My name is Rebecca Shakespeare. If you were wondering, yes, people always ask me if I’m related to Shakespeare. It’s great to have a universal small-talk topic on your nametag and credit card. And it’s fun when people tell me they’ve never met a Shakespeare before, and I’m their first.
But do I love Shakespeare? I acknowledge that his works are classic – everyone I meet wouldn’t recognize my name if he wasn’t so well known. His prose and poetry are stunning. He simultaneously spoke to the highest and lowest class audience members, solidifying his place in Elizabethan England pop culture. I get the iambs and the pentameter. I understand the timelessness of starcrossed lovers. I brag about the words Shakespeare created for us, like “upstairs.” But I haven’t seen enough of his work done well to really say I love his plays. I want to. I really do.
Getting to Know Shakespeare
This blog is an attempt to chronicle my goal for my 30s: to find and watch a good production of every Shakespeare play. I want do undo my current assumption that most productions of Shakespeare are boring and terrible.
It’s not ALL someone else’s fault that I’ve found so many productions of shakespeare snore-inspiring. Part of that is my own lack of knowledge of the plays, their language, and their context. Part of that is spending more time with the works themselves, in the theatre, in recordings, and in print. And part of that is getting to know Shakespeare through modern eyes, by looking at interpretations of his work across many media (movies, dance, art, memes).
I want to turn 40 knowing why the Bard’s works have entertained so many people over so many years. I want to be able to butt heads successfully with Shakespeare buffs about his life and works. I want to love Shakespeare.