Roger and Prospero

Yesterday was Roger’s funeral. A classically-trained, old-school actor, well versed in Shakespeare and Dickens, Roger had acted with famous actors and directors…

We gathered in The Seagull Theatre to remember him as a friend, fellow-performer, much-loved, valued member of The Seagull family and community.

We reflected on the discipline and constructs of script and direction, and the improvisation of life… the suspended reality of theatre and the gentle but harsh reality of death.

John brought us Prospero’s speech from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Many regard this as Shakespeare’s farewell address to us, his audience. The retiring magician of theatre, has Prospero, a retiring magician, speak near the end of this, the last play written entirely by Shakespeare.

Life’s make-believe story-telling is ended. The riots of the reveller, riches of the regal and religion of the righteous have gone, melted, dissolved. Our insubstantial little life ends in sleep.

Actors go, the dream ends, the stage is empty.

We moved from theatre to cemetery and laid Roger’s body to rest.

Musing, I return to Biblical text: ‘What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’

Jesus, talking of a Father God who cares for and values all: ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny. Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father… So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.’

…including Roger.

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