Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy 449th Birthday, Will Shakespeare!!

Happy 449th Birthday, William Shakespeare!!!!

William Shakespeare: 23 April 1564-23 April 1616

To mark William Shakespeare's 449th birthday today, (he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and children at that time were usually baptized three days after birth) and the 397th anniversary of his death, much celebration is going on in the United States as well as in Stratford-upon-Avon.

When I was in a Shakespeare class in high school (yes, we had an entire semester English elective on Shakespeare available...and it was a very popular class!!), we had a HUGE birthday party for Shakespeare with British food and drink, rather like a high tea. A month beforehand, we had each drawn the name of a fellow student for which we were to make a handmade gift. I remember hemming handkerchiefs in pink embroidery thread with the initials “M.A.” for my recipient, and I still have the floral wreath head-dress strung with ribbons down the back hanging on my bedroom wall…although I don't remember which young man made it for me (or more likely, his mother made it on his behalf, LOL). 

So how is the 449th birthday of the Bard being celebrated?

Celebrations in Shakespeare’s birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon:

So let’s celebrate Shakespeare's birthday today in our homeschools. Here are some ideas:

·        Have a Talk Like Shakespeare Day (or even just an hour, if that’s all you can handle)

·        Perhaps gather around the table with scones and jam and some Earl Grey tea and read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets aloud (you can find Shakespeare sonnet apps for your smart phone).

·        Read some of Shakespeare’s famous monologues aloud dramatically, perhaps even in costume. Here’s a site with a listing of some of the best single-person speeches, one list for men and one for women HERE. Try performing them for family members and/or friends or at a co-op!

·        Perform a Shakespeare scene as a puppet show or act out a scene in costume; either memorize parts or make copies of the scene for all the actors. Here are some scenesand scripts for kids from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.: 

·        Watch your favorite Shakespeare play on film (mine is Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado AboutNothing).  Check your local library or Netflix for some excellent titles, and the International Movie DataBase includes some helpful parents guides with advisory content for you along with ratings and information on most film versions.

·        For older kids, check out Michael Woods’ in-depth documentary In Search of Shakespeare which first aired on PBS in 2004. Both the DVD and the companion book should be readily available through most public libraries.

·        Better yet, see a live Shakespeare play as soon as possible. Check out college/university performances near you as they’re usually much less expensive than professional productions. 

How are you planning to celebrate???         

So, Happy 449th Birthday, William Shakespeare!!

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.”

~Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

 With "Will"-power,


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