There’s always plenty of disagreement when something is named THE BEST. Whether it’s a List of the Top Pizza places in Chicagoland by a local food writer or a list of The Best 50 Guitarists in Rock’n’Roll by a big music magazine, there’s bound to be disagreement. And that disagreement can turn nasty when it’s a person being crowned the best in their field: who’s the best American president? what about the best actor of this generation? who’s the best rapper alive? The best pop star of the 2000s? All those questions would be answered in many different ways. It’s hard to agree!
But there is one “Best of” title that pretty much everyone will agree on. William Shakespeare is THE BEST playwright. Ever. There maybe others who come close in certain ways but Shakespeare’s emotional relevancy and mastery of the English language are as real today as they were centuries ago in Elizabethan London. That’s why we’re still studying his plays, performing them, turning them into movies, reimagining them for our modern era and writing books and articles about his life and times.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (he died at 52). If you’ve noticed a glut of news and interest in his works this year, that’s probably why. Chicago is holding events in over 100 places throughout the year to celebrate. If you think Shakespeare plays are boring musty things that you were forced to study in English Class, then you’ve never considered an interactive Shakespeare videogame, or Improvised Shakespeare. Still not convinced? In September, there’s Company Theatre Mumbai’s Piya Beharupiya (a Hindi translation of Twelfth Night). And if Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet doesn’t get you, nothing will.
Some highlights from our collection:
- Want to watch the comedies, tragedies, or histories in a different way? Give the 4 volumes of Shakespeare: Animated Tales a try.
- If you once enjoyed reading or watching his works, but want to brush up on it all, I suggest you check out Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups: Everything You Need to Know about the Bard.
- Bill Bryson is a personable and funny writer and he takes a look at the mans’s life in Shakespeare: The World as Stage
- Fans of Ian McKellen will love Acting Shakespeare in which the actor performs monologues and discusses the works with technique, personal stories, and background.
- Similarly but with many participants, Shakespeare Uncovered dedicates each episode to one work, and one major actor or director revealing the story and the vibrancy behind it.