to conjure you

One of my favourite places in the world is Shakespeare’s Globe.

One of my favourite plays in the world is As You Like It.

I got to see As You Like It at the Globe in September. It was a happy time.

Shakespeare’s Globe

The epilogue of As You Like It is nothing short of charming. Provocative, engaging and humorous, it leaves the audience with a happy little aftertaste at the end of a ridiculous, joyful story.

There is, however, one quote from it that I can never get enough of:

“I am not furnished like a beggar, therefore to beg will not become me; my way is to conjure you…

As You Like It, Act 5 Scene 4 – William Shakespeare

Around the same time as I saw As You Like It, I did a tour of the Globe theatre. If you ever have the opportunity to do this, take it. It’s a wonderful story of regaining something that was lost and sharing it with the world. Our tour guide was fantastic, and he took it upon himself to describe Shakespeare. He went over the popular opinion of Shakespeare as a wonderful writer, etc. And then declared that he thinks Shakespeare was something rather more straightforward than that: a storyteller. He wasn’t denying the genius Shakespeare had with words, but pointed out that the whole purpose of the words was always to impart a good story, to conjure his audience into engaging with his work.

It made me freeze slightly, and consider what I think of myself as a musician and writer. I have been entirely focussed on craft lately. Am I doing this right, should I reconsider the harmonisation here, should I change the structure of this scene there. But when I do that, I feel myself being drained, drop by drop. Because where has the story gone?

If I have remembered anything about myself over the past 5 months, it’s that I love stories. Of all shapes and forms. I love it when a friend has a fantastic story to tell me, I love watching theatre, I love watching movies, I love reading books. But more than all that, I revel in the joy of getting to share a good story.

But writing almost every day is hard. It’s draining. There are times when I simply don’t want to do it anymore.

It’s in those moments that I’m teaching myself to stop. I’m tired because I’ve only been thinking about my stories for the past 10 hours. It’s time to stop and enjoy other peoples’ stories – read a book, watch a show, anything. And when I do that, my heart breathes in again, and I can keep on.

If you had asked me 5 months ago why I was writing a musical, I probably would have said that I love musicals, therefore I want to write one. Now, my answer is different. I’m writing a musical because I love stories, and I happen to have one to share.

Do you?


Image sourced from shakespearesglobe.

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