Thoughts Story

Thought of the week: Chaos

  In this time of uncertainty, Michelle Terry gives in to the chaos and uses Shakespeare’s language to help explain that which is so difficult to put into words

3 minute read

Text: But then there was a star danced and under that was I born Much Ado About Nothing Act II scene 2, throught the roundal a woman with a mask on dances

As the weeks have gone on, meeting the deadline for this piece has got harder and harder. Although the events of the last few weeks have focused the mind, the accumulative effect of this time means certainty has gone and I am left with chaos.

And so I do what I have always done and turn to Shakespeare, but all I see is the same: a chaos of words and thoughts and ideas all tossing and turning around one another and over one another, spilling out in a mess of contradictions and profundity and mug quotes…

‘Our doubts are traitors’

‘The fault… is not in our stars but in ourselves.’

‘Our frailty is the cause, not we,
For such as we are made of, such we be.’

‘We know what we are but know not what we may be’
‘We know what we are but know not what we may be’
‘We know what we are but know not what we may be’

And then I look at my three year old little girl, top full with every emotion and no understanding yet of how to control them; I watch her try to control the little things because the big things are just too big. So she tries on ten different outfits because “they’re not right!” And then she screams that she hates me and tells me to stay away from her… ‘though she be but little she is fierce’ and loudly declares that “Forest Johnson doesn’t care!” and then gives me a cuddle then pushes me away and how quick bright things come to confusion.

Chaos: a void; a gulf, an abyss, the ultimate abyss, infinite darkness.

Primordial matter personified. In Greek mythology, Chaos was often represented as the oldest of the gods and the first being to exist.

The formless void believed to have existed before the creation of the universe; primordial matter.

Chaos… the thing that existed before everything else came into being.

Don Pedro: Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for out o’ question you were born in a merry hour.

Beatrice: No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.—Cousins, God give you joy!

A star: An accumulation of mass and dust collapses under the weight of it all and a star is born.

From chaos, from the cry, we are born.

And just when you think you might collapse under the weight of it all… ‘a star danced’.

but then there was a star danced…

— Much Ado About Nothing



Each week during the UK’s current Coronavirus crisis, our Artistic Director Michelle Terry shares her thought of the week.

Using Shakespeare’s language, Michelle reflects on the individual and universal meaning of the words. By giving personal and emotional insight, she uses the quote to relate to, and express, the mood of this uncertain time.


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