Beware the Ides of March – and other Shakespeare things …

Some of the cast of Comedy of Errors during performance. L-R: Sally McLean, Doru Surcel, Simon Mallory and Brendan O'Connor.
Some of the cast of The Comedy of Errors during performance. L-R: Sally McLean, Doru Surcel, Simon Mallory and Brendan O’Connor.

Only five more nights to go until the final performance of “Comedy of Errors” at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.  I feel quite sad writing that statement.  It’s been a fairly long season (three months) and the weather hasn’t always been kind, but it’s been wonderful to be working a gig within walking distance of home and in such a lovely location and with a great bunch of actors with whom I have had the privilege of becoming part of a somewhat dysfunctional, yet good-natured family with again.

It seems appropriate that the show is closing on March 12th – just around the time of the Ides of March (usually March 15th, if you are going off the old Roman calendar), as not only did Shakespeare popularize and in a way canonize the phrase “Beware the Ides of March” in his epic Julius Caesar, but it was also the time of the beginning of the consular year in Rome (between 200-153 BC) and so a time of the New Year (from the business of running a country perspective) – so a time of new beginnings and new starts (they moved it to what we now call New Year’s Day in 153 BC).

Also, until Julius Caesar managed to successfully ignore all warnings from soothsayers and various others about the Ides of March and then managed to unsuccessfully avoid the knife blades of some 60 of his Roman Senators later that day (although they only stabbed him 23 times – so obviously some of them weren’t all that great with a blade – but sadly for him, enough of them also obviously were), the Ides of March had also been a celebration day for the Roman god Mars – and the planet Mars (named after aforementioned Roman god) is my ruling planet (being an Aries and all).

So as of March 13th, 2011 ACE (After Comedy of Errors) I will be romping in a fat suit, latex mask and recycled Titania wig no more.  The beautiful costumes will be packed away, the set will be struck, the dressing rooms packed up and a fond farewell will be made to the Royal Botanic Gardens for another year.

I admit, I won’t miss the mosquitoes.  There are mutant mozzies up there this year and I’ll be happy to leave them behind.  But I will miss watching the Ring-tail possums jump from tree branch to tree branch near the stage – pausing when they get caught in the stage lights (thinking that if they’re very still they won’t be noticed), seeing the light play from out front against the set backstage – causing an accidental optical illusion of a dragon’s head appear on the trees behind the set (seriously, it does this every night just before the end of Act 1 – I’ll take a camera tomorrow night and get pictures), catching sight of a lone bat fly across the inky black of the sky, silhouetted against the glittering firmament of stars (when its a clear night, obviously) and just being part of something that has been so special.

Eleven weeks down, one to go.  And I’m very grateful for all of it.

Sally

For tickets to Comedy of Errors, you can either book Via the Australian Shakespeare Company website:http://www.australianshakespearecompany.com.au/index.php/theatre-productions/shakespeare-under-the-stars/comedy-of-errors or phone Ticketmaster on 136 100.

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