Here’s another open-ended question for discussion over the weekend.
I remember being at a party once, back in the college days, playing the “If…” game from that book where everybody was asked a hypothetical question and had to give a truthful answer. The question was, “If you could be another person for a day, who would you be?” The guys chose Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Gates, among others. When it came to my turn I answered, “My brother, because I’ve lived with him all my life and really have no idea what life looks like from his point of view.” Everybody, my brother included, found that lame. Oh, well.
So here’s my version of that question : If you could be one Shakespearean character for the duration of the play, who would you be?
I don’t mean play the role – I mean pretend that the play is reality and be that character. When the play ends, or when you die, you turn back into yourself.
Part two: There’s a couple different ways to approach this. You could either think that you’ll remain aware of who you really are, and basically wear the character like a puppet, trying to change the play the way you want it to go…or you could take more of a backseat and basically just watch how it plays out with no real control, but a better understanding of why certain things happen.
Make sense? For me I can think only in the second sense – it doesn’t make sense for me to think “change the course of the play.” I’m trying to think of who I’d be, though, because if this were some sort of funky carnival ride I could see myself getting back in line again and again. Maybe take Jaques for a spin, see what his deal is. I don’t think I’d feel much need to see what Benedick is all about (getting back to earlier Much Ado discussions), though I might take Prospero out for a drive and see once and for all whether he changed his mind or if he was always in complete control of what was going on.
Maybe that’s a spin on the question – which character keeps a secret that you’d like to learn once and for all? Maybe find out whether Gertrude knew?