The Mercy of Wild Beasts

I think I could go on and on about the Powderhorn birds and animals.  At first, we were a bit disappointed to learn that we couldn’t play and swim in the lake in the middle of the park (what we were hoping to do I’m not sure – maybe Puck could have a snorkel, appearing and disappearing from the water); now that I see such a profound reason Why, it’s much easier to let go of any watery aesthestics.

A shockingly beautiful white heron lives on that little lake.  Ducks sail around, trailing long lines of ducklings, until they bob under the water with their little tail feathers pointed up at the sky.  One of the actors pointed out to me a wild and strange phenomenon in the thick algae near the shoreline: the baby ducks would swim towards the green muck and then proudly walk up onto it, defying gravity, until it gave way to water again, and the ducklings would sink back into their natural buoyancy.  Vigilant, intimidating mama and papa geese watch us carefully if we pass close to their flock of children, which, when we started rehearsal at Powderhorn almost two weeks ago, were at that funny and strange adolescent period, the color of babies with the bodies of adults.

There are plenteous turtles.  Often they sun themselves near the shore, but it’s not uncommon to see a little boy chasing a little girl with turtle in hand; it’s hard to tell whether he wants to scare her or show her all the beauty.

I’m fond of saying that we do Shakespeare like Shakespeare did it: God is our lighting designer, and we create the middle of the night in the middle of the afternoon with words, by saying “O tedious night!”  But the Globe was a brilliant hybrid space, indoor and outdoor at once, and while it may have been the occasional home to a bear-baiting or a backstage dog, London in the 1590’s was probably not a very friendly place for wild animals.  Perhaps it’s one of the small ways that we have evolved as artists (who needs walls?) and as a society (this lake is for birds and turtles and dragonflies, not for speedboats and beaches).

-Eric

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