Sometimes my language is lyrical, especially early on in "Shakespeare Rising," as I
show Will Shakespeare as a retired man, living in Stratford again after his life's great adventure as a player and playwright in London and on the road. He narrates this play from time to time, as he tries to understand how his life turned out as it did. Some of this language was in the play from its very first draft, but Henry Woronicz strongly suggested I elaborate on Will's feeling for his childhood which he was leaving behind and the countryside he loved and evoked in loving detail from time to time. And the speech gained so much from that suggestion. As Shakespeare is about to relive his time in the meadow with Anne Hathaway when he won her consent to marry him, this is what he says:
What child is truly happy? Or what man? The Ancients wrote: "Call no man happy ‘til he is dead." A happy thought, indeed, writ by a fearless man. So, who amongst you wishes to be fearless? Whilst we live, we chase vague longings. Then comes death, and we are free of them. But I was a happy boy, as happy as any child who thinks o'er much. My childhood passed in a dream of green-leaf days. Father and I fished from the river bank. At times I stood on the little bridge to look down at the fish as they drifted by, and laughed as they made riot over the bread I had brought for them. I walked the meadows, or lay down in them, amidst the thyme, the oxlip, and the violets, inhaling the scent of the sweet musk roses. The birds sang in the hedges, and life was a blessing. Wherefore should I think of Devils? I did, mayhap. . . at night. . .before I slept. And in my sleep, from time to time. But my days were full of sunshine. And with boyhood's end came a greater dream--a hope of limitless joy. Anne Hathaway! Anne!