In Act 1 Scene 1 of Hamlet, guarding Elsinore castle from a lookout platform, Bernardo opens the play with those words. “Who’s there?” Renaissance poet, William Shakespeare gives very little direction on how this line and or any of the following lines are to be acted out.
Similarly, in the Baroque era, which is associated with the life dates of Bach, there is little notation as to dynamics or specific direction in many of his scores. Self expression was the convention of this period , and employed improvisation around a theme, more akin to jazz than symphony orchestra. Art in theatre, music, visual art or dance this individual expression is a response to, or reflection of, the sun total of what we experience in life.
It’s true that art often imitates life, but art is much kinder. It has no temper or vendetta, it does not dismiss and has no need for power or control. It allows you to make an observation, to feel…and gives you as much time as you wish to express those feelings. Art is patient, does not interrupt and doesn’t demand that you believe what it conveys. It simply…is.
I believe there is an inspirational power in art, but judging from the uneasiness of today, I lament we are ignoring some of its most positive offerings…and further, not considering the voice of One whose perfection we can only imitate.