Shakespeare 400
Words of the long-dead playwright continue to evolve

Words of the long-dead playwright continue to evolve

Dead 400 years in 2016, Shakespeare lives on in tens of millions of copies of his plays and poems in all kinds of media that are read and performed, alluded to and mashed up. My interest is in the editing of Shakespeare, where he seems particularly lively because his...

‘Picture’ of Shakespeare remains surprisingly blurred

‘Picture’ of Shakespeare remains surprisingly blurred

Of all the images connected to Shakespeare and his work, perhaps none has elicited more fascination and frustration than the ostensible portraits of the author himself. Several representations of Shakespeare have become mainstays of popular culture, but did he...

Women need freedom to shape narratives for a new century

Women need freedom to shape narratives for a new century

William Shakespeare wrote for a repertory company made up exclusively of men – men played all the roles, both male and female. The most senior and respected actors in the company played the major male roles; apprentice boys played the female roles. This structure was...

Title page offers as many questions as answers

Title page offers as many questions as answers

Imagine for a moment that we are in London, the year is 1622, and we have just entered the premises of the printer-publisher William Jaggard. Five printed books are in production. One, a dictionary of Christian words, is nearly complete. Three others, all large books...

The Bard offers rare cuts for compulsive completist

The Bard offers rare cuts for compulsive completist

For a long time, a fierce completist instinct determined my musical purchases. Elliott Smith played on a Birddog album? Thom Yorke sings on Unkle’s Psyence Fiction? Better buy them. In the days before iTunes, tracking down The Damned’s Turkey Song proved to be a grail...

Prologue to Hal’s journey

Prologue to Hal’s journey

On the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, actor Graham Abbey was on stage at the Stratford Festival, playing Prince Hal, the wayward son in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1. Hal’s father, King Henry, opens the play...

His virtual reality in the Digital Age

His virtual reality in the Digital Age

Over the last several years, digital humanists have increasingly found avenues for analysis in the work of William Shakespeare. While computational analysis of classic literary works has been the subject of protracted controversy, many suggest new technologies have...

Uncovering the object of sonnet’s passion

Uncovering the object of sonnet’s passion

Shakespeare’s Sonnets both express and excite strong passions, though many troubled readers have tried to downplay the poems’ effusions of passion. The reason is simple: The principal addressee and object of praise in most of these poems is not a beautiful woman, but...

New stagings shed fear of fatigue of familiar texts

New stagings shed fear of fatigue of familiar texts

There are very few books I read a second time. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Laurie R. King’s O Jerusalem. The Days are Just Packed, by Bill Watterson. And when I read for a second time a book I remember loving, the memory of that pleasure is more often than not...

Western performances keep summer tradition alive

Western performances keep summer tradition alive

While innumerable celebrations are being held this year around the globe – not to mention at The Globe in London, England – to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, here at Western we are continuing a venerable theatrical community tradition that...

Language of food pleased palate of audiences

Language of food pleased palate of audiences

How does food speak to us? What does it say when we choose salad, not steak? When we buy our vegetables from local farmers, when we avoid pork or shellfish or insist on gluten-free? As Shakespeare knew, food is a shared language, full of dramatic possibility. The...