I love Shakespeare and read many of the plays when I was a teenager. I grew up on the West Side of Cleveland, a couple miles from Lakewood High School which hosted the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. Believe it or not, they put on some great performances at the high school, with actors like Tom Hanks and Colm Meaney. My mom was a closet arts lover—never having any friends that would attend performances with her, and not wanting to drag along my dad, she probably went decades without attending a single show. I’m the youngest of six kids, and she started taking me to shows when I was middle school age in the mid-1970s. She was so glad to have a companion to go with… she subscribed to the whole GLSF series, and we attended many events together.
In the early 1980s, the GLSF moved into the newly-renovated Ohio Theatre in downtown Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. The five Playhouse Square theaters were built in the early 1920s and had gone downhill and closed by the late 1960s. They were renovated in the 1980s and are incredibly ornate and beautiful inside. My mom and I enjoyed many plays and ballets in these beautiful theaters in the 1980s, until I left for college in 1985.
I have a liberal arts degree with a minor in English Lit from Virginia Tech. I studied Shakespeare for a year and I earned my lowest grade ever (a B-!) in my first quarter of Shakespeare. I worked hard to raise that grade, but it was a challenge for me. I was an A student, so this weighed on me a bit! I never did better than a B+ in Shakespeare. The bard brought down my GPA!
I have not touched Shakespeare in 20-some years. For quite a while, I’ve been mulling over the idea of reading (or re-reading) all of Shakespeare’s plays. And I decided I could have some fun blogging about them as I read. In addition to reading all the plays, I intend to watch film adaptations, and when possible, attend live performances. I live in the DC area, so am fortunate to have the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Shakespeare Library and other groups performing Shakespeare’s works locally on a regular basis. Also, I believe I can dig up some of my old theme papers from college, so it should be amusing to see what I wrote about nearly a quarter century ago and critique my own work with the benefit of my current age and wisdom(!).
I am the mom of two small boys, so it will be a challenge for me to do all this (especially attending productions) but I will try! I’m new to blogging, so please be patient with me as I figure out what I’m doing. And feel free to comment and give me advice. I am not a Shakespeare scholar and don’t want to pretend to be anything more than a lover of beautiful words and good stories. I want to learn more about the plays, so please let me know your insights and recommendations. I would love to have people read along with me, so please join me on my journey through Shakespeare’s work!