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)”

Beginnings, Part One (the play as a whole)

So how does the/this/a play begin?

Why is it important?

Well, riddle me this, Batman: what does the modern theater have that the Shakespearean Globe did not?  I’m not talking plush seats.  Or cocktails in the lobby.  Or validated parking.

I’m talking about house lights.

Continue reading “Beginnings, Part One (the play as a whole)”

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?

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…

THAT Discussion, Part Two

Yesterday, we started discussing scansion and meter (using a re-purposed presentation I gave a couple of years back), with a brief metrical overview.  We also started a close reading of beginning of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.  Today, let’s finish up the scene, and then we’ll hit the Melancholy Dane, Prince Hamlet…
Continue reading “THAT Discussion, Part Two”

THAT Discussion (or, The King of Repurposing Strikes Again!)

OK, this is a distillation of the presentation I gave to Kyle’s seventh grade English class a couple of years back, entitled “Shakespearean Verse…Scansion: The Audience’s Meaning and the Actor’s Guide”

For Shakespearean study, language is the key.  WHY?

  • No (or very limited) stage sets
  • No (or very few) stage directions in the text
  • No (or very limited) special effects
  • No (or very limited) stage sets
  • No (or very few) stage directions in the text
  • No (or very limited) special effects

All of this information must be conveyed through LANGUAGE
Continue reading “THAT Discussion (or, The King of Repurposing Strikes Again!)”

Need a tee-shirt to adorn your body?

As you may have noticed (or not, it IS at the bottom of the side navigation bar), we’ve opened a Bill / Shakespeare Project store at

thumbnail of BSP t-shirt
thumbnail of BSP t-shirt

Currently, we have three styles:

  • “Shakespeare sucketh not” on the front/schedule and URL on the back
  • URL on the front
  • project name on front/schedule and URL on back

We also have hoodies, bags, journals and clocks.

ALL items are at cost (we make no money… we just want to spread the word!)

Show your Bard-a-phile status and pimp the site!

Don’t Forget to Vote

… for your favorite play… there’s a survey in the side navigation bar just below the jump-link to our Facebook page…

As of right now, Macbeth is in the lead with a whopping two of seven votes, followed closely (duh) by Hamlet, Henry V, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew.

I’ll keep the survey up at least for the month of July… if you’ve got ideas for the next survey, post a comment!