Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shakespeare in Chicago

He sits in the most unlikely of places. Seated quietly at the corner of Belden Avenue and Lincoln Park West in the quiet green of Lincoln park is our bard. William Shakespeare in all his splendor is enshrined in a large statue where at the base of his chair these words are engraved: "He was not of an age, but for all times" Ben Jonson.

Chicago indeed embraces Shakespeare and he appears all over the city. On today, Shakespeare's 445th birthday, our mayor, Richard M. Daley, has proclaimed this day to be Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Chicago's citizens are encouraged to honor the greatest poet of our language and talk like the Bard's plays and sonnets.

There have been and will continue to be celebrations on Navy Pier which is home to one our Chicago's preeminent theatre companies: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. The 2008 winner of the Regional Tony Award served birthday cake last night at the intermission of Twelfth Night and had a jumbo sized birthday card for their patrons to send special birthday wishes to Will.

Many other companies around the Chicago-land area are dedicated to the performance of Shakespeare's work: First Folio Theatre and Oak Park Festival Theatre. A troupe of Chicago actors travels to northern Michigan during the summer as Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre. Promethean Theatre Ensemble performs an annual Evening of Shakespeare to celebrate the Bard's work. And many other companies perform the cannon ever season in the Windy City.

But one of the most lovely tributes to Shakespeare is tucked away in the northern suburbs. On the campus of Northwestern University is the historic Shakespeare Garden. The nearly 100 year old garden features a sun dial, beautiful roses, and a fountain dedicated to William Shakespeare:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine...

NBC Nightly News reports on Talk Like Shakespeare Day.
NPR coverage of Talke Like Shakespeare Day.

Happy Birthday (observed): William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

1 comment:

  1. We often "play" at Shakespeare. Yet, as any writer/poet will attest, writing is not play; rather, it is soul-work; it is reaching into the eternal grasping at a dynamic energy and, foolheartedly, attempting to capture that moment with a word or two hoping that it will resonate.
    To 'talk' like Shakespeare is fun and delightful. Ah, to think, to feel, to see like Shakespeare... there's the rub.