Sunday, February 02, 2014


A white owl was struck by a bus in Washington yesterday, near its perch at the Washington Post.  It was apparently set off its course by a shortage of Lemmings, its principal food.  Why didn't it just go inside Congress?
   I used to think lemmings a mythic, literary creature, invented for poets, or, in the unlikely event of an appearance of another Herman Melville, a new White Whale.  So symbolic, so uplifting, in a doomed, self-destructive way.  Something that lived determined to die.  I look at my country today with a heart filled with sadness, probably because I don't care about Football.
    But yesterday my International Forever Heart was lifted higher than it has been in eons.  I had the great good fortune to see, from the front row no less, the magnificent Shakespeare's Globe production of Richard the Third, with the astonishing Mark Rylance as the king.  
    To begin with, the stage was open and pre-performance bare, the actors dressing for the most part onstage, so we may well have been (I'm sure it was brilliantly researched) in exactly the climate and circumstance of Shakespeare's own age.  Rylance's interpretation of the horrific king is likely more scabrous and certainly more fluid, in the bodily fluid sense-- he spits and wet-kisses a great repulsive deal-- than any performance one is likely to see in this lifetime.  And a Lifetime is what this presentation offers.  One got the feeling not only was he in the original Globe audience, but that Shakespeare himself had been renewed and well represented.  It was overwhelmingly wonderful.  When Richard died, his crown fell first into the lap of my friend, the Angel Carleen, then bounced into mine.  I hoped, of course, that was symbolic.  Of what, I am not exactly sure.  But symbolic in general is good enough for me. Uneasy lies the lap that catches the crown?  
     I had seen Mark Rylance a few years ago in the comedy Boeing Boeing, and so knew he was good and worth seeing.  I had NO idea.  I would urge everyone to rush to the Belasco except I am sure they are all sold out for the rest of their limited, exquisite run, alternating with Twelfe Night. It made me proud to have been a Shakespeare major at Bryn Mawr, but sorry I am not still living in London, so I could swim swim swim in this kind of theater.