Shakespeare became the Bard of Avon, the English national poet, in the roughly two hundred years following his death in 1616. During this period, his plays were constantly staged in theaters throughout the British Isles and their colonies—but often in forms that we would be hard pressed to recognize as “Shakespearean.” The Tempest is a particularly interesting case in point.
Check out a mix of innovative online programming and safely socially-distanced in-person performances from Shakespeare companies across the US.
Read an excerpt from the introduction of a new book that assembles all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in their probable order of composition. The editors argue that readers can gain insight into Shakespeare’s personal experiences and emotions through the sonnets.
There are philosophical travesties, which use absurdity to further explore the ideas Shakespeare raised in his plays. And there are popular travesties, which are substantially less faithful to Shakespeare’s original, trafficking in the most well-known touchstones of the plays. Explore their roots in the 1800s.
Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.
Early 19th-century American students would study speeches from Shakespeare’s plays as examples of good public speaking, not as literature. How did Shakespeare’s place in the school curriculum change?