"...Shakespeare didn't write characters; he wrote moments in life and gave them names."
I remember his words verbatim. (I didn't get the part, but I walked out of the audition feeling great about my preparation and honest work.)
Some people argue that Shakespeare is irrelevant because of the Elizabethan language. This argument is older than dirt, and of course I disagree with it.
I have to thank Sameerah Luqmann-Harris for posting a Washington Post article which proves this point:
Shakespeare wrote numerous plays dealing with war. "Feast of Crispian" a Milwaukee-based program named after Henry V, is a program that exists for veterans re-enact "conflict-heavy scenes" from Shakespeare's plays. The goal is to help them confront PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction, reintegration into society, and mental health problems.
Shakespeare's words go unchanged. Yet here are people who have been to some of the darkest places in life. The power of Shakespeare's text "elicits and holds emotion", according to Feast of Crispian's Project Director.
The article quotes veterans relating their experiences in having been opened up by being given Shakespeare's conflict scenes. The veterans are able to go to them. They are able to put themselves in the middle of what is happening in that scene, not just relate it and identify with words. This in turn, has given them the wherewithal to confront their demons head on.
These veterans in Milwaukee experienced such moments in life, and they have names. Shakespeare wrote such moments. Shakespeare is helping to heal veterans. They didn't worry about the words - they trusted what they knew was happening in the scene, and their experiences drove their command of it.
This Washington Post article is powerful. Please give it a read.