A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing that in season grows."

William Shakespeare from Love's Labour's Lost

I picked this particular portrait of Christopher Gaze because it is somber. In these times even Christmas seems a tad somber as is Shakespeare's quote on it. While this Christmas blog (there will be others) isn't as happy as it could be it does cheer up in the end.

I a not an actor and I was not born in England but I do think I may have some nice things in common with my friend Christopher Gaze. Both of us are married to beautiful women. Both of us read the morning paper, with breakfast in bed with our wives. Both of us keep Harold Bloom's Shakespeare - The Invention of the Human handy by the bedside table.

But I would like to brag about one thing that I cannot share with my Shakespearean actor/director friend. And this is that for two years in Mexico I lived on Calle William Shakespeare. When I took cabs home I had to pronounce the name

My interest in Shakespeare began there. My mother would explain to me the significance of the man and even quoted the bard in her melodious mezzo-soprano. I remember seeing Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in Romeo and Juliet back in Buenos Aires when I was 9. In 1966, again in Buenos Aires I took my girlfriend Susy to see the film and she found the acting stilted and the actors too old. Even though I enjoyed seeing Franco Zeffireli's version (with much younger actors) with my mother in Mexico City in 1968 Romeo will always be Leslie Howard. In the same way that Bard On The Beach will always be Christopher Gaze.

Every year Rosemary and I attend at least two Bard on the Beach plays and our companion is Harold Bloom's book. At the theatre lineup we wise up to what we are going to see.

Success is not seen well in Vancouver. Only those organizations which are struggling are admired. If they happen to declare financial problems they are derided and ignored. Success is confusing to Vancouverites. Christopher Gaze and Bard on the Beach have done their fair share of struggling. I view their success as one of the features that makes our city the liveable city it is supposed to be. Rain or shine we can count on our Shakespeare every year. We can depend on having our minds and eyes challenged and like Harold Bloom says, we become better humans for it. That Christopher Gaze married a fine woman who keeps him running (no more Sir John Falstaff!) and that they are happy together bodes well for our city's Shakespearean future. Christopher Gaze, Jennifer Gaze, Bard on the Beach, more success in the coming years and a Merry Christmas. Not that they need any wishing for success. As that famous Spaniard wrote:

A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


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