Yesterday, William Shakespeare would have been 456 years old. What an amazing publishing career he’s had: plays continually performed in all languages, all over the world.
The Shakespeare & Company theater company, based in Lenox, Massachusetts, posted this on its Facebook page:
“William celebrated not one but two birthdays during the plague years of 1604 and 1606 and it seems that his isolation may have fueled his creative engine. Born under the sign of Taurus, Shakespeare is often associated with the positive traits of the Bull: determined, loyal, focused, and generous.”
I’m a big Shakespeare fan, and wrote about him and his plays, teaching and acting, Here: Fire at CT’s Shakespeare Theater and here: Brushing up my Shakespeare and here:Brown’s “R3,” Actors on Shakespeare.
A few weeks ago, I ordered a two fiction titles for my mother. At nearly 90, stuck at home since Covid-19 forced her Y to close, eliminating her bi-weekly swim class and her weekly senior center visit from her life, the one thing she can enjoy is reading. And while the scourge of age and side effects from her stroke have stolen some of her memory, she retains what she reads and can conduct meaningful conversations afterwards.
I ordered Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, two World War II novels I thought she’d like. When I called to tell her to expect the deliveries, she mentioned a book she really wanted to read based on a review. She requested Shakespeare in a Divided America, by James Shapiro, a Shakespearean scholar who’s written many books on the subject.
Not wanting to wait for a mail order delivery, I called the local bookstore near my parents and arranged for someone to pick up the book. I bought the ebook for myself, planning to read along at the same time. Alas I had already started Anne Tyler’s Redhead by the Side of the Road, and figured I’d finish it and then begin the Shapiro. I liked Redhead; it’s short, with punchy, quick dialogue, an endearing main character and easy plot. However, my mother has already finished the Shakespeare book and eagerly awaits our discussion. Yet, she’s not adept at technology, thus Zoom, Skype, and the like elude her and I haven’t been able to travel to CT to visit.
I’m hoping the curve flattens soon and I’ll be able to go; even if we chat six feet apart, wearing masks.