It's funny just how much a part of our lives he is. Most of us would have studied Shakespeare when we were at school and I wonder was it just me or did anyone else used to hate the way teachers analysed every word and phrase so that you never seemed to get to read the entire play?
I don't think I really appreciated Shakespeare until quite recently, although I do vaguely remember playing the part of Oberon King of the Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream in a school play. However, it's all very vague – as if the brain is blocking out a bad experience! I also remember playing Mr Hardcastle from She Stoops to Conquer where our poor English teacher would probably give her eye teeth to forget the performance our group of 14 year olds put on – as the poor lady went off sick with a bad case of nerves following that particular performance.
A Midsummer Nights
But back to the brilliance of the Bard. And he was brilliant - you only have to look at all the everyday phrases that he first introduced to the English language. Phrases that we take for granted. In fact a lot of them are so commonplace that writers would treat many as clichés and edit them out of whatever we're writing. But we certainly do use many of them in our conversations.
“Jealousy is the green-eyed monster” (Othello.)
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” (Hamlet.)
“Cold comfort” (The Taming of the Shrew / King John)
“All our yesterdays” (Macbeth)
“Dead as a doornail” (Henry VI)
“Good riddance” (Troilus and Cressida)
“Wild-goose chase” (Romeo and Juliet)
“Knock knock! Who’s there?” (Macbeth)
“Laughing stock” (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
Just ask Google and you'll find dozens more!
Living not very far from Stratford upon Avon, I absolutely love a day out in the historic town. Combine this with writing for magazines, and it's resulted in a number of different Stratford and Shakespeare related articles appearing in B-C-ing-U which is an online mag that I write voluntary for; and, I've been told today an article on Shakespeare's Gardens that I wrote last year and submitted early this year, will be coming out in Cotswold Life magazine in July, which I'm really pleased about.
Also quite recently, my book Kicked Into Touch came out. Published by Badger Learning for reluctant teen readers - that is teenagers with a reading age of 6-7 years. Mine was one of a series of 8 illustrated short books – all based on Shakespeare's works. Called Dark Reads II the series is a modern way 'in' to Shakespeare. Each title takes inspiration from a different play and provides a subtle link to its concept, while being an exciting and tense tale in its own right.
Mine was based on Macbeth, and tells the story of George King, a teenager who wants to be king of the rugby pitch. Egged on by three girls on the sidelines, nothing stands in George's way. It's illustrated by the fantastic Kev Hopgood.
|Reluctant reader series based on|
Makes you wonder if the works of any of today's writers will still be enjoyed, read, studied and adapted 400 years from now.
Big thank you to Rob Tysall of Tysall's Photography for the Stratford images. (www.tysallsphotography.org.uk)
More of my books on www.annevansbooks.co.uk
Facebook, see more of my article work with Rob Tysall here: https://www.facebook.com/wordsandimagesuk/?fref=ts