Friday, December 31, 2010

i'm just a regular girl who wants to read Shakespeare.

i want to be straight up. i am no Shakespeare expert. while i am studying theatre, i am not studying Shakespeare and this is not a project for school. i decided to do this because i have wanted to read all of will's works for the past decade or so. i need accountability. hard core. i thought i would make a project of reading the entire canon, then decided that the only way to do it was to really push myself with concrete deadlines. reading everything in a rough semblance of chronological order seemed a great way to get a sense of evolvement and continuity. so yay Shakespeare and yay me!
but. then i started thinking about how cool it would be to share the project and get people excited about digging into Shakespeare. i thought those who love it and those who hate it could benefit equally from sharing this project with me. wouldn't it be cool to create some sort of forum for talking and learning about something most people haven't touched since it was rammed down their throats in high school? yes. yes it would be. voilĂ . the blog is born.

who knows, maybe no one will read this thing and the blog element will be a flop. but you know what? worst case scenario: i will have read all of shakespeare's works in 365 days. and that was the whole point anyway. awesome.

by the way, i lied. I am not starting with Henry 6. i realized that I should probably start with something slightly less daunting than a history trilogy. yikes.

my first play pick is COMEDY OF ERRORS. woo! tomorrow i will read the introduction and background information that my Bevington anthology has to offer, and we will go from there.

i look forward to hearing from you!

-rebecca may


  1. I'm looking forward to reading with you. All set up on my Kindle! Since I am a slower reader, it would be helpful if you could give me the reading assignments for the coming week. That will help me plan my days so I can keep up. Thank you! :)

  2. Linda, what a splendid idea. for now, i will post it here. the first week is a little intense because i am still out of school. it will slow down a bit next week.

    saturday- background and info
    sunday- acts 1 and 2 (theyre pretty short)
    monday- act 3
    tuesday- act 4
    wednesday- act 5

    i will update more on monday!

  3. Ok. I'm in. Maybe a get together after each play and discuss? Just an idea. Then I won't suck at Shakespeare either. I am currently reading "Thinking Shakespeare" by Barry Edelstein so that I know what the hell I'm doing.

  4. Did I ever tell you about THE BOMB-ITTY?

  5. Jason, great idea! please do share anything interesting you come up with in that there book.
    Susan, no you didn't. do tell...

  6. So excited to begin. Although I have been a Shakespearean fellowship student on two different occasions, I still am so lame that I have not read all the plays. I know! I suck! Hey, I will really look forward to what people have to say about the plays that I know and will be interested in reading those I do not. Just for a side comment. I saw "Errors" at USF a few years ago (Jaime) and it was set in communist Cuba. Hmmmmm.

  7. THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS is a hip-hop version of the play, written by several NYU students, who performed it off-Broadway and elsewhere in the late 1990's. In 2002, Ranney was cast in a production for that year's American Stage Shakespeare in the Park show in St. Petersburg. Unprecedented crowd-pleasing success and a fortunate conspiracy of events resulted in the ensemble that included Ranney going on to perform the play at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (where it was the consistently best reviewed - all 4 and 5 star ratings - of more than 1500 offerings, received multiple awards, and was declared "the smash hit of the Fringe" by a critic for one of the major London papers), the Helix in Dublin, and the New Ambassadors on the West End.

    From late June 2002 to early June 2003, Ranney was gone a total of six months. I stayed home with the animals, but traveled to see him perform in each city. It was the thrill of my life! is the official website, in case you're interested in learning more. You can see Ranney in several of the images on the photos page. We have our own photo albums and other memorabilia, too.

    Four guys played all of the parts. The seemingly impossible quick changes added to the comedy. In addition to the actors, the DJ always has equal status as a member of the ensemble. Fly girls and break dancers appeared in some of the larger scale productions, too.

    At one time, Julie Taymor was supposed to direct the original cast in an MTV Films movie of the play, but I don't know what happened.

    One of my American Theatre classmates told me that the introduction to the Cambridge Press edition of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS mentions THE BOMB-ITTY.

  8. I decided that I'm going to do this...I might as well stop being lazy and actually read the plays! Thanks for the motivation. I'm excited to start.

    I agree with Jason, I think we should get together after each play to discuss. :)

  9. The Taymor version of The Tempest is amazing!

  10. PS The plays we did at The Globe were Othello, Merchant and Love's Labours. At the Folger, Midsummer and Julius. Just finished Richard III with my Advanced kids. We tried him for the murder of his nephews. Just fyi he was acquitted! Going to buy my CoE today, if I can find that $20 Zach gave me for Christmas. LOL.

  11. Susan, that is AMAZING! After I finish the play I am going to spend some time on that site. Thanks for sharing!

  12. You're welcome. I usually enjoy reliving that rollercoaster. And I promise not to write a long biography for every play.

  13. A word of advice that you can feel free to take or leave at your leisure, though I highly recommend it if you find yourself falling behind. If the daily schedule becomes too daunting to keep up with, set yourself a weekly goal. For example, if your goal is to have three acts read by say, the following Thursday, and you find that you can't get any reading done Monday or Tuesday, do not let yourself go to bed Wednesday night until those three acts are done, and then just try to space your next week's goal out more evenly. If possible, even try to knock out the next week's goal early so that you don't need to stress over it and can maybe even get ahead. It may make some weeks more strenuous than others, but it can keep the greater task from creeping up and biting you.
    Best of luck! I look forward to seeing what you come up with!