* April 23rd, 2016, marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
* Inclusive of that Saturday, there are 37 Saturdays through December 31st.
* Shakespeare wrote 37 plays (that survive).
My friends, we are burdened with glorious purpose.
(Hey, if one can’t quote a character played by Tom Hiddleston on a Shakespeare blog, where can one quote him?)
So join me as I read through all of Shakespeare’s surviving plays. Some I’ve read, some I haven’t, and some I hadn’t even realized were written by Shakespeare (for shame!).
How to Read Along
Read the play before reading my post on it, read it after, it doesn’t matter. Hopefully my posts will help you get a little more out of the play, but do as you will.
Also, this is one of those situations where watching a performance of the play is highly suggested. Any English teacher who told you that “watching the movie isn’t as good as reading the book” was forgetting about plays. A play is meant to be performed, not read. We can get a lot out of reading a play, yes, but its true purpose is to be performed. So go nuts and watch a performance instead of reading the play, and mentally thumb your nose at your past English teachers as you do.
A word of warning! Stage direction can drastically change a play, as can an actor’s performance. If you’re going to watch and not read, beware of nuances. For myself, I’ll be listening to an audio performance of each play whilst reading along. I’ll also be trying to watch a performance of each play after reading, if I can.
An anticipated schedule of posts is as follows. I’ll be reading the plays in roughly chronological order, which is a bit of a challenge to plan. The exact chronology of Shakespeare’s plays is contested and we just can’t know for certain the exact order in which Shakespeare wrote them. I’m basing my schedule off the Internet Shakespeare Editions, from the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
Mind you, I’ve veered off the chronology for the first plays initially. I wish I could say this is because I decided that if we were going to begin with history plays we should start in historically chronological order, but alas…I just misread Henry VI as Henry IV.
Don’t judge; let’s roll with it.
But! This means we’ll be tackling a good chunk of the history plays in a more logical order, so it all works out in the end. Let’s all just agree that my subconscious suffers from genius and call it a day.
Note that the schedule will be a fluid thing and may change from time to time. I’ll give as much prior notice as I can.
* April 23rd – Richard II
* April 30th – Henry IV Part 1
* May 7th – Henry IV Part 2
* May 14th – Henry V
* May 21st – Henry VI Part 1
* May 28th – Henry VI Part 2
* June 4th – Henry VI Part 3
* June 11th – Richard III
* June 18th – The Comedy of Errors
* June 25th – Titus Andronicus
* July 2nd – The Taming of the Shrew
* July 9th – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
* July 16th – Love’s Labour’s Lost
* July 23rd – Romeo and Juliet
* July 30th – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
* August 6th – King John
* August 13th – The Merchant of Venice
* August 20th – The Merry Wives of Windsor
* August 27th – Much Ado About Nothing
* September 3rd – Julius Caesar
* September 10th – As You Like It
* September 17th – Hamlet
* September 24th – Twelfth Night
* October 1st – Troilus and Cressida
* October 8th – All’s Well That Ends Well
* October 15th – Othello
* October 22nd – Measure for Measure
* October 29th – Macbeth
* November 5th – King Lear
* November 12th – Antony and Cleopatra
* November 19th – Coriolanus
* November 26th – Timon of Athens
* December 3rd – Pericles
* December 10th – Cymbeline
* December 17th – The Winter’s Tale
* December 24th – Henry VIII
* December 31st – The Tempest