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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Booking Through Thursday...Shakespeare

Okay, show of hands … who has read Shakespeare OUTSIDE of school required reading? Do you watch the plays? How about movies? Do you love him? Think he’s overrated?

The only Shakespeare I've read since graduating from college nearly two decades ago, is what I've read to help my boys with their homework.  Last year The Boy had to read Julius Caesar.  Not my favorite, but at least it was a better choice than Romeo and Juliet.  Bloody hell, I hate that one!  It was good to get back into Shakespeare though and The Boy and I had some great discussions.

I enjoy Shakespeare, I always have.  I've loved so many of the film adaptations but my favorite is seeing Shakespeare on stage.  Living in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of my life meant season tickets to Cal Shakes and now that we live in Idaho, we have enjoyed the Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise.  Shakespeare is meant to be performed on stage, not read in a classroom.  Although, Tom Hiddleston reading sonnets is ok in my book, any day.

I don't think William Shakespeare is the end all be all of writers, but I think there are great lessons to be learned from The Bard.  It says something about his writings when his plays are still being performed 400 years later.

Open University has a fantastic video about Shakespeare and Original Pronunciation.  The theory is that words were pronounced differently in the time of Shakespeare and that pronunciation was lost. When we speak the Old English with modern pronunciation, it sounds so pompous and over the top, when really, it isn't. The video below is about 10 minutes and is well worth your time.  It was fascinating to me and makes Shakespeare so much more enjoyable.

My bucket list includes The Globe Theater and seeing plays performed when I get to England.

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  1. I struggle with Shakespeare but my son loves his work so much he took 2 Shakespeare classes in college.

  2. Oh, I love that video! Wish I had thought to include it with my post. ;-) Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. I think it is funny that we study Shakespeare like he wrote for Masterpiece Theater when in reality he was writing that's days version of a network favorite--say something like Seinfeld--well done perhaps but for mass consumption, not just for the elite.

  4. RAnn, That's why I think it's so cool to hear it in the original pronunciation. Some of it is quite bawdy and it has such a more conversational tone.  So much of our current portrayal is pompous and I totally agree that he wrote for everyday people.

  5. I never read Romeo and Juliet because it was either that or Julius Caesar in the curriculum and my particular English teacher chose the latter. I tried to read Romeo and Juliet on my own later... but I didn't get very far!