November 2018 & 2019
I love Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. This national Mexican holiday celebrates of our ancestors with humor joy and love.
The wonderful Art VallARTa, a community cultural resource for visual artists provides classes, stages art shows, provides studio space.
I was proud to have my Shakespeare/Dia de los Muertos mash-up “Alas, poor Yorick!” accepted into the show. The artwork imagines the most famous skull in English literature coming to life for Day of the Dead. Hamlet, Act 5 Scene 1 – Hamlet holds out the skull of his childhood jester Yorick to begin his famous soliloquy only to have the skull come to life and steal the scene. It was fun to play with the conventions of 19th Century theater.
The best part of the experience was to join a group of artists in a community I love. To find a way to take Dia de los Muertos culture and combine it with my Anglo-Saxon theater culture. It is a crazy combination. Shakespeare is crazy, and there are threads of Day of the Dead in his work.
Here is a line of the “Alas, poor Yorick!” speech where Hamlet is speaks to the skull. It is very much in keeping with Day of the Dead:
“Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.”
Hamlet, Act 5 scene 1
Time and death are unstoppable, we are on a journey to the grave. All you can do is laugh at the absurdity of journey. Both Dia de los Muertos and William Shakespeare knew this truth. They shared the joke. Enjoy the ride because it’s going to end, hopefully with a belly laugh.
It was great to celebrate my first full year in Puerto Vallarta at Art VallARTa. Thanks for including my work.
The original framed piece, with a citation plaque is in the collection of a Hollywood screenwriter, director and talented theater guy.