A Sunny Celebration
Of The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
A Sunny Celebration, cheerfully celebration but bracing day greets this combined celebration with the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death (possibly also his birthday) and that of St George’s day.
Occasionally, there are still plays showing St George slaying his dragon and it is this part of the myth that seems to generate the most enthusiasm amongst children and adults alike. These days in England he is associated with national sentiment although St George himself seems to have never left the Middle East during his lifetime and slayed his dragon somewhere near Beirut.
We are also in the throes of celebrating the ninetieth birthday of the second Queen Elizabeth and so in all; it is a patriotic and lively period. I am quite drawn to a traditional English afternoon tea that might be scones with jam and cream or a Victoria sponge, all on china chintz with a pot of tea served with milk. The union jack is flying around town, although it is fair to say that the flag in fact represents the combination of the flags of England, Scotland and Wales together. Scotland, of course, was lucky enough to have one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays MacBeth (or the Scottish play as superstitious actors call it) based on its history. With its dark overtones, this play echoes themes of despotism and collective madness as relevant now as ever.
Today, I am lucky enough to see a pastiche of Shakespeare scenes and precious sonnets by the Guildford Shakespeare Company, performed outdoors just as the bard himself did it. Oddly, this most patriotic of days is not a public holiday in this country as you might expect but Shakespeare is so woven into the fabric of our psyche perhaps it is not considered necessary. I think he is one of the reasons that our language is so rich and in a way so difficult. Would for example, a non-English speaker understand the expression, `bare-faced’ to mean that someone was a convincing liar or that `in a pickle’ might mean to be in difficulties, or the strange expression, `he wears his heart on his sleeve’ means that a person’s emotions are easy to understand?
Shakespeare effectively has given us poetry in our everyday lives and a continual communion with beginnings of our nation’s heyday, an emotional relationship with the other Elizabethans.