This week saw the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-reigning monarch. While her legacy is complicated, I would like to share one wholly positive memory of her.
In 1991 I had the great honor of performing for her as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was in Washington, DC and decided to attend the Folger Library‘s Children’s Shakespeare Festival – where my 6th grade class happened to be performing!
Let me be clear that this had nothing to do with my skills as a Thespian; I was, as is often the case, simply in the right place at the right time. Still, performing the Bard‘s work for the queen of England is an experience that most professional actors would kill for, so I am incredibly grateful for that unique moment.
It’s amazing too that I can still remember my lines from that play 30+ years later. In honor of HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, though, let me share some lines from a different character in the same play:
“Thus I die. Thus, thus, thus.
Now I am dead,
Now I am fled,
My soul is in the sky.
Tongue, lose thy light.
Moon take thy flight.
Now die, die, die, die.”
-Pyramus (Nick Bottom, the weaver)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my favorite of Shakespeare’s works and I have loved it since before I had this serendipitous honor. Let me conclude with my favorite line from the play, a line that is as true today as it was in the 17th century, when it was written.
“Lord what fools these mortals be!”