Friday, May 28, 2010

It's almost June . . .

. . . and you know what that means. It's almost time for Brush Up Your Shakespeare Month. The icon and logo you see are the work of my friend Kevin Slattery, who is a genius of an artist. You can check out lots of his work at his website. (I'm the proud owner of prints featuring Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Wolfe, plus an original portrait of myself, along with coffee mugs and a tote bag . . . )

I am still fiddling with a schedule for the barrage of Bard-related posts in June, but I figured I'd give you fair warning what the first couple of days would look like. I'd post a full schedule for the month, but I regret to inform you that I don't have a complete clue how things will go. By Tuesday at the latest, I will have finalized the list of plays and the order in which they'll be covered. I'll post here about that as soon as I know it, but in the meantime, here's the list of plays I am for sure covering this month. There are eleven in all (that's right, this event goes to eleven!), and I've stuck them into categories below.

List of plays for Brush Up Your Shakespeare Month:
(N.B. - Plays with an asterisk were discussed last year as well)


Julius Caesar
Romeo & Juliet*


Henry IV, part I
Henry IV, part II


A Comedy of Errors
The Taming of the Shrew
A Midsummer Night's Dream*

Romances and/or "problem plays/mixed categories"

A Winter's Tale
Measure for Measure
The Tempest

I can promise that there will be contests! And special guests! And a dancing bear! (Okay, no dancing bear. But one of the plays has a stage direction involving a bear, so I'm not too far off.) And I can promise that we're easing into the month, if by "easing" one means "going over slightly familiar ground". Our first play, starting Tuesday, will be Hamlet, which we discussed last year. But since it's possibly the greatest piece of literature ever produced, I see no reason not talk about it again. And then, we'll move on to The Tempest, since I read it last month and am good to go on it. (Some of the other plays we're covering are re-reads for me, but The Tempest, Measure for Measure, A Comedy of Errors, and both parts of Henry IV are new material for me - and I haven't finished reading any of the other "new" plays yet. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?)

So, a proposed schedule for the first (short) week of Brush Up Your Shakespeare Month looks like this:

Tuesday: An introduction and a complete list of plays to be covered will go up, along with the first post substantive post about the first play. I am figuring on opening with Hamlet. Yes. I know we covered it in last year's extravaganza. But I've seen two spectacular performances of the play in the interim, and it's on my mind, so that's where we'll be starting.

Wednesday: A bit of the Bard's poetry (as is pretty typical for a Wednesday here at Writing & Ruminating, plus additional Daneish posts

Thursday: Any Hamlet strings to be tied up, plus a summary of The Tempest

Friday: Still Tempestuous, hopefully with a guest appearance, and definitely with our first contest.

Yes, I've omitted the weekend. Because I remain uncertain what's next. I'll sort it out, however, before we get there. Meanwhile, should you be so inclined, you can grab a play or two for this month. And/or you can grab movie versions of some of the plays, or, if you're very lucky, catch your local theatre group's (or ballet's) production of one of the Bard's works.

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