Fredonia Shakespeare Club hears paper on Rollo May

The Fredonia Shakes-peare Club met for its first regular meeting of the 2013-2014 year at the SUNY Fredonia president’s home, now the residence of Dr. Virginia Horvath. Club President Mrs. Robert Woodbury welcomed members to the club’s 128th year of programs.

The theme for the year is “Creativity and the Spark of Genius.” Mrs. Rose Marie Sanden presented her paper entitled “Dr. Rollo May’s Concept of Creative Cour-age” based on his 1975 book entitled “The Courage to Create.”

The well-known psychotherapist noted courage comes from the same stem as the French word for heart. Just as the heart pumps blood to enable the human body to function, courage gives energy to all of the other virtues like love and fidelity. He focused his attention on illustrating creative courage and emphasizing its importance in our fast-moving world where people must commit to creating a better future.

May stated that it is the writers, poets, dancers, musicians, and saints who discover “new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built.” Alexandr Solzhen-itsyn endured years of imprisonment because of his profound identification with the suffering of the Russian people. His book “The Gulag Archipelago” exposed the tyranny of the Soviet system and upheld the basic dignity of human beings. His voice was heard worldwide. In Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot,” the author creates images illustrating the absence of authentic communication in our world, not by preaching, but by placing two lonely men and a bare tree on stage. Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Iceman Cometh” portrays characters so alienated from one another that the audience is horrified by the absence of human dignity and nobility.

Rollo May also wrote about the relationship between creativity and death, citing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64 which includes the lines “Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,/That Time will come and take my love away, This thought is as a death, which cannot choose/But weep to have that which it fears to lose.”

May stated that “in the brief moment we exist on this spinning planet, we can love some persons and some things, in spite of the fact that time and death will ultimately claim us all…. by the creative act, however, we are able to reach beyond our own death. This is why creativity is so important. Though artists may be criticized and rejected in their lifetimes, it is they who present us with the images and forms that help us become fully alive persons committed to creating new worlds.

Club President Mrs. Robert Woodbury assisted at the tea table. The next meeting of the club is today. Mrs. Homer Garretson will present her paper entitled, “Myths of Creativity.”