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Friday, April 24, 2020

* ~ * WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: A Celebrated April Playwright * ~ *


by Judy Ann Davis
It’s been a long, long month for people in our nation with our “stay in home or shelter in place” orders from our state governments. I hope everyone is doing well.

For me, more of an introvert than an extrovert, my days are not as difficult as others. I’m busy with small household chores or various activities as such as baking, sewing, crocheting, woodworking or writing. And I’m very used to solitude when I’m writing.

April is the birth and death month of one of our most well-known writers in literature—William Shakespeare. Ironically, Shakespeare lived through the first wave of the bubonic plague. It shut down the theatres in London and lasted sixteen months (during 1593-1594), killing approximately 20,000 people in London and the surrounding area. This was one of Shakespeare most prolific times for writing poetry. He is credited for writing over 150 sonnets. (NOTE: The Great Plague of 1665 occurred later, where 15 percent of London’s populations perished again.)

William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare, an alderman and successful glove maker, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer. Since there was no documentation of his exact birth date, history uses April 26, 1564, his baptism date instead. He was the third of eight children and the eldest surviving son. At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years older than he was. Together, they had three children.

Although it’s not known exactly when Shakespeare began writing, records of theater performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592. He would have been only 28 years old.

After 1594, his plays were performed only by a group of players called Lord Chamberlain’s Men, of which he was a player himself, and which also became the leading playing company in London. In 1599, a partnership of members of the company built their own theatre on the south bank of the Thames which they named the Globe. The partnership also took over the Blackfriars indoor theatre in 1608. Records show that his property purchases and investments with the company made him a wealthy man. He bought the second-largest house in Stratford for his family.
 
History best remembers Shakespeare as an accomplished playwright, poet, writer, and actor. Along with his poems and sonnets, he wrote 37 plays during his lifetime. Some of his most well-known works are Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Taming of the Shrew. Sadly, he died on April 23, 1616, at the age of 52.

Do you have a favorite Shakespeare work that you like? As a romance and mystery writer, I would have to admit that Romeo and Juliet was my favorite, despite the tragic ending.

COMING SOON from the "Two Scoops or One" Wild Rose Press Collection:

HUCKLEBERRY HAPPINESS

4 comments:

  1. Judy, I look forward to your new release! My favorite of Shakespeare's plays is Macbeth. I'm an introvert and stay at home most of the time anyway. What I miss is seeing our daughters! Of course we talk on the phone and text and email. It's not the same, is it? I remember you Skype with your children and their families. Technology is a boon in this instance. Best wishes for your continued success!

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  2. Hi, Caroline. Missing our children is one of the hardest things about this quarantine. But we can Skype anyhow. Now that the oldest son has moved from Texas to South Carolina, we hopefully can see each other more often. He still flies with the Texas Air Guard, but is now temporarily on hold because of having to take commercial flights to work. Crazy times, no? However, I want to know how in the world Shakespeare could rev up his creativity during a plague to write 150 sonnets????

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  3. It sounds as if Shakespeare did the same thing many of us are doing—tapping into our creativity and making the most of the self-quarantine. I've been able to get so much done that had languished on my To Do list for too long.

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    1. I've made a vow to get my entire office cleaned out of all the writing materials and folders I collected as "ideas" or "important" that I never used or will never use. Basically, cleaning house. lol

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