Goodbye Benny, for Now...
It's 9:52 a.m. and today is the final performance of Much Ado About Nothing at American Stage in St. Petersburg, FL. For the last six months of my life, this Shakespearean fool has been my muse.
Beginning in Kilgore Texas with the 2017 Texas Shakespeare Festival, Benny has grown a lot as a character with different actors and different directors, however, conversely, he has forced me to grow as a person. Benedick’s arch is a beautiful one, and perhaps as importantly a funny one, but it is one that teaches us a valuable lesson as men.
The story of a Capitano blowhard full of bravado and bull transforming into a man willing to step up and do the right thing, Benedick is as much a modern mad today as he was 500 years ago. How many of us want to stay single? In a world of “just friends” and “open-relationships,” we all have a little Benedick in us, wishing to prolong adolescence and keep the fling-flame alive. Yet his story is not one of Don Juan; it is a story of a man doing the right thing, for love.
Time and time again I find myself laughing at how much this zanni has taught me. Each night the performer in me looks forward to the gulling sequence, and each night the actor in me looks forward to the trials of a man. As an actor, Benedick offers all colors you could want to paint with, and I’ve been blessed with two directors who have let my creativity roam free.
Today, I say farewell, for now, and I hope to return to this part again someday and approach it with the eyes of an older man. I will miss this pool diving, apple throwing, spit-taking, banister hanging, set-eating, love crazy-wildman. I will miss the interplay with the audience, and the joy of finding that jeu every night.
Thank you to everyone who has allowed me to go on this journey, and thank you to everyone who has supported the ride.
Until next time,
Brock D. Vickers
This is the beginning of a new part of life: a habit: an idea: a routine to dig at what makes a man great.