Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shakespeare’s Birthday, 2013

Happy birthday, William Shakespeare. The last few years, I’ve been on a self-guided study of Shakespeare, reading all of his plays, reading books of criticism, watching as many film versions as I can get my hands on, and of course going to see performances of his plays. Each year I’ve celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday by watching a special Shakespeare film. (Last year it was Shakespeare Wallah, along with two of the animated tales.) I’m now nearing the end of the study. I’ve read all thirty-seven plays, all of the poems, and all of the sonnets. I’ve moved on to the apocryphal plays, this month reading The Two Noble Kinsmen. (Next month is Double Falsehood.)

So now that I’ve read (basically) the complete works, I’ve decided to celebrate his birthday this year by watching The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) as done by The Reduced Shakespeare Company. That’s right – apparently all of the plays are done in 90 minutes. I’m not sure if the poems and sonnets are included (I’m also not sure if they include The Two Noble Kinsmen), but I’ll find out tonight.

I’m also going to listen to When Love Speaks, a CD of famous folks reading Shakespeare’s sonnets. And I’m finally going to burn my Shakespeare candle (see photos). A friend gave this to me a couple of years ago when she was moving. I’ve been waiting for a special occasion, and his birthday on the year that I finish reading his works seems appropriate. The candle has a picture of Shakespeare, as well as pictures of Shakespeare’s boyhood home, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the Globe Theatre, The Swan, and Holy Trinity Church, where he’s buried. There are also a few quoted passages from his plays:

  • “To be or not to be” (Hamlet) 
  • “I do love nothing in the world as well as you” (Much Ado About Nothing) 
  • “Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight till it be tomorrow” (Romeo And Juliet) (though of course in the play it is “morrow,” not “tomorrow”

Happy birthday to the world’s greatest writer.

No comments:

Post a Comment