10 Things You Didn’t Know about Shakespeare

Posted in Shakespeareana on 2014/04/23 by Mattermind

I posted a list before, but since the world never seems to tire of top tens and hundred bests, I figured it might be helpful to pass THIS one along.

It contains lots of ideas that I’ve never heard mentioned before. Have you?

The Sonnet Project Begins

Posted in The Sonnets on 2014/04/23 by Mattermind

I mentioned in previous posts my boundless admiration for The Sonnet Project. These amazing folks launched an incredible undertaking to celebrate Shakespeare by setting his sonnets in a modern, Manhattan context. It will be an honor and a privilege to help spread word about it far and wide.

They timed it all to coincide with Shakespeare’s birthday – so I feel it’s only appropriate to formally begin linking to their work today with Sonnet #1.

While I haven’t fully wrapped the Hollow Crown saga, there are more sonnets available than I could possibly cover in a month. So why not seize the day and begin now?

Please visit The Shakespeare Project and support them in any way you can. Even a friendly word of encouragement is helpful…as any blogger might tell you.

Happy Birthday, Will!

Posted in Celebrations on 2014/04/23 by Mattermind

With all the fuss they make over obscure commemorations, Google might have dialed up the glasses and done a doodle (you’d think) today to honor the greatest playwright who ever set qwill to parchment. Guess they’re too busy uploading maps and cat videos to the cloud to be bothered.

But here at the blog, we’re more than aware that today is not just any ol’ hump day, but an occasion to put on party hats and make a little noise for a guy who’s turning 450 this year.

He’s aging quite gracefully, our William. Doesn’t look a day over 305 if you ask me. Maybe the time has come for some pushback against the post-modern tendency to drag the heroes of literature down with text-fixated obscurantism.

But that’s for another day.

This one belongs to you, Mr. Shakespeare. A toast to you, who lives on through all of us who love you, and the generations to follow who will discover and love you too.

House of Shakespeare

Posted in Celebrations, Shakespeareana on 2014/04/22 by Mattermind

Tomorrow is Shakespeare’s birthday and to honor it I will be posting throughout the day.

While wrapping up Henry IV, Part II, I encountered a bit of wicked treachery that reminded me of an article I had recently seen drawing comparisons between Shakespeare and the TV hit, House of Cards.

I don’t watch the show because I’m not, as a rule, attracted to treachery nor art depicting it. For similar reasons, I was unable to stick with Mad Men, another wildly popular and highly touted offering.

The dark side of humanity is not a place I desire to dwell unless to extract a necessary moral lesson. I can bear it in limited quantity, but I prefer to spend my time and what’s left of my senses exploring the virtue, goodness and possibilities rather than to surrender to the negative any more than need be.

I imagine that’s a rather odd confession in an age of anxiety. This is a time for the celebration of anti-heroes and ironic wit, detached critiques and dumbed-down avuncular stooges. It gets harder and harder to wear one’s heart nakedly on one’s sleeve.

But I do protest too much.

Henry IV will wrap tomorrow and I will share news of birthday celebrations from around the world as I find them.

This world was made a better place by Shakespeare’s birth. The day has finally arrived for everyone, everywhere to make hay of the occasion, and to let their appreciation for the Bard be known.

Shatner Vs. Shakespeare

Posted in YouTube on 2014/04/21 by Mattermind

I just discovered this delightful stop-motion movie made out of Legos (no, not that movie…this five-minute short about Shakespeare).

Wags may prefer calling it The Ultimate Battle of Wills (cough). Just call it “educational” and enjoy a good laugh while marveling at the infinite ingenuity of your fellow human kind.

Or maybe these folks just have too much time on their hands.

Either way, keep it up, guys.

In Celebration

Posted in Celebrations on 2014/04/18 by Mattermind

…of the sacred holiday of Easter, this blog will take a break from Good Friday through Monday morning. I wish everyone a blessed time of joy and happiness among all your loved ones.

Peace,
Bryan

“Enough with the Goddamned Shakespeare Already”

Posted in Performance, Shakespeareana with tags , , on 2014/04/17 by Mattermind

Public Radio International

While it’s safe to say that not everyone loves Shakespeare, few would go as far as to suggest that the modern theater is being undermined by too great an appreciation for the Bard.

Yet according to this NPR story, an internet meme has gathered momentum proposing that very thing. A closer examination, however, reveals that any aspersion cast by the opinion has more to say about theater managers than about the indisputably greatest playwright who ever lived.

And to an extent it makes sense; by overrelying on a singular cow to deliver the cream, theater houses are not only dulling audiences with steady doses of the already familiar, they are also neglecting all the other works that rarely get performed as a result.

I suppose the same argument holds in arenas like classical music where Bach, Beethoven & Mozart tend to crowd out all the rest. But is there any other field where one titanic individual dominates his rivals to such an extent as Shakespeare? Should he be throttled back to allow other neglected voices to shine?

It’s an interesting idea to say the least. You can read more and comment on it yourself HERE.

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