Archive for January, 2010

For those of you who don’t tweet, below is an edited sampling of what the twitterers are tweeting on Twitter that mention Shakespeare. There are lots of quotes and mis-quotes and lots of languages other than English.

did you know that shakespeare invented the word “puke”???? i know that i didn’t until this class.

“hell is empty, all the devils are really here.”-william shakespeare. STOPHATEVIL. Peace!

An infinite amount of Sams at an infinite amount of typewriters will never write ‘The complete work of Shakespeare’

My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: ~ Shakespeare

Someone scored big on the literary deadpool list. Who’s next? Shakespeare. Agatha Christie. Moses?!

“How william became shakespeare”… WTF!

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. – William Shakespeare

How to Blog like Shakespeare: Writing for Three Audiences at the Same time

I love modesty from the man who can zing Shakespeare hashtags

My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: ~ Shakespeare

you evidentally need to read my books – “Filthy Shakespeare” and “the Bawdy Bard”. Stratford Bill pushes the limits of obscenity!


Einbildung: Der Irre “sieht mehr Teufel, als die Hölle fassen kann”, und was Verliebte “schwören, ist verliebt gelogen”. (Shakespeare)

Quote – Shakespeare: Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

There is no darkness but ignorance. – Shakespeare

O silêncio é o mais perfeito arauto da felicidade. Eu estaria pouco feliz se pudesse dizer o quanto. (Shakespeare)

“Todo mundo é capaz de dominar uma dor, exceto quem a sente.” #William Shakespeare

All about Heirloom Roses:   Times have changed for roses since Shakespeare, centuries ago wrote: “What’s in a name

I’m reading Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

“Alcohol provides the desire and takes away the performance. ” -Shakespeare

Today in History January 29: 1595 – William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is probably first performed.


A filosofia ensina a agir, não a falar. -William Shakespeare.

On my way to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a weekend away with Emily – it’s a hard life… =P Shakespeare tomorrow!

No Shakespeare tonight!!

Apenas duas coisas no universo são infinitas: o próprio universo e a ignorância dos homens. -William Shakespeare.

A witch in macbeth.. ” the liver of a god-insulting jew” mr. wolfe.. Mm 😥 Hahaha shakespeare 1 wolfe 0! 4

William Shakespeare esse verso neah?

“Maids want nothing but husbands, and when they have them, they want everything.” – William Shakespeare

O louco, o amoroso e o poeta estão recheados de imaginação. (William Shakespeare)

(((+->Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow <-+)))_”William Shakespeare”

He that is giddy thinks the world turns round. — William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”

Good gravy, i had no idea shakespeare was such a dirty person! Sheesh!

jus aced my shakespeare test!!! :)<Great job cuzo!I read A measure for a Measure last night!

“Não importa em quantos pedaços descrição:seu coração foi partido, o mundo não pára para que você o conserte. (William Shakespeare)”

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” RT this Shakespeare quote 4 free tickets to Guthrie’s Macbeth (Feb. 2,3,11,12,16).

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Off-Beat Hamlet

I’ve trolled through YouTube and found some wacky Hamlet humor.

Please add your comments below with any other Hamlet videos that you’ve discovered.

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Opening next week at the Folger is an exhibit about Extra-Illustration – the art of adding illustrations (and materials) to a book to make it a personal item for one’s reading experience.  The works of William Shakespeare were some of the most popular books to be illustrated in this way, next to the Bible and encyclopedias, rising to popularity after an historian named James Granger encouraged his readers to add pictures into his text to illustrate historical figures.

 “Grangerizing” books became popular because it gave people points of reference for their personal reading experiences. They would add in everything from doodles in the margins to full-page watercolors over text, from playbills of productions they’d seen to artists’ renderings of famous actors, and everything else they could think of. Their own personal tastes and styles became part of the book they were reading, and allowed them to express the way they saw the plays in their minds.

 Today, I’m going to borrow a page out of Mike LoMonico’s e-book to offer this modern “grangerizing” activity: Hypertext

 For example, take Sonnet 130 (because I am listening to Alan Rickman read it on the album When Love Speaks). Choosing words that stick out, create hyperlinks to pictures which illustrate these words by using a simple image search.

 My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

     As any she belied with false compare.

 With this activity, you’ll have a chance to see what individuals choose to represent words in the text – you can find a million pictures of “eyes” but one has to stick out to you in order to choose it. And how do you picture a “pleasing sound” or “delight”?  Try e-Grangerizing, or having students illustrate their own chosen passages with original drawings, magazine cutouts, or other media.

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With the recent release of the Folger’s Macbeth DVD Edition, I’m reminded of the wealth of inspiration to be taken from sources outside the play itself. Building a character as complex as Lady Macbeth who “is just known as the epitome of evil, this battleaxe of a possessed demonic dark force woman” (described by Kate Turner Walker in the featurette “Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth”) can be daunting when trying to approach the character in a different way.

Shakespeare’s plays, even the historical ones, are fiction inspired by other sources.  It stands to reason that authors have used his plays as jumping-off points where they are given fresh perspective. The authors explore (and sometimes answer) questions about the characters’ pasts and involvement in the plot.

In the play, Lady Macbeth says: “I have given suck, and know How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me” (Macbeth, I.vii). What happened to Lady Macbeth’s child? Novels such as the terrifically tense The Third Witch by Rebecca Reisert have an answer: the daughter of Lady Macbeth (by her first husband) is raised by wise women (yes those wise women) who live in Birnham Wood before becoming involved in the plot of Macbeth for her own vengeful purposes.

Another interesting aspect of the play is choice and fate. The tangling of prophecy and murderous choice that unravels after Macbeth’s first bloody deed is examined in novels such as Enter Three Witches by Caroline Cooney, Lady Macbeth’s Daughter by Lisa Klein, and Banquo’s Son by Tania Roxborogh which explore how characters not in the main plot are still affected by its events.

Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King takes the story back to its historical roots, in a Scotland run by the fiercest warriors, a king whose crown was secured by prowess in battle – not an underhanded stab in the night, and examines what life was like for a warrior’s wife.

Part of understanding the plays is trying to understand the characters within them; stepping into their shoes and imagining the life they lead.  These novels help kick-start imagination, and have a reader (or an actor) asking “What If?”  Where do you get inspiration?

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The Shakespeare Theater Association (of America) held its annual conference in London at Shakespeare’s Globe on January 7-10. [I put “of America” in parentheses because the organization has become international and its leaders are in the process of changing its name.] The Conference theme was “Who Owns Shakespeare?”

Bob Young, the Director of Education at the Folger and I traveled to London and found the program useful and varied. The Conference began on Friday with three different tours of  Shakespeare’s Globe led by Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director, Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Education, and Peter McCurdy, the builder of the Globe. We traveled to the nearby site of the original Globe, a few blocks away and passed by the site of the Rose Theater.

Saturday’s highlight was a visit to Middle Temple Hall, built  between 1562 and 1573. In 1602 William Shakespeare’s acting troupe, the Chamberlain’s Men, were invited to perform there, which is the first recorded performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and it is believed that  Shakespeare was included in the cast. Tim Carroll, the director of the Globe’s 2002 memorial production of Twelfth Night at Middle Temple Hall spoke to our group.

Sunday’s Keynote Speaker was Adrian Noble, former artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company. A lovely banquet on Sunday night at the Swan Brasserie was the perfect ending of a well-planned event.

Bob and I were part of a panel on “Cutting Shakespeare and Teacher Ownership” chaired by Kevin Costa of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company along with Karen Libman from the Grand Valley Shakespeare Company. I was part of a panel called “The Internet Owns Shakespeare” chaired by Casey Gallagher, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at DeSales University. The other panel members were Sarah Enloe, American Shakespeare Center and Ryan Nelson from Shakespeare’s Globe.

Jim Helsinger, the Artistic Director at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival was elected president at Sunday’s business meeting. He will host the 2012 conference and outgoing president, Philip Sneed will host the 2011 conference at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder. 

A full listing of all 120 member festivals with links to each is on the STAA site. I welcome other attendees to add their comments and memories to this Blog.

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As the movie industry continues to reinvent itself, Shakespeare has been a mainstay amidst developing trends.  King John was one of the first silent films, and Taming of the Shrew one of the first to receive a soundtrack. Shakespeare’s characters have even found themselves reinvented as high school students in teen movies! Similarly, as technology has taken root as a vital tool in education teachers have used Shakespeare on film to enhance their lesson plans. The disadvantage to this is that film is a passive learning tool, and if only one film is presented then students tend to think that there is only one way to interpret a single play. However, the range of interpretations of one play in the hands of different directors and actors lends itself to discussions about the text for students who regularly entertain themselves at the movies.

Showing the same scene as interpreted by different directors displays how adaptable Shakespeare’s text is. For example, screening the scene in which Petruchio and Katherine meet in the 1929 “talkie,” again in the 1967 Zeffirelli-directed film, and again in the 1999 teen-adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You, students can develop a conversation about the ranges of interpretation open to Katherine’s resistance to Petruchio’s advances. To jumpstart discussion, try keeping the text in front of students while they watch to have them circle the words the actors choose to emphasize, and note the actors’ physicality and body language.

Filmmakers re-visit Shakespeare again and again because there is always another direction to take his work.  Plays can be done with lutes (Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet) or with rock songs (Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet).  They can take place in a castle (Oliver Parker’s Othello) or in a classroom (Tim Blake Nelson’s O).  They can be done without cuts (Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet) or with wild interpretation (Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet).  Discovering broad choices on film makes for a richer classroom discussion.

For more ideas on using film in the classroom, check out Mike LoMonico’s article for PBS.

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