Here’s what I’m thinking:
Let’s read every play–from the earliest, The Comedy of Errors, to the last, The Tempest–one per month. Thirty-six plays, three years, ending with one of my favorites around the time of my son Kyle’s high school graduation (“Our revels now are ended,” indeed).
And yes: 36… I’m skipping the two “Fletcher” plays–The Two Noble Kinsmen, an out-and-out collaboration with his “King’s Men” playwright successor John Fletcher, and Henry VIII, seen by many as either another collaboration or one that is exceedingly and heavily influenced by Fletcher’s revision. Or at least that’s the plan today. But plans change, and maybe–just maybe–at the end of this three-year journey, I’ll want to hit those two plays and maybe discuss how they are different from the other plays in the canon… Hell, I might even want to tackle the longer poems (like “The Rape of Lucrece”) and the sonnets (some or all 154 of ’em).
I’m thinking the chronological approach is best for a couple of reasons:
- it will be a great way to watch the development of Shakespeare’s writing
- it will force me to read the plays I might not feel inclined to read (let’s just say I’m not giddy with anticipation with the prospect of cracking open Troilus and Cressida and I fear that I’d put “those plays” off to the end, and then possibly not read them at all… and that would be bad)
So I’ll begin on July 1, 2009, with a reading of The Comedy of Errors (one I’ve read before). In the early days of the month, the blog entries will probably be just general discussions of the play, impressions mostly. Then as the month goes on, the entries will become more driven by the text itself, encompassing not only plot and theme, but the use of language and some discussion of performance issues as well. Interspersed throughout will be tangential discussions of how this fits into the world I’ve seen and experienced, and at age 46, that’s a chunk of life experience.
In the two weeks between now and the beginning of July, I’m going to set the baseline for writing, get used to the daily push of getting content out the ether of my head and into the ether of the ‘net.
I may even start a podcast at some point, but we’ll see how much time I have for that sort of embellishment.
When this is done–if all goes according to plan–I’ll be 49, three years younger than the Bard when he died.
Well, that’s the road-map, but where the actual journey takes us… well, that’s what the journey is for and what this blog will record.
Let’s see where this goes…