Happy Shakespeare Day

Shakespeare is probably a little miffed that everyone forgot his birthday.  It’s true; April 26 is actually the anniversary of his baptism, which means that for the rest of his afterlife William Shakespeare has to put up with the entire English-speaking world being perpetually late to his party.  But hey, it’s been almost 400 years since he died, so he’s probably used to it by now.

I don’t really have a favorite Shakespeare play, though I do think that the tragedies are the most fun to read: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus.  Death and ghosts and gore all the way.  If pressured to choose a tragedy, I’d probably go with Hamlet, because, well, Hamlet, with the Scottish play taking a close second.

As far as viewing Shakespeare’s plays, though, I enjoy the comedies more.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream looks great on stage, but Much Ado About Nothing wins this category for the epic verbal sparring of the Beatrice/Benedick relationship.  Beatrice is probably my favorite female Shakespeare character.  The play is good in person, but I do highly recommend the Kenneth Branagh adaptation from 1993.  I mean, just look at the cast. LOOK AT THE CAST.

Kenneth Branagh, naturally.

Why yes, that is Emma Thompson.

And Denzel Washington.

And Michael Keaton.

And Kate Beckinsale.

And a young Dr. Wilson – ahem – Robert Sean Leonard.

And  EVIL MASTERMIND KEANU REEVES.  That’s right, you heard me.

Anyway,  I got a little sidetracked, but Shakespeare.  Good stuff.  I know you might be traumatized from high school and/or college required reading lists, but the plays really are worth a second look.  Severed hands and love quadrangles = top notch entertainment, no matter what age you live in.

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4 thoughts on “Happy Shakespeare Day

  1. Do you remember watching Much Ado About Nothing in 8th grade Honors English? I remember that was the first Shakespeare I ever read in its entirety.

  2. Wow, that is quite possibly the greatest cast for a film, EVER! From Kenneth Branagh to Keanu Reeves, brilliant. I may have to watch this, totally in the mood for a remarkable romance-mischief-seduction-revenge drama.

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