VIVA Theater & Maya Productions “The Riddle of Shakespeare… Shakespeare… Shakespeare…”
Alex White • August 21, 2017 • 2017 Boulder International Fringe Festival •
I have always been curious about Shakespeare. The name “Shakespeare” has always been in my life in one way or another as far as I can remember, but I’ve never really known anything about Shakespeare. I’ve read “Hamlet”, but never seen it. I’ve seen Shakespeare’s face in many places, but I haven’t read the history on him. After seeing “The Riddle of Shakespeare… Shakespeare… Shakespeare” I am much more informed on Shakespeare, inspired to learn more, and feel that I have insight into what it means to make great art.
Walking into the venue, you are greeted with a sign on a screen that says “Welcome to The Theater.” When the lights go down, the audience is thrown right into it. You first get a quick primer on what makes theater, theater. The performer, Drew Piatek, was captivating, with a lively gait and a strong voice. I enjoyed that throughout the performance his joy for the subject was palpable. It’s nice to see someone throughly enjoying what they are doing. At times he would frantically rush to one side of the stage where books and loose papers were scattered about to pick out some note to make a point. Other times he was composed, giving a speech that seemed like the most important thing in the world at that moment. All while highlighting how Shakespeare’s words are still relevant to this day. Being a beginner in all things Shakespeare, I felt like I was gifted a wonderful introductory course to his life, lore, and legend.
I was impressed by the strong visual element to this production. You always had somewhere to look, and Shakespeare was keeping a watchful eye over the whole thing in the form of a book cover. At the same time, the slideshow threw me back into the classroom. Looking at the PowerPoint could be distracting. I was trying to read the biographical information presented on the slideshow, while also listening to the presenter who was usually talking about something else. I still enjoyed the pictures and videos he chose to show. It really gave me a perspective on how wide and varied Shakespeare’s productions can be. The possibilities! Shakespeare was saying that we do not have to let societal roles define us. Shakespeare was saying that we have it in our hearts to show compassion, even in the most trying of times. Shakespeare was saying that he is not going to tell you anything. The questions and challenges he provides us with are up to us to solve and to answer.
You can experience “The Riddle of Shakespeare… Shakespeare… Shakespeare…” at the Pine Street Sanctuary