Shakespeare in the Shadows


Shakespeare in the Shadows

“Shakespeare in the Shadows" — Mark Cohen plays six of Shakespeare’s most intriguing characters. The Bard’s hushed whispers and thundering roars unfold against wild Northern California promontories and stark San Francisco cityscapes. Directed by Joshua Dylan Mellars.

AIRED: May 30, 2021 | 0:25:51

(Dramatic Classical Music)

Wherefore was that cry?

The queen, my lord, is dead.

(Dissonant Drone)

She should have died hereafter;

There would have been a time

for such a word.


and to-morrow,

and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace

from day to day

To the last syllable

of recorded time.

And all our yesterdays

have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.

Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow,

a poor player

That struts and frets

his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more:

it is a tale

Told by an idiot,

full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

(Dramatic Classical Music)

Now, my co-mates

and brothers in exile,

Hath not old custom

made this life more sweet

Than that of painted pomp?

Are not these woods

More free from peril

than the envious court?

Here feel we not

the penalty of Adam,

The seasons' difference;

as the icy fang

And churlish chiding of

And churlish chiding of

the winter's wind,

the winter's wind,

Which when it bites and

blows upon my body,

Even till I shrink with cold,

I smile and say

'This is no flattery;

these are counsellors

That feelingly persuade me

what I am.'

Sweet are the uses of adversity,

Which, like the toad,

ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel

in his head;

And this our life,

exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees,

books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones,

and good in everything.

(Dramatic Classical Music)

I have been studying

how I may compare

This prison where I live

unto the world:

And for because the world

is populous

And here is not a creature

but myself,

I cannot do it;

yet I'll hammer it out.

My brain

I'll prove the female

to my soul,

My soul the father;

and these two beget

A generation of

still-breeding thoughts,

And these same thoughts

people this little world,

In humours

like the people of this world,

For no thought is contented.

The better sort,

As thoughts of things divine,

are intermix'd

With scruples and do set the

word itself against the word:

As thus,

'Come, little ones,'

and then again,

'It is as hard to come

as for a camel

To thread the postern

of a small needle's eye.'

Thoughts tending to ambition,

they do plot

Unlikely wonders;

how these vain weak nails

May tear a passage

through the flinty ribs

Of this hard world,

my ragged prison walls,

And, for they cannot,

die in their own pride.

Thoughts tending to content

flatter themselves

That they are not the first

of fortune's slaves,

Nor shall not be the last;

like silly beggars

Who sitting in the stocks

refuge their shame,

That many have

and others must sit there;

And in this thought

they find a kind of ease,

Bearing their own misfortunes

on the back

Of such as have before

endured the like.

Thus play I in one person

many people,

And none contented:

sometimes am I king;

Then treasons make me wish

myself a beggar,

And so I am:

then crushing penury

Persuades me I was better

when a king;

Then am I king'd again:

and by and by

Think that I am unking'd

by Bolingbroke,

And straight am nothing:

but whate'er I be,

Nor I nor any man

that but man is

With nothing shall be pleased,

till he be eased

With being nothing.

(Classical Guitar Music)

Music do I hear?

Ha, ha!

keep time:

how sour sweet music is,

When time is broke

and no proportion kept!

So is it in the music

of men's lives.

And here

have I the daintiness of ear

To hear time broke

in a disorder'd string;

But for the concord of

my state and time

Had not an ear

to hear my true time broke.

I wasted time,

and now doth time waste me;

This music mads me;

let it sound no more;

For though it have holp

madmen to their wits,

In me it seems

it will make wise men mad.

Yet blessing on his heart

that gives it me!

For 'tis a sign of love;

and love to Richard

Is a strange brooch

in this all-hating world.

(Dramatic Classical Music)

I cannot tell what you

and other men

Think of this life;

but, for my single self,

I had as lief not be

as live to be

In awe of such a thing

as I myself.

I was born free as Caesar;

so were you:

We both have fed as well,

and we can both

Endure the winter's cold

as well as he:

For once,

upon a raw and gusty day,

The troubled Tiber

chafing with her shores,

Caesar said to me

'Darest thou, Cassius, now

Leap in with me

into this angry flood,

And swim to yonder point?'

Upon the word,

Accoutred as I was,

I plunged in

And bade him follow;

so indeed he did.

The torrent roar'd,

and we did buffet it

With lusty sinews,

throwing it aside

And stemming it

with hearts of controversy;

But ere we could arrive

the point proposed,

Caesar cried

'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'

I, as Aeneas,

our great ancestor,

Did from the flames of

Troy upon his shoulder

The old Anchises bear,

so from the waves of Tiber

Did I the tired Caesar.

And this man

Is now become a god,

and Cassius is

A wretched creature

and must bend his body,

If Caesar carelessly

but nod on him.

He had a fever

when he was in Spain,

And when the fit was on him,

I did mark

How he did shake:

'tis true, this god did shake;

His coward lips did

from their colour fly,

And that same eye

whose bend doth awe the world

Did lose his lustre:

I did hear him groan:

Ay, and that tongue of his

that bade the Romans

Mark him and write his speeches

in their books,

Alas, it cried

'Give me some drink, Titinius,'

As a sick girl.

Ye gods, it doth amaze me

A man of such

a feeble temper should

So get the start

of the majestic world

And bear the palm alone.

(Dramatic Classical Music)

Farewell! a long farewell,

to all my greatness!

This is the state of man:

to-day he puts forth

The tender leaves of hopes;

to-morrow blossoms,

And bears his blushing honours

thick upon him;

The third day comes a frost,

a killing frost,

And, when he thinks,

good easy man, full surely

His greatness is a-ripening,

nips his root,

And then he falls,

as I do.

I have ventured,

Like little wanton boys

that swim on bladders,

This many summers

in a sea of glory,

But far beyond my depth:

my high-blown pride

At length broke under me

and now has left me,

Weary and old with service,

to the mercy

Of a rude stream,

that must for ever hide me.

Vain pomp

and glory of this world,

I hate ye:

I feel my heart new open'd.

O, how wretched

Is that poor man that hangs

on princes' favours!

There is, betwixt that smile

we would aspire to,

That sweet aspect of princes,

and their ruin,

More pangs and fears

than wars or women have:

And when he falls,

he falls like Lucifer,

Never to hope again.

Why how now, Cromwell?

I know myself now,

and I feel within me

A peace above

all earthly dignities,

A still and quiet conscience.

And when I am forgotten,

as I shall be,

And sleep in dull cold marble,

say I taught thee.

Say Wolsey

that once trod the ways of glory

And sounded all the depths

and shoals of honor,

Found thee a way

out of his wrack to rise in,

A sure and safe one,

though thy master missed it.

Cromwell, I charge thee,

fling away ambition!

Love thyself last,

cherish those hearts

that hate thee;

Corruption wins not

more than honesty.

Still in thy right hand

carry gentle peace

To silence envious tongues.

Be just, and fear not.

Let all the ends thou aim'st at

be thy country's.

Thy God's, and truth's.

Oh Cromwell, Cromwell

Had I but served my God

with half the zeal

I served my King,

he would not in mine age

Have left me naked

to mine enemies.

(Dramatic Classical Music)

Ye elves of hills, brooks,

standing lakes and groves,

And ye that on the sands

with printless foot

Do chase the ebbing Neptune

and do fly him

When he comes back;

you demi-puppets that

By moonshine do

the green sour ringlets make,

Whereof the ewe not bites,

and you whose pastime

Is to make midnight mushrooms,

that rejoice

To hear the solemn curfew;

by whose aid,

Weak masters though ye be,

I have bedimm'd

The noontide sun,

call'd forth the mutinous winds,

And 'twixt the green sea

and the azured vault

Set roaring war:

to the dread rattling thunder

Have I given fire

and rifted Jove's stout oak

With his own bolt;

the strong-based promontory

Have I made shake

and by the spurs pluck'd up

The pine and cedar:

graves at my command

Have waked their sleepers,

oped, and let 'em forth

By my so potent art.

But this rough magic

I here abjure,

and, when I have required

Some heavenly music,

which even now I do,

To work mine end

upon their senses that

This airy charm is for,

I'll break my staff,

Bury it certain fathoms

in the earth,

And deeper than did

ever plummet sound

I'll drown my book.

(Dramatic Classical Music)