Maynardville 2017: Strand High and Shakespeare

~Marco Peek

Ah, Shakespeare: an eleven letter word that strikes fear and misery into the hearts of countless students across the globe. His name is synonymous with tragic endings, suicide and out-dated English that no-one really understands anymore.

Every year a handful of Strand High’s learners get to travel to a magical place called: Maynardville. For those who are not familiar with the name “Maynardville” I will give a short definition: Maynardville is a place of mystery, a destination where common folk, like you or me, get to bear witness to the works of a true literary genius, a man whose plays have stood the test of time. In layman’s terms it is an amphitheatre where you get to see Shakespearian plays in the tongue that the Bard himself intended.

This year I had the great opportunity to “tag along” as we were whisked away into a world of “’tis” and “o’er”.

The play was Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and, rather absurdly, this play did not involve tragedy or suicide. It is classified as a comedy and I do think that it lives up to the demands of this category.

The play is centred around a love triangle (in reality if we factor all the relationships in, it could be a love decagon or some other shape that only a Mathematician with seventeen PhDs and a pair of slim glasses could identify) and, with all Shakespearian comedies, there is a huge mix-up that can only be solved by five acts, a few fights and a many references to things best left “untyped”.

In essence the play is about Viola, a young ship-wrecked maiden who, in an attempt to save the play from turning into a tragedy, disguises herself as a young man called Cesario. She goes to work for Duke Orsino, the Duke of Illyria, whom she falls madly in love with. However, as with every other Shakespearian play, Duke Orsino is madly in love with Olivia, a wealthy countess whose brother and father recently died. In an attempt to woo her Orsino sends Cesario (Viola) to confess his love (He couldn’t have made the time to do it himself?). Now, because Shakespeare liked to make things very difficult for the main characters, Olivia falls madly in love with Cesario (whom is actually a woman).

Shakespeare’s recipe for disaster was simple: a sprinkle of confusion, teaspoon of delay and a drawer of innuendos. So Viola’s supposedly dead twin brother, Sebastian, also arrives and to make matters worse he looks exactly like Cesario.

The rest of the play consists of numerous other characters, including Sir Toby Belch (Olivia’s uncle and a drunk), Sir Andrew Aguecheek (a rich man who is brought by Sir Toby to potentially be Olivia’s suitor), Malvolio (A steward who is convinced that Olivia is in love with him after Sir Toby, Fabian, Sir Andrew and Maria play a prank on him), Maria (Olivia’s gentlewoman and love interest of Sir Toby), Fabian (Toby’s friend) and finally Feste: the fool of the household.

After asking many of the other students the question, “Did you enjoy Maynardville?” I was given a simple reply,” Yes, I loved it.”

Hereby we can conclusively state that Maynardville was a success but the favourite character is a mystery with many voting for Sir Toby, Malvolio, Sir Andrew or Feste.

I strongly encourage all children whom can go to go to what can only be described as a truly memorable experience.

Finally, as the Bard would say,” Adieu, Adieu, Adieu,” or in English,” Goodbye.”

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