I find I often have to keep this a secret, but I have never much appreciated the writings of Mr Bill Shakespeare.
Not that I think his work is bad or anything - it has definitively stood the test of time - but I have never been able to get into it.
It's the language, you see. From my 20th-21st century perspective, it all sounds so unnatural. Certainly not a failing of the original works, but equally not one of my own either. It's just a barrier that I cannot usually be bothered making the effort to overcome, much less when I was a teenager.
In fact, some might argue that that's when I had the play Julius Caesar itself murdered for me. We studied it in Mr Morrison's English lessons. We even listened to cassettes of it being performed. ("Bewaaaaaare, the iiiiiiides, of Maaaaaaarch!!!") Entry points into the play implied surrounding excitement, but in practice it turned out to all be just a lot of talking, and hard-to-decipher talking at that. But nonetheless, the familiarity that I built up with the text then has always meant that, of all of Shakespeare's works, Caesar has always been the one for which I have retained a soft spot.
Tonight I finally watched it being performed by actors on a stage at a theatre, in London no less. I was still confused by the dialogue, which muddled me as to who was who, but I roughly followed what was broadly going on. That it had been a modern dress production no doubt helped. It was a whodunnit... in which they alldunnit!
The audience raved about it. Pal Nigel - visiting from Auckland - was clearly pleased with the whole thing too. And we certainly weren't the only ones.
If there is a next time though, then I must make a mental note to get a good night's sleep in beforehand, soas to turn my brain on and try to engage with it a bit more.
Julius Caesar can do without yet another murderer.