His plays have also formed the basis of many Hollywood offerings, from West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet) to Forbidden Planet (The Tempest) and Akira Kursosawa’s epic Ran (King Lear).
When I was an eleven year old nerd, I asked my Anglophile grandmother for a copy of the “Collected Plays of William Shakespeare” for Christmas. Delighted, she gifted me with a massive volume containing all of Mr. Shakespeare's works in tiny print on tissue thin leaves.
This year, to mark the birthday celebration in Stratford, if you are fortunate enough to make the trip, there will be week’s work of festivities including fireworks, a procession, theatre workshops and a Shakespeare marathon.
I thought the Shakespeare marathon referred to some continuous performances of all the plays, but no, it’s an actual running marathon. Why are so many events marked by lengthy footraces these days? But I digress….
Closer to home, the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC will be hosting a Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House on Sunday April 6th.
In addition the Folger has recently released all of Shakespeare’s plays as fully searchable digital texts, downloadable as pdfs, in a free, scholarly edition that makes all of its source code available as well. Taken from 2010 Folger Shakespeare Library editions edited by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine, the digital plays are an invaluable resource for students, Shakespeare scholars and fans.
If you don't want to travel downtown, Montgomery County Public Libraries will be joining the celebrations with a performance by the Christiana Drapkin Jazz Group entitled “Shakespeare in Jazz”.
So, Happy Birthday to you, Mr. S, and thanks for all the great lines you've given us!