#TBT: Hamlet, a Woman?

Hamlet at McVicker's Theatre starring Anna Dickinson, 01-30-1882

In Shakespeare’s day, only men acted in his plays, even playing female characters. 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, and over the centuries, things have changed. Men and women have played both male and female parts—I even saw an all-female cast of Henry V back in high school. But that was actually nothing new. […]

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Celebrate Shakespeare 400 with CPL

William Shakespeare portrait

Friends, readers, countrymen, lend us your ears! 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and all of Chicago is coming together to honor the famous playwright who gave us the romance of Romeo and Juliet, the drama of Macbeth and the soul-searching of Hamlet through Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a yearlong international arts festival celebrating the […]

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Star Bard and Other Star Wars Fun

Shakespeare Star Wars

To say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is highly anticipated is like saying Elizabeth I was a queen of England. There's so much more. And what better way to prepare than to look at the lighter side of this iconic franchise? It is well known that Shakespeare never used an original story in his life, […]

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“It’s About This Nurse…” Favorite Stories Retold

R&J 3

It sometimes happens when I go to the theater, or the movies, or read a book, that I find the minor characters more interesting than the people the story is supposed to be about. This often means that I am paying more attention to the servants or the villain than the young lovers or other main characters, […]

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Celebrating the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon

In celebration of William Shakespeare's 450th birthday, I thought it only apropos to write a post honoring the author who penned the works from which my parents bestowed my name. (That's correct, the name "Portia" is found in two of Shakespeare's works, The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar.) In unison with Shakespeareans around the […]

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Fear Not the Bard

Shakespeare figurine

Hark dear reader! No Fear Shakespeare is here! You are not alone in your endeavors to understand The Bard. How happy was I, about a fortnight ago, when I discovered this series of 18 of Bill’s most famous plays in their original text with side-by-side translations in good olde plain English. For example, here's an excerpt […]

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Stay Classy: Graphic Novels Tackle Classic Literature

notepad with pen and wire-framed glasses

When it comes to the classics, I'll always give a long, old tome a chance. Sometimes, though, I'm lazy and don't want to bother with actually reading a brick wall of text. Graphic novels to the rescue! Now I can have all the snootiness of fancy books without nearly as much hassle. As a bonus, the adaptations […]

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Doing the Swerve with Stephen Greenblatt

Any scholar who writes a coherent sentence deserves a medal, and a scholar who can string together a few paragraphs deserves his own holiday. That's why Stephen Greenblatt's 70th birthday deserves our adoring attention. A professor at Yale and one of the founders of something called New Historicism, Greenblatt has a knack for taking long-dead authors and […]

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