According to scholar Harold Bloom, William Shakespeare is ultimately responsible for the characterization of the modern human. “His concept is that the change in European culture was created by Shakespeare. He wrote characters that had more depth and ambition and who changed throughout the course of a play,” explains John McDonald, who’s taken that concept and run with it for “Reinventing the Human: Shakespeare and the Awakening of the Renaissance Man.”
For his performance piece, McDonald examines three Shakespeare characters: Richard II, Henry V and Macbeth. He performs monologues or soliloquies from the beginning and end of each character’s play and then discusses how each individual changes throughout the story. “I wondered if we could look at our culture and compare it with medieval culture,” he says, “unaware of what changes will occur — changes that make us feel we’re headed toward something new. It’s a hopeful jaunt, and it’s also an excuse for a fat old man to play warrior kings.”
This isn’t just a jaunt for Shakespeare fans, either. “It’s for people who like to be entertained,” McDonald notes.
Catch “Reinventing the Human” tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. as part of the Fresh City Life program at the Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; admission is free, and a second performance will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 14. Visit denverlibrary.org/fresh for more information.
Mon., March 10, 7-9 p.m.; Fri., March 14, 11 a.m., 2014