Today marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and what better way to commemorate the Bard than a day at the museum and gardens?
Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar, but never Doubt I love. – Hamlet Act II Scene II
From freshman year onward my teachers have always taken extra efforts to make sure that my classmates and I have been exposed to proper literature, and yes, that did include a LOT of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. Some of the plays that we so intensively studied included Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth (or in my theater classes The Scottish Play), and Hamlet. In an independent study I also carefully examined Shakespeare’s history play Richard III with a comparison to the legitimate reign of the last Plantagenet king of England and the legends of murder and physical deformity (his hunchback) that surrounded him.
While Shakespeare may have done well with his endeavors during Elizabethan times, surely as each century has passed his legacy has only grown stronger. Today a good number of my favorite movies have been loosely based on his plot lines (i.e. Letters to Juliet, She’s the Man, and 10 Things I Hate About You), and it wouldn’t be difficult to track down a performance of one of the original plays either. Also, if you haven’t watched Shakespeare in Love I would absolutely recommend it. We watched it in my IB theater class and it was incredibly worthy of the Oscar that it won.
I have great confidence that the celebrations and performances in England are at the top of their game during this time, but our little date celebration was worth remembering as well. After a not-so-quick stop at a large used bookstore to pick up a new copy of one of the Bard’s plays, we ventured over to our local art museum that was boasting a festival of sorts in honor of the great playwright. I discovered a brilliant new French artist named Marie Laurencin that I absolutely adore. We listened to performers reciting monologues and Shakespeare-inspired raps in the garden. A woman even saw us sitting by a reflecting pond from a distance and absolutely insisted that someone take a picture of us because we were “too adorable”.
Without hesitation it would be easy to say that a day like this couldn’t be improved upon. In reality it served as a wonderful distraction for all the stress that’s so quickly approaching. Testing season and graduation are almost upon me and I can’t help but want to simultaneously skip through it all and elongate the time with my friends. However, I can always look to Shakespeare to make me better appreciate all the culture and art that I’ll gain exposure to across the pond in just a few short months. It gives me a renewed sense of motivation. Thanks, Will. I really appreciate it.