Shakespeare wrote about aging: Are there helpful clues for us?

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Dr. Jenny Egan, former New York resident and now an Idyllwild local, is seen here with Edward Albee, one of America’s greatest playwrights. Albee is the author of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Zoo Story,” to name two of his many honored works. Photo courtesy Dr. Jenny Egan

Dr. Jenny Egan, former New York resident and now an Idyllwild local, is seen here with Edward Albee, one of America’s greatest playwrights. Albee is the author of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Zoo Story,” to name two of his many honored works.
Photo courtesy Dr. Jenny Egan

Shakespeare wrote movingly about youth and old age. But it is with his older characters — Prospero, Falstaff, Lear and others — that Shakespeare reveals the depth of his understanding of the human condition. With his characters, there is wisdom with age, there is rage and there is surrender to the inevitable. “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” (“As You Like It,” Act II scene VII.)

Is it all bleak? Not by half. And that is what Broadway actress and director Dr. Jenny Egan’s interactive seminar, “Shakespeare’s Take on Aging,” is about. Said Egan, “The delights and terrors of aging are well documented by Shakespeare in both plays and sonnets. You will explore various adjustments his characters make to the aging process as you also examine your own thoughts

New Idyllwild resident Dr. Jenny Egan will give an interactive seminar about “Shakespeare’s Take on Aging” at the Idyllwild Library’s Community Room. Egan is a distinguished Broadway actress and lecturer. Photo by Marshall Smith

New Idyllwild resident Dr. Jenny Egan will give an interactive seminar about “Shakespeare’s Take on Aging” at the Idyllwild Library’s Community Room. Egan is a distinguished Broadway actress and lecturer.
Photo by Marshall Smith

on aging.”

Offered by Egan at the Idyllwild Library’s Community Room, the seminar is interactive, with opportunities for attendees to hear, read and better understand Shakespeare in an informal setting. No acting experience is necessary.

“Shakespeare can sometimes seem daunting,” said Egan. “This will not be a lecture. Those who come don’t have to act. But they can read if they like. The experience is intended to have Shakespeare become less daunting. Individual and group participation is encouraged.”

Egan was an assistant director and actor with the New York Shakespeare Festival, acted in Broadway and Off Broadway productions, at Lincoln Center and in film and television.

Said Joseph Papp, founder and producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival, “Jenny Egan is that rare combination of the technical and the intuitive artist so essential to the theatre.”

Attendee reviews of Egan’s seminars have been glowing: “Jenny’s explanations were both apt and enlightening. They gave me the desire to learn. I loved the group participation and the informality.”

Egan’s seminar, sponsored by the Friends of the Idyllwild Library, is from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. There is no charge for attending.

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