Playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins on His First Time

As part of their “first time” series, The Paris Review posted this wonderful video of playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins and his experiences writing his very first play, where he addresses race and black theater culture, touching on subjects that traditionally make people very uncomfortable. I love how he traces his own thought process and the realizations he came to as he wrote and eventually mounted this challenging work.

A Happy Birthday to the Bard

We observe William Shakespeare’s birthday today, April 23rd, and since I’m only a couple of weeks back from merry old England, I feel the need to get into the spirit. So, for your listening pleasure, I offer up this video on how Shakespeare’s works would sound in the original pronunciation. I believe I posted this before, but it’s been quite a while and bears repeating. Enjoy!

Birthdays with the Bard

It’s quite a literary day, today, being the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. I know there are all sorts of theories about the possibility or likelihood that Shakespeare penned all the works attributed to him, and regarding the chances that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon was sufficiently well educated to have been capable of such a feat. But today I just want to give him all the credit, and marvel that such a body of work has survived and thrived for so many centuries. We continue to produce the plays, both in direct theatrical productions and varied adaptations in multiple mediums, and they continue to be relevant even after all this time. The breadth of characters, the human emotions touched upon… there’s a great deal to admire there.

So, in honor of the Bard, I offer you all sorts of mid-week reading to put you in a Shakespearian frame of mind. Enjoy!

450 Years of Juliets: On Women Making Shakespeare

Shakespeare, Heartthrob: Reclaiming the Bard for the Common Man

Why Shakespeare Belongs in Prison: The incarcerated may be the Bard’s ideal modern audience

Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday with Some of His Best Insults and Pick-up Lines

50 Everyday Phrases that Came from the Bard

As Shakespeare turns 450, ‘Hamlet’ Tour Makes the World a Stage