Jillian Raye and the Bard: The Vitality of the Public Domain
When we lived in Takoma Park, Maryland, Jillian, her husband, David Minton, and their daughter, Imogen Minton, moved into our neighborhood and changed it forever.
Jillian built her casts from the community, and the ages ranged from young children to middle-aged adults, with young teens as the principal actors. My daughters had their first stage experience as fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream, which we subsequently staged outdoors on a midsummer night. Jillian's vision for the show required that all the lights be turned off near the end of the show so that these three-to-five-year-old fairies could flit about the stage with lit candles. Jillian's will overcame parental objections, and the result was pure magic.
For each show, Jillian developed a highly distinctive but adaptable vision, and she drove hard to realize it. Her visions were animated by her deep understanding and personal relationship with Shakespeare's works. The kids in the cast would begin rehearsals for each show as usual middle and elementary schools would for any after-school activity. But, Jillian would quickly impress upon them that this was serious fun. She worked with the actors to understand their characters and the context for the action.
Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?
What wouldst thou have with me?
Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine
lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and as you shall use me hereafter, dry beat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.
I am for you.
So, the fundamental policy that copyrights must expire was necessary for a unique institution like Lumina Studio to exist and to grow. And, those who care about this policy need to document how creative individuals like Jillian Raye keep works in copyright's public domain alive and relevant.
While her family mourns, her community has institutionalized her vision and will carry on staging plays and making magic. Perhaps Jillian has joined Oberon and Titania in the kingdom of Shadows and Fairies. It's hard to say, but I know that we will miss her.
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.
(Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V)