actors spoke words that were written many hundred years ago and stars shone calmly their light which, due to astronomical distances in outer space, was emitted even earlier. And there were as many words as there were stars, each smiling down on us with the patience of ages, like a glint in the eye of Mona Lisa.

But nothing lasts for ever. The last scene wafted away, the curtain closed and 21 century slowly descended upon the amphitheater. We left our seats and the dark park regurgitated us onto the street glowing with red embers of cars' taillights.


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