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.