Tag Archive | plays

Absurdist plays- search for meaning

My roommate went on a date to see the campus performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It’s an absurdist play. I’ve only seen one absurdist play; Waiting for Godot. It was, I have to say, an interesting experience. It’s certainly not something you would go for to be entertained, but it does make you think. I might have joined my roommate in watching, but I didn’t because a) I knew she was going with this guy, and I wanted them to have alone time, and b) the tickets were sold out when she reminded me. But I did ask her to bring back a program, as they generally have more insight than I could gain on my own. The program explains: “The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek for meaning in life and the human inability to find meaning.” It was nice to have a clear, concise statement like that. And it certainly made sense in the context of my limited experience with absurdist plays.

Do you know what the really fascinating thing is? The really fascinating thing is that today I’m giving a Sunday School Lesson on the Plan of Salvation, which is all about helping us understand the big picture idea. Therein we find meaning and purpose. Were it not for divine revelation, humans really would have a hard time with the juxtaposition presented in that program.

How do you make them understand? How do you get them to realize that they don’t have to live life as if they were a player in an absurdist play? Oh it makes me think of when I watched Waiting for Godot. One of the actors looked so… forlorn at one moment, that I just wanted to get onto the stage and hug him (realize that this is an unusual thing for me to want to do to a complete stranger). And to think there are people out there feeling that way… Oh I wish they could know.

And what does that mean I’m supposed to do? Plays seem to me to have a call to action. After presenting a problem and a conflict, they turn around and ask you, “So what are you going to do about it?” I feel like I’ve been given that challenge, and I haven’t even watched the play, I just read the program. And the truth is, I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. I mean, I’m going to write this post and pray that it reaches somebody who needs to hear it. But otherwise I really don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know who to reach out to. Yet surely there is something I’m supposed to do? Some way I could help?

All’s Well That Ends Well

I watched All’s Well That Ends Well, a Shakespearean ‘problem play,’ yesterday. I have two things to say about it; first, I can see why it was labeled a ‘problem play.’ Second, I will never think the same way about that phrase ever again. Good grief. I mean, it would work best if your ethics were based on consequentialism. This could have sparked an interesting discussion in my philosophy class last year or in my Shakespeare class, if either chose to cover it and neither of them did. I imagine it is not so well known as many of Shakespeare’s other plays, and I have to say it is rather a strange one.

I still like Much Ado About Nothing, which is another one I watched yesterday (hey, if you want to kill time and feel cultured while doing so, watching Shakespeare plays is a good solution). Benedict was as fun as ever, quite charming really. He’s my favorite character. It is not often that my favorite character in a Shakespearean play is one of the romantic interests. I generally favor the jesters, like Feste or Puck. I think even in Hamlet my favorite character is the Gravedigger. As for Macbeth… I think my favorite character is actually Macbeth.

But that is all it’s own subject. This means I have watched and/or read a total of… oh let me see…. 13 different Shakespearean plays. But some I don’t know very well, because I have only seen and not read them. Still, that seems an accomplishment. It occurred to me yesterday that I would become better acquainted with Shakespeare’s works if I didn’t insist on just watching different versions of my favorite plays. For example, I calculated yesterday that I have seen four different versions of Much Ado About Nothing in my life, including one live performance I attended. I wonder if some people would be appalled at that statistic. They should know how many different versions of Pride and Prejudice I have seen (five), Pirates of Penzance (four), The Mikado (three), Taming of the Shrew (three, plus Kiss me Kate) and Persuasion (three- but that was only because I was not satisfied with the first two). And I’m still young. I might consider it an advantage to watch other Shakespearean plays, even though I doubt I shall like any so much as Much Ado About Nothing, for the sake of variety and for experiencing a broader range of his work.