Most people are introduced to Shakespeare when they are forced to read Romeo and Juliet or King Lear for a high school English class. The language can be difficult and unwieldy, and it doesn’t feel accessible to our minds. I felt that way when I started struggling my way through the first play of his that I read, Hamlet, but then my 12th grade teacher wheeled the TV cart into our room and showed us the film version in which the title character was played by Derek Jacobi (filmed about 14 years before he was knighted). It hit me then; Shakespeare is meant to be seen, not read. Part of the experience is watching actors pour their souls into these fantastically interesting characters. When it is brought to life in front of your eyes, you can suddenly see how his brilliant ideas maintain relevance in the modern life.

Portrait of William Shakespeare

You probably use phrases attributed to Shakespeare every single day. Is there a green-eyed monster lurking deep inside of you? Is there someone in your life who is the be-all, end-all and who reminds you that love is blind? Have you ever had to break the ice? What about that heart of gold of yours? Okay, here’s one for you: Knock knock! Who’s there? Shakespeare is there, coining all of these phrases and many more!

Are you still unconvinced of Shakespeare’s incredible legacy? There are countless films that do not bear the names of his plays but are still based on works by The Bard. She’s the Man, a teen comedy starring Amanda Bynes, is a retelling of The Twelfth NightWest Side Story takes the star-crossed lovers (another Shakespearean phrase!) from Romeo and Juliet and places them in the Upper West Side of New York City. Have you seen the Disney classic The Lion King or read one of the novelizations? That is Hamlet!

I am very passionate about showing people what there is to love about Shakespeare, so I am very happy that the Chesapeake Public Library’s Mobile Edition van will be at TCC’s Shakespeare in the Grove, located behind the Pass Building at the Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road. This year’s free, outdoor performance is a showing of Much Ado About Nothing.  Weather permitting, the Library will be there from approximately 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m., and the play will begin at 8:00 p.m. every night from Wednesday, June 21st to Sunday, June 25th. The Library will be able to answer any questions you have about our services, and there will be some fun activities. Be on the lookout for Shakespearean magnetic poetry and a 3D printer demonstration. There will also be a guest appearance by my newest and tiniest friend, the 3D-printed Shakespeare robot:

3D printer Shakespeare robot

For questions about the play, you can contact the TCC Chesapeake Theatre representative at 757-822-5219. For any questions about the Library’s Mobile Edition van, give us a call at 757-410-7124.

Are there any other Shakespeare fans out there? What is your favorite adaptation?

Ashley

Ashley is a Librarian who loves Shakespeare, Young Adult fiction, and databases. She shares her home with a rabbit, a cat, a betta fish, and roughly 500 rubber ducks.

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5 thoughts on “Fair Play: An Ode to Shakespeare

    1. Hello!
      Coriolanus is one of those plays that really proves to me how magical Shakespeare is. On paper, it does not sound interesting to me at all, but on stage I found it rather mesmerizing! When you go into a Shakespearean tragedy, you are braced for death. Usually the stage is littered with bodies by the end of the play. It can still be incredibly moving with the right actor. I’ve seen both recent productions: the film version with Ralph Fiennes as Caius Martius Coriolanus and the stage version starring Tom Hiddleston when it was played in cinemas for the National Theatre Live program. I thought both were fantastic – definitely hit me in the feels at the end! I have also heard that Sir Lawrence Olivier’s performance was incredible. If I could find a filmed version of that, I would absolutely watch!

  1. Hi Ashley,

    That Shakespeare robot is adorable! It looks so tiny! Personally, my favorite Shakespeare adaptation is either the 1996 Romeo + Juliet with Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes; or 10 Things I Hate About You.

    1. Thank you! Robo-Shakespeare is tiny – only a bit bigger than a quarter!

      Excellent choices! I remember loving Romeo + Juliet when it came out (even though that was probably because my teenage cousin loved it and I idolized her). 10 Things I Hate About You still holds up really well as a solid teen movie. I still watch it fairly regularly on Netflix. I remember the first time I watched after really getting into Shakespeare and being so excited to see how well his stuff translated into modern stories. It really is timeless!

  2. My wife and I visit the American Shakespeare Center-Blackfiars Theater in Staunton, VA at least twice a year. The theater company is terrific and interactive and the plays are fantastic. Not a bad seat in the house and the theater is designed to look like the Globe Theater. I highly suggest a trip to Staunton to watch one of their productions.

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