Election Day in a Monarchical Oeuvre

(Originally published on A Will for Will: the Shakepseare Project.)Election Day in the United States is tomorrow. I need to do a bit of a short-ish post so I can have some time this evening to study up on local candidates and issues. This is my first election since moving to Boston, so there’s lots of unfamiliar names and ballot measures I need to wrap my head around.I did a little poking around to see if I could do something topical that interwove Shakespeare and elections, even though I was a little skeptical about the odds of this. After all, with the number of plays that hinge on questions of monarchic succession, there didn’t seem to be much odds of a strong overlap between Shakespeare’s plays and the democratic electoral process.But I hadn’t counted on the Canadians....more

Desdemona's Maturity

(Originally posted on A Will for Will: The Shakespeare Project.)There is nothing like the experience of live theatre. There’s a reason I’m holding firmly to the rule that I can’t consider myself to have added a play to my “collection” until I’ve seen it live. I believe there’s a special kind of magic that occurs when actors and audience members meet at a unique moment in time and travel together through a few hours of imagination’s space together.Nonetheless, I will admit that I also have profound gratitude to be living in a day and age when the magic of recording technology and global communication means that I have so much more Shakespeare at my fingertips than was even possible a few decades ago when I read my first of his plays back in middle school....more


(Originally posted on A Will for Will: The Shakepeare Project.)We’ re finishing up Othello in the EdX course this week, and I’m going to take that invitation to think through a few things about the character of Desdemona — both new insights and some things that have been rattling around my brain about her for some 15 years or so. My thinking is scattered enough that I imagine this is going to run across a few shorter posts rather than me trying to write a comprehensive seminar paper in the next hour or two.*In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up interspersing posts in the “Desdemona sequence” with some other topics — I find Othello to be a tough, tough play to grapple with on an emotional level, so I bet I’m going to want to dip in and out of my focused discussion on this play and this character, with all the demands it makes of us to face questions of domestic violence and misogyny.(Yes, I’m making a bit of an anhistorical claim with that statement. I’m not an Elizabethan scholar, so you will not ever find me pretending that sort of expertise here on Will4Will. However, I know the world I live in now, and I am perfectly confident in suggesting that there is quite simply no effing way for a contemporary U.S. audience to face Othello without having to wrestle with questions of racism and domestic violence.)Anyhow…...more

In love with Shakespeare!?!

Well today, 23 April 2014, has been a day filled with a gross amount of hype surrounding that great playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. Why today? If you haven’t already noticed, most scholars guesstimate that his birthdate was 23 April 1564. The basis of this is the fact that most babies of the period were christened within three days of their birth. The parish records from Strafford-upon-Avon have young Will being baptised on 26 April 1564. So “to be, or not to be” this is the date that the venerable Bard’s birthday is celebrated.Most of us have a love/hate relationship having been first introduced to his plays as school children, forced to study various school selected plays that had to be read and analysed in great detail, causing many of us great amounts of misery. Well the tragedies at least. The comedies are debatable. I have to admit I did enjoy the comedies....more

Good News for Ricardians

I am, like a lot of other folks right now, pretty excited about the recent discovery ofRichard III's skeleton under a Leicester municipal parking lot. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as I'm sure many more scholars will be weighing in, but it does seem like the doors are wide open to discuss Richard III and his reign....more

Shakespeare Uncovered

PBS has a new show that fans of acting and actors, and most especially, William Shakespeare, are bound to enjoy. Each episode of Shakespeare Uncovered features a well-known actor tracing the steps of the Bard's famous plays. ...more

Side A: Love Songs, Part 1

If music be the food of love, play on....more

Why, this is very midsummer madness!

"Then followed that beautiful season… Summer…Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscapelay as if new created in all freshness of childhood."~Henry Wadwsorth Longfellow Summertime. ...more