My Year Of Shakespeare Shakepeare

My personal journey into the world of William Shakespeare

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I have always been aware that there was this dude named Shakespeare and that he influenced, well, everything. It seemed like a good time to read up on him and read what he wrote.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Shave and a Haircut....2 Bits

From Romeo and Juliet, Act5, Scene3, Line 173 (or so)
"Pitiful sight! here lies the county (Romeo) slain,
And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,"

Now, that is a most sad and dusturbing scene.
The lovers dead.

Not a dry eye in the house.
Wait, what's this? Ta dah!!!
Here comes a foppish scaliwag, cavorting about the stage, jeering, leering, sneering and the like, singing and dancing and making merry to be sure. A Jig. Yes, at the end of plays in the Elizabethan era, a funny, lively, most often, very sarcastic and politically incorrect jig took place after the end of the play.
This was the Elizabethen Era version of the Daily show.
These jigs were probably very sarcastic and politically incorrect, to say the least. In fact, I read that people actually just came in after the play was over, without paying of course, just to see the jig.
I believe that this would have been my type of entertainment. I'm sure today the ineffectual leaders of some powerful, "super"power, let's call it "America" would be properly lambasted in a jig. Jigs for all, I say.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The D'oh of Shakespeare

Sorry for taking so long. A persistant bout of Diplopia with a side of Ice-Slippia has made me a bit grumpy.
Now, I am a firm believer that books should be carefully handled. No dog-eared pages, and good, unmarred dust jackets are the rule in my book world. So, you can imagine my horror when I actually took a pencil (hi-lighter variety provided by my wonderful, very enthusiastic wife and blogmate) and, oh my god! WROTE IN A BOOK. I didn't press too hard but I had to mark some passages for future reference. It seems that having a blog has given me a strange permission to slightly mark up some pages. In school I was always the student who turned in pristine, unmarked (OK, unread, I was not of the school type.) textbooks. Just like Bart Simpson who expected special dispensation at the end of the school year by turning in clean, like new textbooks, my books had always been like new. I even carefully held those paperbacks to keep the spine from creasing. Now I am like a crazy person, writing in books and the like. Who knows, comments might even start appearing in the margins. Oh the humanity! At any rate, I'm sure Will had quite a few comments to make about the different books he read between acting and composing, so I have a sort of historical permission, as well as the aformentioned encouragement from my wife to defile my books. Tee Hee, I feel sort of dirty, and I like it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Vanity, thy name is (was) Elizabeth

It seems that Shakespeare was taking his very life in his own hands if he ever mentioned Elizabethss age. Apparently, her age and looks mattered a great deal to her at any rate. The French diplomat de Maisse described her attire as such
"She had a petticoat of white damask, girdled and open in the front, as was also was her chemise, in such a manner that she often opened this dress and one could see all her belly, and even to her navel... When she raises her head she has a trick of puting both hands on her gown and opening it insomuch as all her belly can be seen."
Now this is a very aged, one might say old, woman, albeit the Queen, who feels it necessary to bare herself to her audience. Watch out Shakespeare! She might take something you say personally. Shakespeare added quite a few special epilogues to plays that were performed for Elizabeth and he, very carefully, mentioned her mortality a few times. Good thing she liked him or it could have been "Off with his head!" or some other unpleasantness.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Uther fathered Arthur

I read a interesting bit that had an actor, who acted with Shakespeare, schedule a rendevous with an admirer who asked him to come dressed as Richard III. Shakespeare overheard this and arranged to arrive before his fellow actor, dressed as Richard III, and enjoyed the admirer ever so much. Now this got me to thinking how Uther, disguised as Gorlois, lay with Igraine and so came Arthur. You see, Merlin used his power to transform Uther to look like Igraine's husband Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, in return for the child that Uther and Igraine would have(Arthur). While Uther coupled with Igraine at Tintagel castle, her husband was killed in battle at another castle. Makes me wonder just how often people conceive children with someone other than whom they think they are conceiving them with? to be continued....if and when I discover more shenanigans afoot. :)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

And she was.....

In my newly neverending search to find the Shakepeare translator; The device that will translate whatever is said into Shakespearean (Elizabethan) english; I have found something that has already given me several moments of pleasure, so far...
RhymeZone Shakespeare Search lets you type in any phrase or word an it will tell you which place(s) it was written by Will.
I entered the phrase "and she was" thinking of the Talking Heads song, "And She Was" and I got
and she was
wean'd,-i never shall forget it,- Romeo and Juliet: I, iii
She turn'd to folly, and she was a whore. Othello: V, ii,
You try it, go to RhymeZone and enter it or another of your favorite phrases.
(Ok, yes, "breasts" occurs 10 times but it was purely for scientific reasons). Sorry.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ring around a rosie

"Ring around a rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down." OK, the urban legend about this nursery rhyme has apparently been debunked. Either way, at my book store the only things that I worry will affect my business are the weather, the Vikings game, or the Twins, and if Halloween falls on a weeknight. But Shakespeare had the Black Death to consider. An outbreak of the plague could really keep the theatre goers at home, or worse dead. Its hard to imagine London during a time of horrible groaning, dying..aargh.,just stop it. I hate having such a vivid imagination (sometimes). Regardless, 'ol Willie certainly managed to write a lot of plays during this time. I guess he had a very good immune system. I wonder if he was a Vegan? I'm sure i'll find out in my readings. At least he didn't have to worry about catching the flu from bottled water.(thanks abbytaylor).