WordPlay™ Shakespeare

Now, Half the Page is a Stage...

Your Heartrate May Vary...

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Tom McCall, left, and Stefan Adegbola in Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Titus Andronicus.” “Pretty much every night there’s somebody who faints or is sick,” said Becky Loftus, the R.S.C.’s head of audience insight. “We want to see how the audience reacts physically to the production.” Credit Helen Maybanks/RSC

Does watching a production live, versus on a movie screen, engender a different physiological reaction? The RSC intends to find out. More.

Shakespeare: The Cure for Intellectual Lazyness?

Skull with Crown

(Simón Prades for The Washington Post/For The Washington Post)
A good (if not slightly harsh) review of modern perspectives on Shakespeare. Are we too timid with our productions? Is "relevance" overblown"? More.

Hamlet Around the Globe

Their Hours Upon The Stage - Naeem Hayat and Tom Lawrence as Hamlet and Laertes at the Odeon Amphitheatre in Amman, Jordan. Credit Sarah Lee
Their Hours Upon The Stage - Naeem Hayat and Tom Lawrence as Hamlet and Laertes at the Odeon Amphitheatre in Amman, Jordan.
Credit Sarah Lee


Stephen Greenblatt reviews Dominic Dromgool's new book describing taking Hamlet to every country in the world - Hamlet Globe to Globe.

Shakespeare at War

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Stephan Wolfert rehearsing his one-man show, “Cry Havoc!”
SARA KRULWICH / THE NEW YORK TIMES


A closer look at how Shakespeare makes sense of war, to veterans and those who have lost friends in war.

A Hofstra Hamlet that "Would Make Shakespeare Proud"

Hofstra Hamlet

Hofstra launches its 68th Annual Shakespeare Festival with a well received Hamlet. More.

Shakespeare in Love, versus Saving Private Ryan

shakespeare-in-love
An enjoyable interview with Harvey Weinstein, explaining why Shakespeare in Love, beat out Saving Private Ryan at the Oscars. More.

A Titan Retires

Michael Kahn
Michael Kahn, a titanic figure in the Shakespeare and theater world, is retiring from his post as artistic director in the Shakespeare Theatre Company, in Washington, D.C. Key quote: "When I’m told I helped make Washington a theater town, that’s the thing I feel the best about,”. More.

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Richard III
A very positive review of a play that resonates in today's political environment. More.

The Course of Academia Never Did Run Smooth?

Photo of Terri Bourus Teaching
IUPUI professor Terri Bourus teaches Shakespeare classes. She was one of four general editors of “The New Oxford Shakespeare.” (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Troubles assail the inner working of the production of the New Oxford Shakespeare project.

Oh my...



It looks as if TNT will be releasing a "biopic" of young William Shakespeare. One hesitates to think what they will do with history…

Pity...

BBC Camera fron the 1960s
The BBC have put up what looks like a fantastic Shakespeare resource, but unfortunately, they have made it accessible only to students in the UK. That's a shame.

For Shakespeare...Haters?

Shakespeare with a devil's horns, and an angel's halo
A seasoned (and quite amusing) Pittsburgh theater critic, Ted Hoover, cannot abide Shakespeare and his works. Among his pithier quotes on Studio 360: “If you had a lick of intelligence in your head , this play [Romeo and Juliet] wouldn’t happen. It only happens if you’re stupid.” Possibly... More. Oh, and NPR's Ira Glass also dislikes the bard…

It's Not Just Picard...

Michael Dorn Star Trek ActorMichael Dorn Star Trek Actor Worf
Michael Dorn (Worf in Star trek) is set to play Marc Antony.

The Limits of Technology

Visual representation of a Shakespeare set
A production photo of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s collaboration with Intel on “The Tempest.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOPHER MCGRILLIS / R.S.C.

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner reviews the RSC's production of the Tempest, and examines the limits of real-time computer effects blended with a live performance.

Cartoonish (New Mischief)

Cartoon of Tony Blair as Yorick
Starting next year, The RSC will display political cartoons influenced by Shakespeare. The influence runs deep, and long ("...an 1846 cartoon depicting the then prime minister Robert Peel's resignation as the fall of Caesar... [to]... Morten Morland's cartoon of David Cameron as Hamlet gazing at Boris Johnson's skull, from 2016"). More.

It's All Just Vector Space Mathematics to Me (Or Maybe Not...)

Monty Python, John Cleese
Fascinating (and a little over our head) article in MIT Technology Review about how computers may one day be able to detect sarcasm, and other subtle linguistic tricks. More.

Not Guilty!

Poster for The Trial of Hamlet, showing a skull in cartoon form

Shakespeare's Own Drama

Image of Shakespeare surrounded by swooning women
An excellent overview by Stanley Wells of the drama (broadly speaking) that William Shakespeare experienced in his own family affairs. More

The Stage Design Was Quite Laconic...

Russian actor in strange headgear and dark glasses.
We can't say we fully (or even partially) understand this review of Taming of the Shrew by the Russian Kachalov Theatre, but in the spirit of acknowledging Shakespeare's global reach, we put it forward here. Opaque though the commentary may be, it certainly seems like a visually arresting production. More.

Analogy Lovers, Start Your Engines!

Image of Leonard Cohen wearing a bolo tie
The Guardian proposes that Leonard Cohen is to Bob Dylan, as John Donne was to Shakespeare. Discuss...More.

Shakespeare in Mandarin

Poster for a performnce of Shakespeare's Hamlet in Mandarin Chinese
Tremendous article in the Financial Times detailing the possibilities and pitfalls in translating Shakespeare's works into Mandarin. More.

Comparing Hamilton to Henry IV, part 1.

Graphic of Hamilton as Henry V, with a castle as a backdrop
Isaac Butler, compares Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, with Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 1 -- (proper title: 1 Henry IV) in this complex but well reasoned piece for Slate. More.

What do the words "magazine", "coffee", and "alcohol" have in common?

A panel of Emojis
This delightful article by Madeline White in the Brisbane Times provides the answer: provenance. These three words are very much part of today's English lexicon, but all three originated from the Arabic language. The point? That historically, the English language has proved very adept at incorporating elements from other languages into the vernacular - with Shakespeare in the lead as an arch-shaper of that language, and emoji as the latest digital import into English. Ms. White makes the case better than we can! More.

Calling Dr. Spooner...

Poster for the One Ham Manlet Show
We here at The New Book Press can't resist the occasional Spoonerism. So, here 'tis! More.

Westworld and Shakespeare

Image of Abernathy in Westworld
Michael Crichton leaned heavily on Shakespeare's words when writing Westworld.  What does it all mean? More.

Tina Packer on Shakespeare and the Election Cycle

Photo of Director Tina Packer
Great radio piece on WBUR's Radio Boston (and the as-always excellent Meghna Chakrabarti) with Tina Packer addressing our current election discussion through Shakespeare's eyes. More.

Glenda Will Howl

Photo of Glenda Jackson rehearsing to be King Lear
Celia Imrie and Glenda Jackson in a rehearsal of “King Lear” at the Old Vic. Credit Manuel Harlan.
After a quarter century absence, two time Oscar winner and former English member of parliament Glenda Jackson will return to the stage this Friday, to play one of the most challenging of Shakespeare's roles - King Lear. More.

Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet At 20

Still photo from Baz Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet with Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonard DiCaprio and Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet
The Guardian re-reviews Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet on its 20th anniversary. More.

We Almost Lost 16 Plays...

David Kastan at lecture podium
George M. Bodman Professor of English David Kastan speaks at Drew
Yale scholar David Kastan speaks at Drew University, and explains how the first folio saved at least 16 of Shakespeare's plays from obscurity. A close call. More.

Hamlet's Father...and Halloween

Photo of Stephen Greenblatt, facing camera
John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities Stephen Greenblatt.
Leading Harvard Shakespeare Scholar Stephen Greenblatt launches a new MOOC today, entitled "Hamlet's Ghost". More.

Hag-Seed; Margaret Atwood Retells The Tempest

Graphic illustrating review of Margaret Attwood's book. Man sits indoors as woman looks inside.
A solid review of Margaret Atwood's retelling and reinterpreting of The Tempest. More.

A Heartbeat Away: Shakespeare and Autism

Image of performer working with young students on a stage
Shakespeare takes center stage in a novel intervention for children with autism. A new study from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows children with autism had improved communication and language skills after ten weeks of Shakespeare classes.

A remarkable article on how Shakespeare's The Tempest is being used to help students with autism spectrum disorder. More.

Shakespeare and Medicine

Graphic of a Shakespeare lookalike
A great article that looks at Shakespeare's writing through the prism of medicine - what he (and his contemporaries) knew about medical conditions, and where that knowledge came from. More.

Shakespeare's Co-Writers

Infographic showing a list of all Shakespeare's Contemporaries
Shakespeare did not work alone, but was profoundly influenced by those around him -- actors, directors, writers and other theater professionals. This delightful infographic from the Oxford University Press neatly captures the vibrant artistic environment in which he worked.

Henry VI, Part 1 By W. Shakespeare... and Christopher Marlowe.


1585 oil painting of Christopher Marlowe
From Wikipedia: A portrait, supposedly of Christopher Marlowe. There is in fact no evidence that the anonymous sitter is Marlowe, but the clues do point in that direction. Marlowe was 21 years old in 1585, when the painting was made. He was also the only 21-year old student at Corpus Christi, where the painting was later found.

New scholarship from the Oxford University Press suggests that Shakespeare had help from Christopher Marlowe when writing Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3. Corpus analysis helps solve the puzzle! More.

Shakespeare Embodied

Actors working on Shakespeare text on a stage floor
“We say, ‘When I say Shakespeare, you say …?' And we turn it into a kind of a call-and-response thing, and we hear things like ‘Dead!’ ‘White guy!' You know. ‘Who cares!’ ”

A great piece from WBUR on Actor's Shakespeare Project, which works with teachers to bring Shakespeare's plays to life. More.

Choices, Choices...

Good Tickle Brain Graphic on how to choose a Shakespeare play
Wondering whi to see, and in what order? Wonder no longer, as Good Tickle Brain gives you a easy to use (and amusing) flowchart on how to choose. Enjoy!

A Child Star - But Which One?



Long did, but famous in his time, he was more known for his vaudeville and broadway performances. As a not very helpful hint - he was born Joseph Yule, Jr.

Rallying the Troops



Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III and Luke Treadaway as Richmond prepare for battle. The power of oratory.