What is Love?

What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter.
Present mirth hath present laughter.
What’s to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty.
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.
 
Feste sings this in 12th Night — I confess I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought during our production. But here we are in “Dream”, and the question of what love is in my face again.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a naturally loving person. Love sneaks up on me, and when it hits me, it hits me hard. This terrifies me. I’m married with children – I have no business falling in love with anyone else ever again. But guess what? It happens, and I can’t control it, predict it, or understand it – witness the fact that during our last rehearsal, I found myself completely, fiercely enamored with Helena. Huh.
Genius that he is, Shakespeare manages to touch on almost every conception and misconception of love I can think of in “Dream.” Love monopolizes “Dream” – parent/child, spouse, romantic, unrequited, spurned, ridiculous, misplaced, friendship, and on and on… And frankly, as much as it scares me, I’d like to experience it all at some point during this process.
We had a teacher once who said that she falls in love at least once during every production. This same teacher taught us about the main Shakespearean archetypes: The Monarch, The Warrior, The Magician, and – yes, you guessed it – The Lover. The Lover’s motto is “All of service, nothing of self”.
The Lover’s action is to begin by placing one’s clenched fists over one’s heart, and then releasing both hands and arms to open wide. I dare you to try it.

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