King Lear

This marks the end of an era, doesn’t it?  All of Shakespeare’s extant plays have been documented here, and soon I hope to move on to other copyright-free plays fit for production.  But now are the final thoughts on Shakespeare’s complete works, culminating in King Lear.  This is a complex and intriguing play, regarding the … Continue reading

Othello

It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to contribute anything to this archive, so I’m happy to be back in that swing of things while life settles down for a bit.  Just two more Shakespeare plays to go before I move on to some contemporaries and examine their worth for a modern production.  … Continue reading

Troilus and Cressida

William Shakespeare wrote a play about the Trojan War.  Well, that’s just awesome.   So why is it never performed that often? You know, the ancient pseudo-mythical decade-long conflict that even rivals World War II in pop culture.  Even if you never read Homer’s Iliad or Virgil’s Aeneid, you know the general story.  But the details … Continue reading

Hamlet

So… Hamlet. There is so much that has been written about this play already, so much life sucked from it by tired schoolroom analyses, and so many interpretations of the text put onto stage and film, that a relevant discussion can prove to be very difficult.  So let me come at this entry from a … Continue reading

The Winter’s Tale

Prince Mamillus says early in the first Act of this play: “A sad tale’s best for winter: I have one Of sprites and goblins.”  Shortly afterwards, he falls ill and dies of shock when his mother, Queen Hermoine, is falsely accused of infidelity by King Leontes.  So begins this beautiful story of jealousy and forgiveness, with its famously unconventional structure.  … Continue reading

Two Noble Kinsmen

It is fairly accepted among scholars that Shakespeare collaborated with John Fletcher on two plays: King Henry VIII,  and Two Noble Kinsmen.  Considering that the former play was one of the worst plays  have ever read, ever, I did not have high hopes for 2NK (as I like to call it).  It was not included in the … Continue reading

Cymbeline

If you ask me what my favorite Shakespeare play is, I usually say Cymbeline.  Until recently, I sort of forgot why.  But then I read the thing again just now, and oh dear Christ it’s a wonderful play.  Really, really wonderful, with one of the era’s greatest female protagonists, opportunity for a spectacular battle sequence, … Continue reading

The Merchant of Venice

So, remember when Two Gentlemen of Verona had a fairly nonchalant stance on rape?  Well, Merchant of Venice has a similar problem with anti-Semetism.  However, Merchant has two incredibly fascinating and therefore redeeming characters: Shylock, the Jewish villain of the play, and Portia, one of Shakespeare’s best female characters ever.  Yeah, she’s racist, which is … Continue reading

Romeo & Juliet

I am returning to this blog, after a bit of a hiatus, with one of the most iconic and timeless shows that Shakespeare ever wrote.  It’s not the best play he ever wrote, but it’s still an iconic love story that is always going to be around.  The question becomes making it relevant, and not … Continue reading

Macbeth

This week, I chose to read Macbeth as a tie-in with the production I am actually in with Chicago’s New Rock Theater – running May 26 through June 25!  A shameless plug, I know, but it’s a creepy fun time and you can get your tickets at this link here.  We are in tech week right now, … Continue reading