Thursday, October 13, 2011

All the world's a stage

A massive bargain, the lavish boxed set Shakespeare: The Life, the Works, the Treasures covers the Bard's life and times succinctly and beautifully before looking, century-by-century, at the colorful history of preservation and performance practice. It's eminently suitable for those who know either a little or a lot about Shakespeare, and it would make a great gift to help a young person become acquainted with the infinite riches to be found in his plays.

Nobody does Shakespeare better than the Royal Shakespeare Company: from every angle they're the sine qua non. A key feature of this set is the CD of extracts from the comedies, tragedies, and histories with such renowned British actors as Rupert Graves, Bill Nighy, Simon Beale, and Saskia Reeves. Here is Simon Beale as Hamlet giving advice to the players:

I remember fondly seeing Shakespeare plays in the Sylvan Theater, outdoors on the mall in Washington DC. Jets would fly by as Tybalt and Mercutio dueled or Bottom brayed, but we didn't mind. I have been to the Folger of course, and to the recreation of the Blackfriars in Staunton, VA (quite a wonderful ambiance!) What are your favorite memories of seeing a Shakespeare play?


  1. Just a stone's throw from Daedalus in Columbia is Ellicott City, where we have wonderful Shakespeare productions every summer. In the shadow of an historic refurbished school (an idyllic setting), I've seen a few great shows. Most locals would be familiar but here's more info:

  2. I've been to the Blackfriars in Staunton and what an amazing experience that was. I saw Twelfth Night and it was fantastic, we sat in the front row and several of the actors interacted with us. It's been several years since I've been there and only recently my Mother and I were discussing taking a trip there as she is interesting in seeing a Shakespeare play for the first time.

  3. They are an excellent company ... they do 18th-century plays too, which I adore (who doesn't love Mrs Malaprop and Lady Sneerwell?)