Magical and powerful potential of theatre in love and war

This week at the Pacifica Graduate Institute my reading focused on symbols of love and war in Shakespeare’s plays.

Theater is a magical place where opposing forces can confront each other.

Theatre brings the mysterious collective unconscious to life, stimulating untapped creative power in actors and audiences alike. The transformational power of theatre is magical. One scene can shift divergent emotional states from love to war.

One mysterious symbol can transform the ego on every level from personal (conscious vs unconscious), to interpersonal (masculine vs feminine), and even political (government vs rebel).

Theatre is alive and evolving, just as each individual is alive and evolving. Powerful and mysterious, the tradition of theatre both leads and follows humanity into the future and past.

Using the wisdom from Shakespeare to understand the impact of love and war in today’s word

I read about PTSD and CFS among Gulf War Veterans from the American Journal of Epidemiology. Symptoms include; fatigue, muscle/joint pain, headache, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, sleep disturbance, and skin rash. They classified six progressively intense levels of stress from minimal stress of serving at a home to severe stress of combat. It diminishes our capacity for conscious awareness and connection (war creating masculine dominance). Benedict describes Claudio’s difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbance, “…now will he lie ten nights awake
… He was wont to speak plain
and to the purpose…” Dogberry has memory loss, “But masters, remember that I am an ass.”

Shakespeare illustrates to today’s audience, in his comedy, how the physical effects of war impact everyone involved. In Much Ado About Nothing the men and women demonstrate a lack of trust in the OTHER. Their love relationships suffer from ‘comic’ misunderstandings. It is only in expressing and connecting through feelings that healing transformation can occur (love/feelings balancing out the feminine powers).