Playing with Shakespeare:

Today marks the anniversary of what is agreed to have been, from baptismal records, the birthdate of William Shakespeare, and he died on the same date 402 years ago.   A wonderful way of remembering the dates was taught to pensitivity 101 — at least, it works for me.

You need to start by knowing that the birth date was in the 1500s. Then you remember that the normal order of + or – has the + first. So, you add the 1 and the 5 to get 6: so far 156. Now you take the 5 again but minus 1. Voila: 1564.  You know he lived more than 36 years, so the next century date must be 1600. Just add another 16 to give ‘1616’ and there it is.  For the actual date, you have already used 1 to calculate the year. Continue from that and you get 234. Done! Yes, 23rd of the 4th month is the date! Americans won’t get confused, because 34th February wouldn’t exactly work. So, if you win a million in a quiz contest by knowing these dates, remember to give pensitivity 101 and self a cut!

The Will bit I have always enjoyed most is Much Ado About Nothing. It has a good story, and the character of Beatrice is delightful (especially played by Emma Thompson). I prefer her to the Rosalind of As You Lie Kit.

Midsummer Night’s Dream has also got much to commend it, in my view. It is good fun.

I remember many years ago Youngest Daughter draped in a tree on a very cold night wearing some glued-on flowers in strategic spots and nothing else, for an outdoor performance.

Who can identify the play with these lines? —

Ronel:    Thereunto we may know that while fools are forgotten by their words

                The wise are remembered by their deeds.

Flavio:   Pray tell, if deeds of the wise doth lie in their words,

                While the words of fools may lead to undying fame in their folly,

                Be this the sheep that herds the Iceland Dog*,

                Or, mayhap, the order of Nature?

*(as sheepdogs were known In Shakespeare’s time)
© April 2018 Colonialist

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in History, Language, Theatre, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Playing with Shakespeare:

  1. Calmgrove says:

    Hmm, consulting Mr Google all I can find is this quote from Henry V: “Pish for thee, Iceland Dog! Thou prick-ear’d cur of Iceland…” Which is not your quote at all.

    As for Ronel and Flavio, Mr Google prevaricates mightily. However, I know of a contemporary politician or two to whom these words would certainly apply: “the words of fools may lead to undying fame in their folly…”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debra says:

    I also love “Much Ado About Nothing,” but if forced to find a true favorite, I don’t think I am capable! The math formula made my head spin and I doubt I could ever remember it, but I am quite impressed!


  3. Lizzie Ross says:

    “Sweetness and light”? Not for me. I’ll take Macbeth (but my daughter prefers Twelfth Night). I’ve seen both many times, including a Twelfth Night that ranged across the southern tip of Manhattan, with some scenes to and from (and on) Governor’s Island.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We ‘did’ Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for A Level GCE. And I have to agree with you. It had little appeal for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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