All the World’s a Stage…

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All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…

How’s your Shakespeare? We’ve all heard those lines from As You Like It. They’re spoken by Melancholy Jaques, a true cynic. The whole piece is only 28 lines long and spoken in remarkably plain English for something written 420 years ago. If you like dark humor, Google it and smile your way into a bad dream.

Like so much that Shakespeare wrote, the expression has helped shape our age. We even judge people we meet by “the act they put on.” But there’s money in it when they do it onstage.
According to a 2016 survey, over 4.7 million Americans had attended live theatre within the past month alone. That’s a lot of acting for people to enjoy.

On Broadway, they spent nearly $1.4 billion that year. Bust most of that ($1.2 billion) was spent on musicals. So where are all those stages?

  • Easy Jet, a budget airline, recently painted Shakespeare’s face on the side of one of their planes and had a Shakespeare theater troupe perform Romeo and Juliet onboard during a flight to Verona, Italy.
  • The New York Times reported recently that an acting group made a station in the New York Subway System into a stage and presented bilingual performances of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and others. Take the L train.
  • Then there’s Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB), a non-profit group that puts on Shakespeare plays in prisons and uses prisoners as actors. At a recent performance in the Luther Luckett Prison in Oldham County, Kentucky, they claimed that over time the criminal re-offense rate of their actors drops from about 75 percent to about five percent after release. That’s acting better, right?

When it comes to onstage musical performances, it gets even weirder. Consider the Big Pine Key, Florida underwater music festival, or the Rothbury, Michigan eight-day electro-psychedelic music tribute in the middle of a real forest, or the six-week Obonjan festival on an uninhabited island in Croatia. The world is covered with stages.

And to prove all the world’s a stage right here in Chautauqua County, New York, this week your Jamestown Gazette’s cover story, contributed by Joni Blackman, invites all of our readers to what may be one of the world’s only floating stages, and it is on Chautauqua Lake. It’s a cruise ship without the ship, and it sails one of America’s most beautiful lakes.

Please take this opportunity to enjoy music and great performances presented for you from the famous Floating Stage bringing the popular Chautauqua Lake Pops Programing to Mayville this summer.

Great music streamed across the water, filling a summer evening beside the lake, is a truly unique treasure of Chautauqua County.

All the world might be a stage, but we have one of the finest right here. And if you do Google a bit of that Shakespeare you almost forgot, treat it like your Jamestown Gazette: Enjoy the read!

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.