Bring Down the House

bring-down-the-houseHave you heard the latest about William Shakespeare? Oxford University Press recently credited Christopher Marlowe as co-author for Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3. NPR has an interesting interview with Gary Taylor, Florida State University professor and one of the general editors of The New Oxford Shakespeare, in which he details the process for determining authorship.

In an act of remarkable timing, you have three chances to catch a performance from an exciting new adaptation of Shakespeare’s (and Marlowe’s) Henry VI trilogy at The Seattle Public Library.  Actors will read an excerpt from Seattle Shakespeare Company’s upcoming production of Bring Down the House, a thunderous, all-female, two-part adaptation of the Henry VI trilogy. Each reading will be followed by a question and answer session. Continue reading “Bring Down the House”

Who was Shakespeare?

image-of-shakespeares-head-in-text-courtesy-of-yelnocWhile the academic world is solidly behind William Shakespeare of Stratford, such notables as Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Derek Jacobi, Walt Whitman and Orson Welles have questioned whether he could have written the works credited to him. Among those who suspect that Shakespeare of Stratford was not the author of the plays and sonnets, the candidates who have been put forth as the real Shakespeare include Sir Frances Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, among others.
There are a number of Oxford titles, either to be praised or condemned, depending on one’s leanings; I suggest two titles Continue reading “Who was Shakespeare?”

Bard Bio

As a lifelong Shakespeare fan, I’ve known of the various debates about which of his plays came first, whether Shakespeare was indeed Shakespeare (and not, say, Francis Bacon), whether he loved his wife, how educated he was, and so on with the minutiae.  I admit I haven’t much cared, preferring to focus my attention on the sublimity of his plays and poetry instead.

shakespeare.jpgAlong comes Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson, a writer generally known for his travelogues.  What caught my attention most about this short, engaging book was Bryson’s ability to sum up all the threads of an argument and then not take sides.  There is so little actual information about Shakespeare’s life that it is tempting to speculate wildly about who he was, and many people have, but Bryson invites us to revel in not knowing.

Along the way you learn about everything from the political-religious conflicts of the day and their possible effect on Shakespeare’s career to the wild diet of the average Englishman (both noble and commoner), as well as Shakespeare’s likely education as a country boy and his unparalleled contributions to English literature and our language itself.

This book was so interesting I felt like watching at least a few of the Bard’s plays.