If you had ignored the arrival of snow on Friday night, and not let this start of a winter’s tale deter you, you would have been able to brush up your Shakespeare on Saturday evening, as the Stratford-upon-Avon bard’s plays came alive in choral song and acting in Trenbath Assembly of St. Alban’s Church.
Nothing could have tempted you more than to see a table graced with a feast of cakes, cookies, cup cakes and a delicious traditional plum pudding–served as you like it, with a fig sauce–which made mouths water in delight.
We saw and heard in several ways that there was no taming of the shrew, Katherina (or Kate), who would give the ardent suitor Petruchio no kiss but, instead, a nasty hiss and tell him “I hate men!” Poor, thwarted man: all love’s labour’s lost. We knew he would pursue her and eventually thaw her cold heart and make her his bride. When she finally says “Let’s find a bedroom,” Petruchio would be able to fulfill his midsummer night’s dream.
Three wicked witches circled in our midst in sinister fashion, telling their gory tales. They showed each other a pilot’s thumb, from a shipwreck, while awaiting Macbeth. We did not hear them say “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” but, in our minds, we could hear the words coming from their lips.
We laughed at a group of boisterous thespians jostling for parts in a play. The keenest, lobbying hard, was named Bottom (no ordinary Joe). He was to play Pyramus, a lover “that kills himself most gallant for love … sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man” But, not content, Bottom wanted to play the lion too: “I will roar, that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say ‘Let him roar again, let him roar again.'” We would have to wait until the players met again, as planned, at the duke’s oak in McLean Hamlet, to know if Pyramus would play the lover or the lion. Was he a great actor or would his bluster be much ado about nothing?
As the evening fun rolled on, and our cup cakes runneth over, we were not averse to more of the bard’s wit and repartee, but we had to look toward Sunday, and draw the event to a close. A bitterly cold night had been filled with sweetness and warmth, mirth and jollity. Our bodies, minds and hearts were now full of goodness, and “Merci” was due to all the singers and actors. So, a big “Thank you” to all of them. But, we would be failing if we did not also show our appreciation to those who inspired and directed this presentation.