Guest Editorial: How is Shakespeare relevant today

Updated: Apr. 10, 2019 at 10:42 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Hello, I’m Rick Dildine, Artistic Director at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the State’s theater. I’m often asked, “Why do we still perform Shakespeare? Why are we forced to read Shakespeare in school? How is Shakespeare relevant today?”

Shakespeare wasn’t writing his plays with us in mind hundreds of years later studying his works as if they are ancient artifacts. His plays are meant to be seen and heard – that’s why it’s so important to see it performed live. Shakespeare was writing for his community; performing entertaining stories that were relevant to our shared human condition. He was writing about extraordinary moments…and he did it using extraordinary language.

We continue to tell Shakespeare’s stories because his poetry gets to the heart of what we feel as human beings. We revisit these stories over and over because they are rich in meaning and profound in their grasp of what it means to be human and in relationship and in community with each other.

Shakespeare is also entertaining, even his serious plays have elements of fun and comedy woven throughout. This season ASF has great three plays by Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It and Hamlet as well as a terrific comedy, Into the Breeches, a story about actors putting on a Shakespeare play.

ASF’s current production of Romeo & Juliet uses a large ensemble of 21 superb actors, live music, humor and great drama to tell Shakespeare’s story of forbidden young love and civil strife, and asks an important question: “What if a community fails its young people?”

Visit us at Alabama Shakespeare Festival and see how Shakespeare today can be as relevant, meaningful and entertaining to an audience as it was four hundred years ago, through stories, relationships and themes that resonate with us not only as individuals, but as members of a community.

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