When I was in the 8th grade, I developed an overwhelming interest in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” I was obsessed. I read the play over and over again, listened to recordings, viewed films, attended stage productions, read critical studies. At the school I attended, I was required to complete a year-long research project to include a presentation. I chose “Hamlet” for my subject.
I not only wrote a paper, but created a stage set and costumes, crafted a model, argued for a particular interpretation and acting style and then demonstrated the ideas in a performance of the soliloquies.
In short, like many of us creative types, I was a pretty weird kid.
This kind of impassioned involvement with a work of art or favorite subject is typical of so-called “gifted children” (as if there were “ungifted children”), but is too rarely carried into adulthood.
Some of us, of course, will approach particular art projects—a series of paintings, a novel, a play—with similar passion. But rarely will we engage someone else’s work in this way. We often forget the thrill of being an engaged spectator or crazed fan. Not all of us, of course—fandom is alive and well—but many of us skirt its edges with a slight feeling of embarrassment. That’s a damned shame.
I would suggest that all of us might benefit from an occasional foray into fandom and fantasy: a Star Trek or Star Wars Convention, perhaps a Renaissance Faire or any event sponsored by the Society for Creative Anachronism. We all should remember how to play.
Which leads me to this week’s suggestion. If you can, do consider attending The Edwardian Ball. It is the passionate creation of a group of artists enamored with the work of Edward Gorey. Talk about over the top!
A few years ago, musical group Rosin Coven decided to present a musical, theatrical interpretation of an Edward Gorey short story. In the years since, they have collaborated with circus performers of the Vau de Vire Society to create an event quite unlike any other.
It is a costume ball, a world’s fair, a circus, a party and a cornucopia of inventive celebration for one particular artist. It is the polar opposite of angst-ridden artistic indulgence.
We can all do with some of that.
For more information on the Edwardian Ball, check out this video:
– Charles Kruger
The Storming Bohemian