“Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air”
It has been more than 400 years since the great playwright committed these lines from Macbeth to a page and thus was born a drama of friendship, greed and a political masterpiece intertwined with a supernatural element that still continues to be a staple piece in most Shakespeare Acting Classes & Workshops.
Many playwrights and poets have come and gone through the ages. While a few fortunate one’s names have been remembered, the others have been lost to time. But none has survived the test of time quite like the great bard, William Shakespeare.
So what is the reason behind Shakespeare’s continued fame? In his own words, how did he succeed in being the “ever-fixed mark” that is not shaken by the tempest of time?
- Shakespeare is Relatable
Shakespeare has coined more than a thousand words to the English dictionary. The richness of the literature that we find today, has none but Shakespeare to thank for. Simple words like ‘negotiate’, ‘dawn’, ‘gloomy’ we use every day without a second thought were coined by Shakespeare because the words that existed in the literature then were not enough to portray the characters’ complex emotions of the climactic backdrop of his plays.
- The Plays Translate Well to Stage
There are few other playwright’s pieces that translate with such flair to the stage. There have been great playwrights before Shakespeare and even after his passing, but plays that good look on the paper, often lose their charm when they are enacted. The humor loses its strength and the meaning gets jumbled in the process.
If you happen to stumble across one of Deloss Brown’s Shakespeare acting classes, you can see for yourself the cosmic reach that Shakespeare’s plays have. The audience remains transfixed as the actors continue to portray the minute changes in emotions of the characters. The audience laughs with the drama and is moved to tears when the scene calls for it. Even the most subtle meanings are not lost while translating the plays from paper to the stage.
- His Plays are Adaptable
Very few other plays have been adapted, modified, re-written and presented as something completely new yet resembling the old when compared to Shakespeare’s plays. His plays transcend the barriers of regional boundaries and location. From England to Singapore to India, every country has put their own twist to the plays while still acknowledging the genius of the Great Bard.
- His Characters are Realistic
The best thing about Shakespeare’s characters is that they are all flawed. There is no “big baddie” in his plays. Even the vilest characters have shades that make them relatable, if not redeemable. We can all agree with Lady Macbeth’s plea of “unsex me” at some point in our life when we are frustrated with the patriarchy in the society.
- He Gave a Voice to the Silent
A time when the country was in the grip of the rich and nobility, his plays gave voice to the silent and the ones that were trampled under the boots of the rich. Such was the impact of Shakespeare that his plays were enacted everywhere, from the royal palace to some dingy stage in the underbelly of the city.
The far-reaching, pervasive reach of Shakespeare’s plays along with its relatable nature and adaptability is what makes the Great Bard resonate through generations still and yet to come.