All posts by Bill Walthall

After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English and a teaching credential, Bill Walthall returned to his hometown in Ventura County, California, to teach English and drama at Oxnard and Hueneme High Schools. Having spent a decade in the classroom, he took a year off to recharge his batteries, but was pulled into the private-sector rat race as a technology consultant.

In the last handful of years, however, he has rekindled his passion for literature and education. He launched his blog, The Bill / Shakespeare Project, where he brings not only a fun, accessible yet still scholarly approach to a play-by-play analysis of Shakespeare’s works, but also the latest and greatest in Willy Shakespeare headlines every week in his “This Week in Shakespeare” podcast.

Beginnings, Part Two (individual scenes)

Yesterday, we talked a little about beginnings, specifically of the plays themselves, about how they could be either strong and loud (to grab the audience’s attention) or slow (building exposition at a more leisurely pace).

Today, let’s take a microcosmic look at this concept: what about the beginnings of scenes themselves.
Continue reading Beginnings, Part Two (individual scenes)

Podcast 05: The Comedy of Errors Wrap-Up

This week’s podcast includes the discussions of production concepts and possible casts for The Comedy of Errors.  Also, this week: DVD reviews of the BBC’s production of The Comedy of Errors and the PBS documentary The Hobart Shakespeareans.
Continue reading Podcast 05: The Comedy of Errors Wrap-Up

The Last Scene (much wackiness then reunion)

Ah, yes, Comedy‘s last scene.  429 lines to set everything aright.

It is the model of economy.  It begins with a reiteration by Angelo about the high esteem Ephesus has for its Antipholus (as he apologizes yet again to the second merchant).  AS and DS arrive, deny Angelo his payment, and are seen by the two (plus “wife,” sister, and ho) fleeing arrest by entering the Priory/Abbey.
Continue reading The Last Scene (much wackiness then reunion)

Why Rhyme? Part II: The Answers–Episode Two: The Answers’ Answer

OK, yesterday, we discussed the different rationales for using rhyme in the verse of the plays.  Some of our purposes:

  • singling out an entire body or block of content
  • singling out a couplet of content (for emphasis, particularly at the end of a speech)
  • content from outside the play itself–poems, songs, even entire plays that are performed within the context of the scene
  • portrayal of other worldly-entities

Continue reading Why Rhyme? Part II: The Answers–Episode Two: The Answers’ Answer

Shakespeare: the Monster Mash-Up Edition

OK, don’t know how many of you have heard of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or his projected follow-up, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but now’s there’s another classic v. monster mash-up on the horizon:

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

So it’s got me to thinking:

What about a Shakespearean monster mash-up?

Which play?  What monster?

My wife Lisa’s vote is for vampires (she’s devoured the Twilight novels [though with less and less enthusiasm] as well was the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (the source for HBO’s True Blood) and the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books by Laurell K. Hamilton), with maybe Friar Laurence being a blood sucker himself (the potion he gives Juliet is just to incapacitate her before he turns her… and when he finds Romeo in the chamber, he is touched by their romanticism and turns them both)… it might just work.

In “all my spare time,” I might even play around with the idea… any others out there?

Podcast 04: Women of The Comedy of Errors

This week’s podcast includes the results of a request put out to Facebook fans and blog readers for podcast topic suggestions.  The result?  The first of our “Women of…” issues.

Sounds like Playboy magazine, doesn’t it?

Welcome to The Bill / Shakespeare Project podcast: The Women of The Comedy of Errors edition
Continue reading Podcast 04: Women of The Comedy of Errors

Looking for the Rational Rationale (or You can’t have your poetry until you’ve eaten your prose)

Yesterday, we asked why Shakespeare chose to rhyme over 20% of the total lines of The Comedy of Errors (over 23% of the poetic line count).

wow, that’s an awful title…

Today, why are roughly 235 lines of the play in prose?
Continue reading Looking for the Rational Rationale (or You can’t have your poetry until you’ve eaten your prose)

Why Rhyme?

OK, before we continue digging, a question:

Why, in a play that is mostly poetry (by my count, poetic lines make up over 86% of the total lines of the play), and mostly blank verse, UNrhymed iambic pentameter (and, again, by my count, over 75% of the poetic lines of the play are unrhymed)…

Why, then, does Shakespeare use 350+ lines of rhyming poetry in The Comedy of Errors?

more or less… I’m compulsive, but I’m not  that anal…

No answers from Bill today… just leaving it all up to you in the blogosphere…

Respond, discuss, knock yourselves out… we’ll talk more about it at some future date…