Announcing Father’s Day Week on Shakespearean Student!

Hello everyone!

Happy Father’s Day! I’ve been teaching a number of classes these past few days so I haven’t had much time to post but in honor of Father’s Day- here’s a bunch of my favorite past Father’s Day posts:

  1. Shakespearean Father’s Day Cards: Find some nice Shakespearean sentiment to show your Shakespearean dad how much you care. 
Special posts for Father's Day!
Shakespearean Greeting Cards from Immortal Longings.com
  • 2. Bios of William Shakespeare and John Shakespeare Both Shakespeare and his father had children, and both worked hard to make a better life for their offspring, so I thought I’d tell you some of their life stories so you can learn more about these great men.
The house on Henley Street, where Shakespeare was born in 1564. Click here to learn more about Shakespeare’s birthplace.
  • 3. My Picks For Top 5 Best and Worst Dads in Shakespeare I’ve gone through the entire cannon from As You Like It to Alls Well That Ends Well, and picked out the dads whom I think deserve recognition either as great or terrible parents. Who will take the coveted #1 Shakespeare Dad prize? Stay tuned to find out!
Coffee mug with a quote from one of Shakespeare’s most well-known dads Polonius in “Hamlet.”

I’ll also be sharing some great memes and reviews on Instagram and my podcast tomorrow, then next week I will honor the official start of summer with A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, (2021)

Trailer for Globe Theater’s 2021 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

What do you think of when you think of “Shakespeare?” What do you think of when you think of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream?” 

    Ruffs and Tights?

    Mostly white dudes?

    Elizabethan music?

    Dark night and moon?

This production, directed by Michelle Terry, is gleefully throwing out every preconceived notion of what A Midsummer Night’s Dream can or should be. In terms of design, casting, music, and interpretation, it breaks all the rules, while still remaining true to the text. This allows the production to appeal to not only hard-core Shakespeare fans, but first time audiences and children too!

I got to see this production thanks to the Globe’s online streaming library. My mother kindly shared me a link to this recording from the summer of 2021. You can watch it yourself on: https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/watch/#full-length-productions

I would describe the concept behind the show as “Suggestive,” that is, it doesn’t belong to a literal time and place. Even though the play is set in Ancient Greece, the play refuses to be constrained by historical accuracy, which arguably, fits nicely with Shakespeare in particular, and the Globe itself; a modern building in a modern city, based on a 400-year-old building.

The music and costumes evoke a New Orleans Mardis Gras, a Pride parade, or a Spanish pinata with its bright colors, heavy use of fringes, and bright, energetic jazz music. The only people who don’t wear bright colors are the four lovers, which reflects their continuous frustration with being unable to marry the person they really want.

The show is also Color blind and gender blind, with women playing men’s parts and a cast with black, white, and mixed race actors. Terry’s direction also calls attention to the patriarchial, racist, and sexist elements of Athens which are often overlooked in other interpretations of Dream that I’ve seen or read about. Rather than being a hero, Theseus is a horny old man in a ludicrous pink uniform, looking like a cross between M. Bison and a Christmas nutcracker. To reinforce this point, the actor chose to perform one of Theseus’ most patriarchial speeches as a joke:

Theseus. What say you, Hermia? be advised fair maid:50
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it. -Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I, Scene i.

I’ve seen this speech heavily cut and played seriously, but never till now did I see it played to ridicule the ludicrous notion that women are in any way bound to worship their fathers.

In another nod to contemporary gender politics, the actress who plays Hippolyta and Titania chose to perform her role on crutches. As far as I can tell, this was a deliberate choice and not a result of real injury. There is a precedent for this: In 1984, Sir Antony Sher performed Richard iii on crutches because it highlighted the cruelty people with disabilities often suffer.

I could be wrong, but I think that the reason the actress was on crutches was a symbolic way of confronting the way gender politics can cripple women.

Many scholars have pointed out how Hippolyta rarely speaks despite the fact that she is supposed to be the powerful Queen of the Amazons, and Theseus’ fiance besides. Shakespeare makes it clear that their marriage was arranged as a political alliance after the Amazons lost to Athens in a war:

Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;20
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.

With this in mind, it makes sense to have Hippolyta on crutches as a result of her injuries. Those injuries might also explain her silence; she has lost her agency now that she is essentially Theseus’ prisoner. One might think of any number of war atrocious where women have been sold to powerful men over the centuries. In short, by putting Hippolyta on crutches, we see a glimpse into her tragic story that most productions just gloss over- that she has lost a war, been separated from her people, and is now her enemies’ prisoner through marriage.

I’ve come to expect high quality acting from The Globe Theater Company and this cast did not disappoint. As we watched it together, my family concluded that this was one of the best acted productions of Dream that we’ve ever seen, which between us has to be over 30 plus productions.

The delivery is crisp and fast paced. Every actor has taken these words and made them their own. They speak them as if they were written yesterday. One thing I love about the Globe is that the directors encourage this kind of fast paced delivery; with no distracting special effects or sets, the actors have to captivate the audience with their delivery of Shakespeare’s text, without being melodramatic or self-indulgent. I’m pleased to say that this cast does a fantastic job of telling this magical story in a compelling and very modern way.

I’ve shown my recording to kids, teens, adults, and my family, and everyone has a different reaction to the show. Maybe this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but the concept is sound, the acting is high caliber, and it utilizes the Globe’s unique qualities extremely well. 




I personally didn’t care for Bottom just because I felt the actress was playing a very energetic part with too much sarcasm and tongue in cheek, but that’s mostly personal preference. I did however love Peter Quince, Snout, Snug, and the rest of the Mechanicals. Peter Quince is a rather thankless part but it’s great to see someone balance being a straight man trying to reign in Bottom’s antics. and an idiot who has no idea how to direct a company of actors, which the actress playing Quince did very well.

Top Five WORST Shakespearean Father Characters!

Hello everyone!

Parenting is tough! Parents have to sacrifice so much to make sure their kids grow up happy, healthy, and prepared for life. Not everyone can do it, but if Shakespeare has taught us anything, it’s that there’s always someone doing a worse job than you. So for all you dads out there, enjoy this list of my top 5 worst dads in Shakespeare, lovingly made to remind you that whatever kind of father you are, at least you’re not these baddies!

If you’d like to listen along to my podcat about this topic while you read, here’s the latest episode here:

The Shakespearean Student Episode 4: Top 5 WORST Shakespearean Father Characters

Worst Dads Title:

First and Worst: #1: King Antiocus from Pericles.

Slide2

#2: Egeus from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Slide3

#3: King Leontes from The Winter’s Tale

Slide4

#4: Titus Andronicus from Titus Andronicus

Slide5

#5: King Lear from King Lear

Slide6

Do you agree with my list? Leave me a comment below! Tomorrow I’ll continue my list with the top 5 Dad Dads; guys who are good, but have modern problems that keep them from being truly great. Then we’ll take it home with the best of the best. Hope you enjoy them!

Till Next Time,

-The Shakespeare Guru

Shakespearean Fathers Day Cards

Hi everyone!

In the spirit of Father’s Day, I thought I’d give you some ideas on how to create some Shakespearean Father’s Day Cards for the Shakespeare Nut Dad in your life. If you want to tell your dad how much you care about him, here are some quotes from Shakespeare that might help, arranged in no particular order, with ideas as to who might want to use them:

Part I: Quotes about Fathers from Shakespeare

From multiple kids: “Father, soul and substance of us all” (Titus Andronicus, I,i)

From a daughter: To you your father should be as a god;

One that composed your beauties, yea, and one

To whom you are but as a form in wax

By him imprinted and within his power

To leave the figure or disfigure it. (Midsummer Night’s Dream I.i).

From a Daughter 2: 

Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;

Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;

Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;

No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;

As much as child e’er loved, or father found;

A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;

Beyond all manner of so much I love you. (King Lear Act I, Scene i)

From a Daughter 3:

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you. (King Lear Act I, Scene i)

From anyone:

Youth, thou bear’st thy father’s face;            

Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,            

Hath well composed thee. Thy father’s moral parts            

Mayst thou inherit too! (All’s Well I, ii)

From Anyone 2:

The king, your father, was reputed for            

A prince most prudent, of an excellent            

And unmatch’d wit and judgment. (Henry VII, Act II, Scene iv).

Short Quotes:

“To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.” (King Lear, I, ii)

“You have show’d a tender fatherly regard.” Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene

You can of course, pick your own Shakespearean father quotes for your card, and I have this link to help you out: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/quotes/shakespeareonfathers.html

My favorite quotes of all, are the ones Hamlet gave in honor of his own father:

“He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” (Hamlet, I, ii) 

See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,

To give the world assurance of a man (Hamlet, III, iv)

Part II: How to find good Shakespearean Cards. If you’ve taken a look at my “Play of the Month” page, you’ll see artwork from Elizabeth Schuch and her website: “Immortal Longings.” She creates some of the best contemporary Shakespearean art I’ve ever seen, and guess, what, they do greeting cards too! If you click this link, you can get some Shakespearean cards for dad before Father’s Day. Then, use one of the quotes above and customize your Father’s Day greeting.

Another option is to make a card yourself! If you want to make it look really Elizabethan, follow the steps below:

1.      Download a parchment JPEG like the one I have posted below. Paste this into Microsoft Word Or Publisher as your Elizabethan parchment paper. If you prefer, you can also buy parchment colored paper in a stationary store or print shop. I get mine at Staples

large image of floral paper canvas or parchment
large image of floral paper canvas or parchment

2.      Download an Elizabethan or medieval border. I can recommend this one from the Medieval Woodcuts Clipart Collection.: http://www.godecookery.com/clipart/borders/clbord.htm Use this to make a nice illuminated border for your card.

3.      Write your message in a neat old fashioned font. I recommend Garamond because it’s the font clerks used most often in Elizabethan printing. You can find it on most editions of Microsoft Word. Just FYI, it’s also the font JK Rowling used in the last Harry Potter book! You can also use Old English or Lucinda Blackletter.

So enjoy your Shakespearean Father’s Day cards and check back tomorrow for more fun on The Shakespearean Student!

Announcing Father’s Day Week on Shakespearean Student!

Hello everyone!

Thanks for liking and commenting on my last few posts. I feel this website is starting to hit its stride and I have all of you to thank! This week, because Father’s Day is coming up (June 21st), I’m devoting an entire week to posts and podcasts related to fathers. Here’s a sample of some of the topics I’ll be covering:

  1. Shakespearean Father’s Day Cards: Find some nice Shakespearean sentiment to show your Shakespearean dad how much you care.
  2. Bios of William Shakespeare and John Shakespeare Both Shakespeare and his father had children, and both worked hard to make a better life for their offspring, so I thought I’d tell you some of their life stories so you can learn more about these great men.
  3. My Picks For Top 5 Best and Worst Dads in Shakespeare I’ve gone through the entire cannon from As You Like It to Alls Well That Ends Well, and picked out the dads whom I think deserve recognition either as great or terrible parents. Who will take the coveted #1 Shakespeare Dad prize? Stay tuned to find out!

Join me for all the fun this week, and also check out my podcast!