Keeping up with Shakespeare

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Lester OthelloWhen I started blogging on Shakespeare Calling a couple of years ago I had some kind of vague ambition – alongside of reading the plays and writing short responses to them – of seeing all the movies based on the plays, going to the theater to see the productions, reading the books about the plays…

Well, that was ambitious.

I have discovered what more experienced Bardolators have undoubtedly known all along. It’s impossible.

Since starting the blog Hal and I have succeeded in seeing maybe half, at best, of the Shakespeare plays performed in the Stockholm area. We haven’t made it to any of the dozens of other performances in various places in Sweden.  This fall Hamlet is being performed in Helsingborg, Linköping, Uppsala and Stockholm (as a standup comedy). If we’re lucky we might make it to Uppsala. The standup comedy…hmmm, maybe.  As You Like It, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet as ballet and comedy, King Lear are also scheduled.  We actually have tickets to Lear.

On Thursday this week Adrian Lester’s Othello is going to be broadcast live from the National Theater in London at a cinema here in Stockholm.  It breaks my heart that we won’t be able to go. Adrian Lester is a brilliant actor. Branagh as Macbeth is coming up. We have to see that!

New movies are coming out all the time. We lucked out and saw the new Much Ado about Nothing in London this summer but most of the new ones don’t make to our regular cinemas, it takes time before the DVDs come out, somehow I have to find out that they exist and find somewhere to buy them. And then schedule them into our Shakespeare play-movie agenda.

Books! Do you know how many books have been written about Shakespeare, his time, his plays? I certainly don’t.  Millions, probably.  I’ve read a couple of dozen and have a dozen more on our shelf that I haven’t read yet.

What’s a Bardolator to do? I’m planning on reducing my work hours (and income!) next term.  That will give me a little more time. But not nearly enough. I’m beginning to realize that an entire lifetime of 24/7 Shakespeare would hardly make a dent.

There’s probably an excellent Shakespeare quote to describe this situation.  While I try to find it fourteen new films will be released, twenty-eight new productions of Hamlet will be premiered, sixty-two new scholarly books and seventy-seven popular books on Shakespeare will be published…

There’s just no keeping up with Shakespeare!

P.S. Since writing this yesterday our friend YW has booked tickets for us to Hamlet in Uppsala in November.

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Author:Ruby Jand

Ruby Jand has an MA in English literature and history from the University of Stockholm. She teaches history and English at grade school and high school level at the Sundbyberg School of Adult Education in a suburb of Stockholm. Her interest in Shakespeare has emerged recently, developing within the last year into an ongoing project on the blog Shakespeare Calling.

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