#32: The Sylvan Play

(The Stage)

     All the world is of course not a stage nor are men and women everywhere merely players—though it has seemed l a charming idea ever since Jaques suggested it to Duke Senior in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Act II, scene VII).
     But while everything is not theatre, pretty much everything can become theatre if you prop a backdrop behind it.  Backdrops isolate and focus our enactments so that they can look large enough and new enough to attain that sublimity we call artifice.  Nothing will come of nothing, as King Lear predicted, but anything can come from artifice.
     Here, a stretched sheet of tenting (at the left) is the world—landscape and firmament.  The rest of the backdrop, supplemental to the sheeting, is bright sky with cables, branches, stems and whorls of bramble and vine.  Clearly, the play will be pastoral, a sylvan play.  Perhaps there will be darting female characters with names like Rosalind and Viola, and tree-staunch males called Orsino and Don Pedro and Benedick.  Whatever the author thinks, the play will be an Edenic play.