We made it! We made it on time; equipped with low chairs, a picnic basket and adequately chilled wine. The setting sun casts an orange glow over the grassy slope where we have settled ourselves.
An evening in the park with the Bard is exactly what I need. The Comedy of Errors begins with a flourish from the fools. I clap. Everyone claps.
I am 10 again. Yet, I am also 60. I feel no dichotomy in being in two spaces so far apart in time. An evening in the park ameliorates my angst today just as it did 50 years ago when we used to attend Shakespeare plays in my school open air theatre- plays that we, students, acted in or were performed by semi-professional touring companies. I am in the moment now as well as then. I love being in the shade of tall trees and feel the evening breeze as it fans across all of us. It unites us all today just as it did so many years ago. My anticipation of the lines is exactly the same. The slow smile that moves across my face is exactly the same. My wonder at the artistry of the performers is exactly the same. My awe at the mystery unfolding before me exactly the same.
Even though now I know the story.
I hear every line like water drops. Yes, we are drops seeking other drops. But today I am more. I am a drop that travels in time to find itself a child again – carried on a wave of words: effortless, seamless, ageless.
When the play ends and the hat is passed I drop a generous amount in it and know that I can never repay the debt I owe my school teachers who taught me the power in artistry and inculcated in me the ability to wonder about worlds alien to mine.
For how else could I be so happy sitting on poky grass, drinking now-quite-warm wine and eating cold food? Why do I not notice that the lighting is less than perfect and that my aging ears don’t hear all the words before they float away in the wind?
I thank the actors and get up to leave. I am rejuvenated.