PENINSULA ZOOMERS: Post winter of discontent

There is just something about the arrival of spring that makes me smile, writes PAN columnist April Lewis.

From you have I been absent in the spring,

When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim,

Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing.

– Sonnet 9

What is it about spring that puts a spring… forgive the pun… in my step? And makes me quote William Shakespeare?

Not that we have experienced an unforgiving winter as have our neighbours back East, but there is just something about the arrival of spring that makes me smile.

Perhaps it is those cheeky daffodils and petulant tulips with their colourful presence which makes a mockery of the barren winter soil from which they have sprouted. Despite man’s attempt to destroy Mother Earth, they flourish as they announce yet another season of renewal and rebirth. I love spring! And with spring one tends to think about love… and more Shakespeare.

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.

O that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek.

– Romeo and Juliet

Ah yes, Romeo and Juliet… one of the most iconic and tragic love stories of all time.

Speaking of spring and love, I went to see the movie, Cinderella, directed by renowned Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh. I was assured there would be a new twist on the tale.

Cinderella is portrayed by the lovely young actress who plays Lady Rose in TV’s Downton Abbey. And one of the stepsisters is assistant cook Daisy from the same series. As I go through DA withdrawal, I felt assured this screen adaptation would fit the bill. And it did, with glorious costumes mingled with cinematic fantasy.

Cinderella is a strong-willed heroine with a confident sense of self. No victim here. The prince was no slouch, either. A good-looking lad full of principles, who knew what a catch our Cinders was, her beauty notwithstanding.

I admire strong female characters, and Shakespeare’s plays are full of them. Lady Macbeth comes to mind, and she trumps Cinderella’s step-mum in spades!

Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,

And fill me from the crown to the toe topful

Of direst cruelty!

And who could forget Othello’s fateful Desdemona.

And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then

When your eyes roll so: why I should fear I know not,

Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.

So as you relish in the rejuvenation of spring, go see Cinderella. Then come for your fill of Shakespeare as CARP presents Christopher Gaze, artistic director of Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival – the largest in Western Canada.

CARP is very excited to have someone of his calibre come to White Rock and share his experiences, on Thursday, May 7, 7-9 p.m. at First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Ave.

RSVP to Denice at 604-538-5778 – $10 CARP members; $15 non-members.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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