Derek smith

All the World's A Stage

I headed to Philly this weekend to tell my Edwin story with Story League Sings at Underground Arts, as a part of the First Person Arts festival. 

Taking a road trip to do a live performance was an awesome rush. The moment we walked up as a motley pack of performers to the doors of the space, leading underground to a dingy, character-filled space with a meandering green room, I remembered how much I love the sheer terror and uncertainty of the hours leading up to a live show. 

The crowd was such a warm and generous one the last time I performed this story that it was hard to match. This was an older crowd and I cut a lot of the fat from my story in the interests of time, and I felt perhaps it lost something. But we are our own worst critic!

Sunday I helped throw this amazing party in collaboration with two wonderful friends, in order to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a success, and I even got the chance to lead the crowd in singing 99 Red Balloons by Nena at the end. I filled 99 red balloons with helium, too, for the enjoyment of the partygoers... which was way more of a huge job than I had realized setting out...! We are hoping to expand our historical party events into a business. Stay tuned! 

Friday evening, my generous bf treated me to a performance of As You Like It at the Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Michael Artenborough, son of actor Richard. I absolutely loved the set design-- golden, brown, velvety, green, but sparse and modern. The textures, patterns and colors of a forest (Arden, peut-être), but geometric and planar, leveled and restrained. Oddly enough, the Washingto Post's review hinges on a critique of what they found to be a drab set, but I disagree. The performances were straightforward and strong, the adaptation one that managed to remain faithful to the text in thoroughly accessible delivery. Costumes were very interesting, the men looking like Chicago mob bosses and the women in something like pared down antebellum gowns. The ensemble was a pleasantly atemporal sylvan romp, with particularly memorable wrestling match, and delivery by Derek Smith of Jacques' timeless monologue, here reprinted for your reading pleasure. 

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances; 
And one man in his time plays many parts, 
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail 
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, 
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, 
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, 
Seeking the bubble reputation 
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd, 
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,  
Full of wise saws and modern instances; 
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts 
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, 
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, 
His youthful hose well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,  
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes 
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, 
That ends this strange eventful history, 
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,  
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.