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Surely this is madness? No, sir, 'tis mine art

I was listening to some Shakespearian actor Johnnie on the radio yesterday morning talking about an arts event that is being arranged in London for the Olympics. Apparently he and 49 other actorrrrs (sic) will be spontaneously weaving quotes from Shakespeare into encounters with the public. Apparently he is a little worried about doing it himself, because people will recognise him. (He shouldn't worry, I've never heard of him, let alone know what he looks like. I think he rather overrates his fame.)

But here's the thing - when he described what would happen, it didn't so much sound like art as letching. I paraphrase from memory, but this is roughly what he said might happen.
I might sit next to someone on a park bench and say 'Hello, it's a nice day,' and then 'That's a nice bracelet... Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date.'
Now, I'm sorry, but if someone did this to me, or the equivalent - I can't see anyone comparing me to a summer's day (more like 'This misshapen knave - His mother was a witch') - I would at best be moving away rapidly and at worst calling the police. This isn't art, it's harassment.

I can just imagine the meeting where someone dreamed this up. 'Oh, daaaarling (sic), wouldn't it be wonderful? The common proles could hear the language of Shakespeare without us having to get them into an overpriced theatre seat, which they can't afford once they've paid for their bingo and whippets. It would so good for them. They'll just lap it up.'

I remain to be convinced.


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