It’s nearly here. April 23rd will be the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
And that day is one in my month of living Shakespeareanly.
(OK, I know its not a word. But he made up so many, aren’t I allowed one?)
Anyone who reads my books knows I am pretty obsessed with the Bard of Avon. All his works but especially Hamlet. My second play was ‘Glimpses of the Moon’ in which the ghost of a British actor, Benjy, walks out of a closet in Calgary in 1996. He’d just played Hamlet – badly – for the first time… in 1936. My first Young Adult book, The Fetch, opens with the same lines as the play: ‘Who’s there?’ (What a start I always think!) Then there’s the full fruit of my passion SHAKESPEARE’S REBEL, novel and play, where I attempt to answer the question: why Hamlet then? in a rip-roaring adventure tale of Will’s oldest friend, and fight arranger John Lawley. Shakespeare’s actually a character in that one which upset a few people. ‘You dared to put words into his mouth?’ they said. ‘Only fair,’ I replied. ‘He’s been doing it to me for years.’
And he will be doing it again this month. On the day itself, April 23rd, I and a fine band of actors are taking over the main theatre on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada for SHAKESPEARE’S WAKE. We will conjure his spirit, and perform a selection of scenes, soliloquies, sonnets, songs… and one sword fight. It will by its nature be a Bard Greatest Hits night. But what hits! Come along if you get a chance. Click on the link!
But the 23rd is only the beginning of a mad Will week. I fly to Toronto on the 25th and on the 26th perform my one man show SHAKESPEARE 1600 at two Toronto libraries. This is the one with me in pantaloons and wielding my broadsword. Click above for a sneak preview video and a glimpse. And then go to APPEARANCES on my website for full details.
I then repeat the show at a high school the next day, fly to Boston, and perform it a final time at the Newburyport Literary Festival (Again, see Appearances). I will also be on a panel, part of which will be a mini debate on whether Will wrote Will. I might bring my sword. One of the great pleasures in life, surely, is skewering Oxfordians.
I wonder if at the end of all this my Shakespeare thirst will be slaked? Nah! Obsession doesn’t fade. It feeds upon itself and grows.
So perhaps I’ll see you for Shakespeare 500 in 2052 – the 500th anniversary of his birth. I’ll be 96. Just about ready for King Lear!