The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1376 Tuesday, 21 May 2002
From: Whitt Brantley<
Date: Monday, 20 May 2002 18:07:28 EDT
Subject: What Dreams May Come...
This is written in response to the thread concerning SHAKSPER and people
When I was 16, I chose acting for my career...I lived in a very small
town of 3000 in the south of Alabama. I had done a research paper as a
sophomore on Marlowe's mighty line...and I am not quite sure what
prompted me to do it...
When I was 18, an older actor told me, "if you can perform Shakespeare,
you can act anything", so I decided to pursue Shakespeare.
My first professional job was with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival at
the age of 22.
I was self-taught, studied hard and learned all I could up to that
I was fascinated by Shakespeare, perhaps because I was drawn to fantasy
stories, King Arthur and the like, from a young age. And, even though I
had difficulty reading the text in the beginning, it spoke to me and I
was thankful for the plays.
Now I will tell you a true story. A mediator for the National Theatre
of Great Britain, based on a performance I had given in Virginia,
recommended me to their training program in England. I went to New York
and auditioned and was accepted only to find that I could not afford to
I was very upset and returned to Alabama and to school and was feeling
quite down...I loved the experience of professional theatre so much, and
it was all I really wanted to do and here I was at school again...
Then, one night soon after my return, I had a dream. I dreamt that I
had a box placed in front of me. Kind of like a small cardboard filing
cabinet with 3 drawers.
I knew that whatever I wished for would appear in each of the drawers.
The first wish was for a piano...and lo, there it was. The second was
for a guitar, and it was in the second drawer.
At just that moment, I had an overwhelming sense that I had grown much
to powerful and did not deserve the magic cabinet. I decided to wish it
away, but before I did...I made a wish to see with my own eyes, the
building of the Globe Theatre in London.
I felt like Gulliver as before me, lumber the size of tiny brown
matchsticks began to form and construct... and in a few moments,
Shakespeare's Globe as it existed 100's of years before, stood in front
of me. There was a flag flying above it, and when I looked inside I saw
all of these people and a stage and on the stage, an actor.
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And I picked the actor
up from the stage and lifted him in my hand above the building.
It was then that I woke up.
Now, I don't think I was aware of any illustrations up to that point of
the Globe, that depicted the theatre in the detail of which I saw her in
But, 7 years later, at the age of 30, I was performing with a
Shakespeare Company in the States and notified just after a show, that I
had been invited to perform at Shakespeare's Globe in London.
To this day, I really do believe that things happen for a reason
And the reason I share this with you, is I think the human mind, at any
age, is capable of understanding much more than we imagine...
Which by the way reminds me...the best class I ever taught Shakespeare
to was a group of 12 rural children (age 13 to 18) 30 miles in from
the Gulf Coast...they knew our tour was coming and took it upon
themselves without teacher prompting, too read as many of the plays as
they could and asked the most intelligent questions from students
regarding the plays I have been privileged to try and answer.
Thanks for reading.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.