This morning the woods are quiet. Besides one sharp squall of a hawk as it searches for fish along the Fox River, nothing rustles in the leaves or makes sound.
The last of the show has been taken down. The costumes back on the rack, stools taken off the path, props and makeup back in their rightful places.
The hustle and merriment of 30 teenagers still seems to echo in the long monastery halls. The laughter of the audience tucked the corners of the chapel windows.
Out here in the woods, something feels different than it did before. It’s not noticeable on first glance…all appears to be as it was just two weeks ago. But if you look closer, there are footprints and signs of a scuffle between lovers where there wasn’t one before. A broken twig with the slightest strand of webbing left behind by Cobweb. A lone flower head that fell from Titaia’s bed… Remnants of the magic that came to life these past few weeks.
After all, isn’t this what all theatre is? Magic. Words written by hands many years before by a playwright more often than not long gone, brought to life again and again, casting a spell on the audience and cast for a short while before it too, is gone.
This incredible cast and crew of students were a part of weaving that spell for all of us these past two weeks. Braving extreme heat, unpredictable elements and terrine, they found the grit within themselves to make the woods come alive for 400 audience attendees. They gave life to these often tired lines, and in doing so introduced my own spell bound children in the audience to Shakespeare for the first time. And now, all too quickly it seems it has past.
After my final look at the woods, I head back up the hill when something moving catches in the corner of my eye. I turn back to look seeing only the sunlight dancing through the leaves, but the woods seem to whisper the laugh of a knavish sprite….
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.