Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Will

 – Shakespeare, that is. On April 23 in 1564, the Bard of Avon was born. Many of us hark back to high school days and have mixed feelings about Shakespeare. At that time in our lives, Shakespeare’s works were imposed upon us as homework. In adulthood, however, we can rediscover the writer whose works have fascinated the world for centuries, and – best of all – do so without being required to write a book report. The library is stocked with every variation of Shakespeare’s works you can think of in terms of format. You can listen to plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream andHamlet on CD or you can download audio to your iPod or MP3 player. You can watch staged productions on DVD of many of his works, or you can find movies made from the plays as feature films. The Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton is a great example of the richness film can bring to the stories of Shakespeare. And then there are the “riffs” on Shakespeare as feature films –West Side Story(“Romeo and Juliet” in NYC), Ten Things I Hate About You (“The Taming of the Shrew” teen-style!), andKiss Me Kate (yet another movie inspired by “The Taming of the Shrew”). The actual plays themselves, and annotated versions of many of his works, are readily available for those who prefer their Shakespeare straight. And, of course, there are works in ebook format, too. Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare -- all these years later, your influence is clearly felt every day in our literature and our popular culture. From Twelfth Night:“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” Safe to say, Mr. Shakespeare, you were born great.


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