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tv   400th Anniversary of William Shakespeares Death Commemoration  CSPAN  May 7, 2016 12:08am-2:28am EDT

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do. so we we were born as an institution that serves the nation, what's interesting about us is that we do not have federal funding. mr. and mrs. soldier created and it down make managed by amherst college. because we're not a college or university we cannot charge tuition. because. because were not a federal institution we do not get federal funds. that means we have to be self-sustaining. about half of our 19,000,000 dollar operating budget comes from the endowment, little more. then we raise or earn the rest of that budget. philanthropy, continuing philanthropy is really important. it gives us the ability to really be the public institution that we were created to be. we have about 120 full-time employees, 20 full-time employees, our building was probably created for a quarter of that. so we really do have space needs and one of our challenges is how to keep this growing collection here. and to share with the public.
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>> michael is the director of the soldier shakespeare library. and on april 23, saturday joined book tv live from the theater, we will be here covering their program on the 400th anniversary of william shakespeare's death. we'll also be taking your call and shakespeare, that shakespeare, that is saturday, april 23.ael , >> hello and welcome to the wonder i am michael director of the library, today you are joining us on a very specialorie day. we are broadcasting here from the historic pastor reading room for the past 80 years scholars from around the globe have come to use the largest shakespeare collection in the world. i would like to extend a warm
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welcome today to all of you who are joining us on c-span two, those those of you joining us on the live feed, thanks to book tv and see spend two for making it possible for shakespeare fans everywhere to enjoy the special day with us. shakespeare's influence extends beyond the written world which your arrival today was accompanied by music of the consort. that is our early ensemble, if you're interested in their music he confided on itunes, while you're there how to work at the wonder of will room that has been created by itunes. apple partnered with so that we could collect shakespeare materials for everyone who wants to celebrate all year.lebrate. today, we are here to celebrate the legacy of the world's greatest storyteller. storyte what better way to do that, to to pay tribute them with stories. people are celebrating
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shakespeare over the globe today and i am willing to bet that everyone of them them has a story to tell about how they got to know this amazing writer. 400 years ago, to this to this very day, april 23, 1616, william shakespeare died.ted toy the world is much larger and much more connected today than it was in 1616. a lot has happened. but we're still talking to shakespeare. for many it feels like he is still in the room. in fact if you look room where we are today, he still is in the room. how is it that we still have more to say about this writer and why is it that when we talkk about our own lives we often seem to be having a conversation with him. one reason might be because shakespeare is unavoidable. he is the most produced
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playwright in north america. over 90% of american schoolchildren and counter shakespeare's works are placed. not to mention half of the secondary students on the planet. there are more shakespeare films made in bali would then there are in the united states and the u.k. combined. in terms of filmmaking.mmaking. the characters in the phrases from his writing now appear iney this novel, disney cartoons, broadway musicals, hip-hop, if you do a google search today you'll find shakespeare on the banner. for centuries after his death people from around the world are still having a conversation warwt him. with shakespeare, lightning seemed to to strike many times in one place.
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he brought so many gifts to his job as a writer and a man of the theater, whether it was his canning is about human emotions or his dazzling use of language, or that unerring ability to find the human pulse in just about every l situation.fts it is important that all of these gifts get expressed in stories because it is in stories that we learn to pass into the lives and experiences of others. shakespeare's stories in place teach us to empathize with thosi who are on like us and even more importantly, they teaches us about the communities we might someday become. for better or for worse. pick about the familiar stories we find it shakespeare's plays. young love or the beginning of love in romeo and juliet, or in much to do about nothing. sibling rivalry in as you like it. the loss of family in, hamlet. forgiveness in, the winter's tale. self-destruction in, macbeth.
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standing up for what you believe in him, kingly. or the experience of being treated as an outsider or an in our fellow. shakespeare speaks to us in 2016 because we still struggle with politics, war, love, and family. in the end, this will always be a struggle to understand ourselves and each other. markets in social media will only teach us so much about what drives us. to learn more, we meet the humanities and arts that inspire them. what better way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of shakespeare's death them byop bringing together people who can talk about moments they discovered this amazing writer. now, it it is time to hear their stories.
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in early 2009, president obama appointed our first presenter as the associate director of the white house office of public engagement. however, you might know him better as gogol from film adaptation, doctor lawrence kutner on house or just maybe you know him as kumar. what you might not know is that he's shared a very special connection to shakespeare fromo literally the first day he was born.toy please join me in welcoming kal penn [applause]. thank you. if there's something everyone knows about actors, we are impulsive and irrational. psychologists have a term for this but the common term ass actors. actors are crazy. every route
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port card i've ever had we are quick to speak before we think for the most part.d worlds i knew i wanted to be an actor because i love the power of storytelling from a very young age. at seventh and eighth grade i used to create characters in my bedroom and loved and train worlds that he never could in real life. but but shakespeare,p despite my grandfather's love of shakespeare whenever i glanced at the pros i would think shakespeare, it's not even english. it's overblown and old and i remember i remember things to myself no one actually talks like that. but the ninth grade come around the three things happen, number one, i i noticed in small font on the inside cover that william shakespeare was born on the 23rd of april which also happens to be my birthday.e sha i notice that we share a birthday in a message was sent to the crazy part of my overdramatic aspiring actor lines that this was a sign.
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this was the sign that not only was i going to be an actor, i was going to be a working actor and you know why? i shared a birthday with a shakespeare fellow. wherever he was, he was a respective, relevant to people are still doing his plays all this time later. number two, please remember's only 14 but when we read romeo and juliet we were allowed to watch come in the classroom, you all know where this is going, the franco zeffirelli film adaptation which featured what? nudity. how is this possible i remember think to myself? who is this shakespeare who has allowed the teachers to show his nudity show us nudity that is totally against the rule. no matter that zeffirelli was an incredibly talented director. shakespeare got a way with letting someone sit it meant to unconditionally is going to be an actor and read shakespeare. number three, at around this time, frankly unrelated to parts wanted to of the story i actually did read, and started to understand and then fell in love with shakespeare. i started to understand the beauty of his words, the symbolism in orissa tally. i grew grew up in new jersey in early mid 90s.
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this love is about the same as what you see in the local news except you replace with hoboken and you have the opening of a mafia movie. even the prologue is rich. so's shakespeare many ways tommy my first lessons in making exceptions to rules. i started. i started three more place and understand more, by the time i enrolled in ucla by theater major i was in love with shakespeare. i in college i got a call from the news saying that they're holding a screaming and looking for drama students to watch the film and then be interviewed with leonardo dicaprio, are you up for that? yes, course. i love course. i love the movie. it was so contemporary, heated, sexy, funny, excited me even more about the possibility of storytelling. you did not have to be american, english, white, rich to understand or interpret any of to understand or
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interpret any of this. the mtv interview began. i open up about my feelings, i i told him how an eighth grade at thought the words of shakespeare was not decipherable. i once thought to myself it's not even english but in tenth grade i came to understand, respect and revere shakespeare, i love the movie and i love shakespeare. this special air, i gathered around with friends in my dorm and my segment gets closer and i see my face and the interviewer comes on. were asking expire next is what ey think of actors kal penn how do you feel about shakespeare. >> i look so excited, i'm going to be so elegant, this is going to be my big break, kal, how you cow, how do you feel about shakespeare? >> cut my face. i mean it's not even english. >> mna test to someonetond else. shakespeare taught me my first lesson in editing.
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several more years ago by. i'm still struggling actor, just satisfied with typecasting in hollywood systemic refusal to cast colorblind gender blind roles. a hero woman speak on the panel sponsored by the screen actors guild. ar the only woman of color and she decided long ago that since hollywood has reasons nott to cast me i was going to make it that much harder for them to deny that my race and gender has something to do with it. i was going to be classically trained. shakespeare, to the sector tommy the importance of classical training. at least to make the gatekeepers as uncomfortable as possible if they are not going to let you in. now here we are. i been a working actor, knock on wood, i've had the honor working in public service, i'm speaking at the 400th birthday of william shakespeare. i look back and i appreciate the coincidences. there is this this one little remaining matter of how it all ends. when shakespeare actually died i did notice back in ninth grade he was born on my birthday or rather eyes went on his but another process the idea that shakespeare also died on his birthday.
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we actors are impulsive, irrational, we fear and revere things that are not there. the fact that sharing a birthday with shakespeare meant i was going to be an actor shall it cannot be selective and that during the fact that i am going to die on the 23rd of april. in the meantime if i get through today, i will continue to vouch for the ability he has for the university holiday for love, conflict, sorrow and joy. if notin i let me be boiled toin death with melancholy. [applause]. thank you. [applause]. >> oh not today kal penn, happy birthday. we're off to a great start. our next presenter turned in early love of music into a career that has in turn and empower people from across the country to transform their innate curiosity by the arts
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into full-fledged artistic careers in a lifelong pursuit o creativity. as the 11th chairman of the nea, james hsu as as awarded nearly $220 million in agency grants, please join me in welcoming, jane chu. [applause]. >> who's there? those are the first two words in shakespeare's the tragedy of hamlet, the prince of denmark. this also the essential question that great literature ask of us. who's of us. who's there? in ourselves, communities, and the world at large, the question of hughes who's there as continue to resonate across the ages from when hamlet was originally published in 16 oh three until today. what i read hamlet's i was in high school and i was slightly younger than the hamlet a lot o
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character but like a lot of adolescents, grappled with answering the question of who's there for myself. what really hit home to me reading hamlet was that i could identify with how his process of coming to terms with his own group that grief mirrors the loss of my own father at the aga of nine. now there were a few things that were different from hamlet. for example, i was fortunate in that unlike hamlet, my father was not murdered by my uncle, so there was not any quest for revenge or anything like that. but the more essential aspect of facing great loss at a young age really did hit home with me. hamlet first confronts a world that tells him to move on, to get over it even hamlet's own mother tells him to cast by 90 color off do not forever seek for the noble father in the dust, thou know if all that lives must i, passing through
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nature to eternity. a lot of the conversation my high school classroom was around how difficult it was for hamlet to make a decision. i for me personally, the play was really about how grief, if it's not properly processed food so tired could lead to the greater challenges. hamlet is not indecisive. he's not depressed, he is grieving. i was felt like hamlet was placed in a profoundly unfair position, here he is a young young man at the age of barely being a man and the problems that he has been handed by taking the responsibility of fixing those problems created by the grown-ups around him. i kept thinking if only thee courts had just let hamlet take the time you needed to feel bad about his father they may be it would not have ended in such a tragic ending.found a
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when my father died when i was nine, i found a lot of solace in music, playing the piano, through the lessons i was taken and pretty soon i started to realize that so many art forms give us a powerful ways to express ourselves. ways to transcend transcend the use of linear, everyday conversation. i found a lot of comfort in hamlet is a recognized is not alone. because if shakespeare had written about the process of confronting one's own grief within 400400 years ago, then i was not the only person to evera have these feelings and that i p surely would also be okay. shakespeare lets hamlet passsha forward the lesson about the importance of grievance through his dying words to his best friend horatio. those words help us understand the power of taking the time to say goodbye to a loved one and keeping their stories alive in our hearts. if thou did ever hold me my heart, absent the front felicity a while. in this harsh world
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draw thy breath and paying to tell my story. thank you. [applause].. >> shakespeare's influence is not limited to the arts and the humanities. to see this you need to look no further than outer space. with uranus saloons name cordelia, pop, an affiliate, and a guest is going to feel just right at home here at the folger. as nasa's cheap chief scientist studies the geology of venus, mars, saturn's moon, titan and the earth, please please join me in welcoming doctor ellen [applause].
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>> williams shakespeare wrote in a midsummer's night dream, i thank thank you for the semi- beans, i think the mood for shining out so bright. i wonder if if shakespeare ever envisioned a world with many moons? such as the 27 moon so your interests. each of these minces its own world from the messy fracturesy fr of miranda full then twisted by uranus to the cratered circus surface. it is writing good to pay homage to shakespeare with the points of light in the night sky. to a man who has brought so much light to so many people as he has encapsulated the very nature of what it means to be human.in, in 2011, i sat in the theater in haymarket london having the ralph fines plence of watching
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the tempest. the the program noted that the play was first performed for james the first in in london in 1611. the thought of that actually made actually made me stop inattention for a few minutes. for 400 years, and that very city in theaters, people like me or maybe slightly more royal had sat in theaters caring those same words, laughing at the same lines.prologue. what's past is prologue, we are such stuff as dreams are made of. and so on. as dreams are i found this much relevance toto my life and my modern era in his words as the people that watched it with james the first probably found to theirs. the ability to bring life into
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art and to make it last for centuries, that is the gift of shakespeare.shakespeare. i find in the timeless appeal and relevance of shakespeare the same thing that i actually love about geology. about the study of our earth, our solar system,o our universe. for billions of years stars, planets, galaxies, galaxies are born, they live, they die. we came from start us and we return to it. for this study of astrophysics or astrobiology is just that, a a wonderful, complex story withy depth and drama. just the kind that shakespeare told so well. actually get frustrated sometimes a scientist to tell the public the facts and leave out the stories behind the science. burying people in jargon. i was an art history minor in college, i now promote science
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communication at nasa help and our scientists and engineers at bring the why, then who cares. how did we get here, how does this affect my life and my place on this planet?fe what is our future? inspires u science not only informs us, it inspires us. the more we learn, we learn, the more we crave knowledge and understanding.sen in science feeds are innate curiosity. we want to know more, we want to know what those points of light in the night sky are. when we plan at nasa to send humans to mars we do so to answer the question, are we alone. did life evolve beyond earth? what is is the nature of that light? when we look at the thousands of planets that we have identified around other stars, we want to know are those planets not just potentially habitable, are they inhabited?
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that is why we need not just stem, we need the humanities. i we need shakespeare, arts, design to understand our world and beyond. shakespeare knew how to tell the story of the lives of people on this planet. in science we try to take apart all that is behind that story work piece by piece. to understand how it works, where it's where it's going, where we are going. we need to approach these difficult challenges using both sides of our brain, using her head and our hearts. great science is about so much more than analyzing data, it's about dreaming big, about creativity, inspiration, and asking the question. it is about perseverance, and courage. it's five euros. it is all the things it's five euros. it is all the things we appreciate about shakespeare's work. powerful storytelling that stands the test of time. as we work to solve the most
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pressing questions about our origins and our destiny, we must come back to shakespeare to share the big story of science with everyone. thank you. [applause]. >> thank you. thank you ellen. even after 400 years, shakespeare remains a remains ago to commentary about contemporary affairs. still wr he still rates the headlineses even if the events that are happening are not yet history. clarence page has built a career around his sites about local and national affairs, he was recognized for his work with the pulitzer prize for commentary. he is a nationally syndicated columnist and a network television commentator. please do me in welcoming clarence page. [applause].or
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>> i'm a word man. when we celebrate shakespeare we celebrate the power of words. we scraps scraps often describe w washington as downright shakespearean. why not? he wrote the script. that is what the fellow who just introduced me said, michael whitmore, he told me that four years ago as we discussed the 2012 presidential race. almost race. almost all of our political rhetoric whitmore told me to comes from two books from the 16th and 17th centuries. the the king james bible and shakespeare's plays. like me, whitmore was employed as bike clinton speech by his comedic and sometimes at lib speech at the democratic national convention. bubba is back i said. even president obama sounded like he he thought the formersi
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president did a better job selling the current president than the current president did. obama said somebody email me after speeches that you need to appoint him to be his secretary of explaining stuff. i like that set obama, and i did too. later comedian seth meyers observed on saturday night live that we are ready have a job that it is called president. and that's true. explaining stuff is a big part of the job. some leaders do it better than others do. in fact, the use of a shakespearean simplicity language is something thatat president clinton, president obama, and donald trump hold in common. yes, we connected this run the program without mentioning the name of donald trump. in fact, at a campaign rally in december in hilton head, republican front runner explain the importance of words while describing the state department. quote, i'm telling you, i used to use the word incompetent, now i call them stupid. i went to an ivy league school, i very, very highly educated, i
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know words, i know the rest words, but there is no better word than stupid, right? unquote. no matter michael whitmore was intrigued by politics. in fact he took the text of clinton's remarks and compared's it to clinton's speech and hugh found that they came from the anglo-saxon words of english.mo obama employed more latin words, the french brought to english engl like the french conquest and 66. today whitmore said you could say that almost all of our political rhetoric comes from those two books. well indeed, political speech comes into speeds as michael also said and i will call them social economic it one is latin and its derivative romance
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languages, french, spanish, italian, short, action oriented anglo-saxon words with the hard continents biting, eating, hiking, it became the day-to-day language that, people talk. want to know the difference listen to rock 'n roll. rock 'n roll rhythms are not very tolerant of fancy words. a notable exception as michael pointed out was rolling stones classic, i can't get no satisfaction.'t go from the land to the anglo-saxon ineffective way but then make jaeger went into a dilemma what could he get drama satisfaction. well, we all all know the answer, don't we, early action. head a if you like me that song will be stuck in the head all day, one it? but no, it's only rock 'n
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roll but i like it. yes i do. oh well, if this remarkably well, even in our age of rock 'n roll, and raucous discord. all the ruled is a stage rule does a stage she said in all them men and women merely players, they have exits and interested and one man in his time plays many parts. indeed. indeed, this is true. i found that in fact, i wonderi what would shakespeare say about today's era of government shutdowns, debt showdown and obama care website meltdowns? he would not be surprised as he said, he wrote the script. in d, dealing with dealing with kings, queens, aristocrats and others in society shakespeare understood that history repeats itself in very different times and places. it's not hard for us to imagine shakespeare writing the script for today's politics. might have speaker paul ryan refusingng please for to run for president reminding that hamlet
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to be or not to be that is the question. republic line to address paul ryan, not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have it put upon them. president obama could turn to hamlet and say do you think i am easier to be played on the pipe? or donald trump to megyn kelly, i will speak speak daggers to her but use none. we can hope, or from a fellow, rude and my my speech, little blessed with a soft phase of peace. as as you like it provides a good line for supreme court candidate, merrick garland as the senators on capitol hill, i like this place and willingly could waste my time in it.
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or ted cruz, the world has gone so bad that rims make prey where eagles dare not perch. or, my good friend clarence thomas, brevity brevity is the soul of wit. or, back to the ever quotable donald trump, will this be madness yet there is a method in it, will indeed, whatever happens in our politics today, we would be in for more k surprises but one thing will be consistent, we know who wrote the script. thank you very much. [applause]. thank you. thank you clarence. we'll be thinking about those rock 'n roll songs and lookingg for those latin words.wo for many of us our first encounter with shakespeare was in high school. our next presenter is no exception.resenter a sr. at multicultural health
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high school here in washington, dc, francisca is a member of the folgers lily mckee high school fellows program. she is vice president of her school's book club and she is a member of the green team. please join me in welcoming francisco [applause]. afterno >> good afternoon. today i will be speaking to you about my shakespeare story and also how i think shakespeare is still relevant to today's teenage era. my shakespeare story began when i was in ninth grade. i've recently arrived from the dominican republic in the caribbean when i was 11 years old. i was a seventh grader. i did did not know any english, so i struggle to make grades in my classes and learning and keeping
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up with my classmates. i started going to the library and i read a lot of books. all throughout the years. in two years i learned english and i was proficient and events even more advanced than my other united states students that were born here. when i became a ninth grader, and i went to the high school i started reading mcbeth with the book club. the language of shakespeare amazed me, and mesmerize me. i was i was so intrigued by how the language has changed in so many years and how people still with this and understand it and -- i decided that i was still going to keep reading shakespeare, i was going going to be a fan of his. so i kept reading mcbeth. i came out of my shell and started speaking to other students about it.. we were learning together.learn.
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we were learning words, we're learned about feelings feelings and what happened in the stories together. when i became a tenth grader we read julius caesar. we're we're learning about friendship. everyone was interested in thedw story they didn't really even know who shakespeare was yet. when i was in ninth grade i apply for the lily mckee fellowship at the library and i got accepted in the fall of my 11th grade year. i was excited. it was a rigorous course we read her case, hamlet, we would to multiple plays here in the folder library and it was i amazing to state the lease. we met a lot of experts, we learned a lot about herself. how. how shakespeare was still relevant to today's society. as schools, meanwhile in myla 12th grade ap english class we were reading a fellow. then, we watched a fellow in this spring and we had a
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workshop where things are posters such as if your friends if y told you was being on loyal to you, who would you believe? this was answered with multiple opinions from my classmates and they were using evidence from their own life.ts they did not know they are talking about shakespeare. then when the teacher said well this is what happened in a fellow, he decided to trust his friends instead of his mother. lover. who we shakespeare is relevant today because he talks about what makes us human come our feelings and relationships to others, who we choose to believe, who choose not to trust. who we rely on, who we grieve. shakespeare would still remain relevant in 400 years moreare because he speaks about humanity and his stories will always be relevant.. thank you. [applause].
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[applause]. well and he started the next discussion. what does it mean to be human? this question drove our next presenter to dedicate his life to a lifelong study of the humanities. as a combat infantry advisory at the age of 20, he came face-to-face with a host of radical questions that poets, writers, philosophers have been struggling with for generations. william adams. william adams, better known as pro adamson sent his careercoll.
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fostering a love of learning and exploration of our humanity. he served as the president of the university and colby college. he is now the chairman of the national endowment for the humanities. please join me in welcoming, roll adams.e [applause]..breaux >> thank you. this is a story about what i would call the sociological and existential significance of king lear. in the 1980s i was teaching at stanford university and what was then called the great works of western culture program. there was a program that every student at stanford had to pass through in the firsr year in order to get on with the baccalaureate degree. in the course of reading the great works of western cultures you c can imagine, we read shakespeare. for a number of years the play that we read was clean king lear.ea amazing, remarkable, remarked play which is a pleasure to teach. as as i taught it i was dealing with students between
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the ages of 18 and 22 but most of them were 18. teaching the play to students who are 18 years old went rather naturally to the place where they knew, are the places they knew that had to do with the way the players about a family.eeply dyo i would say a deeply dysfunctional family in particular and most of the conversations and most of the work and the significance of the play for them arose from those relationships that lear has with his daughters particularly. all of the other interestingly domestic relationships that occur during the play. at the end the end of my time at stanford, ironically, i was invited to participate in the seminar funded by the national endowment of the humanities, cici shakespeare in a summer program to professionals and particularly people from not-for-profit organizations including, number of executives a very important foundations in california and beyond.
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it was so interesting, the difference in the way these people read the play. i learned from them that what was in the foreground of the play for them was not the domestic and familial which i was accustomed to talking about, was in the foreground for them was the organization. lear, not as a family member but as a ceo of an organization and someone whose personality and character is formed over time around his organizational role, his being the king of thisis kingdo kingdom. even though that is a kind of background consideration in much of the play. it was fascinating to follow them through this play and understand that one of the really profound dimensions of this drama is the way in which this person cannot get over thep fact that for most of the day he spends his time giving people orders until and people what to do. of course when he comes back into bed to mystic context, he is at a complete loss as to how to be, how to live with others. the drama the play figures
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centrally around his abandonment of that role and his abandonment of that persona. of of course, he cannot abandon it. as he dislodges himself from that context, he finds himself nowhere. the fool says to him one of those for scenes, i am a fool, you are nothing. he goes off onto this parade around his daughter's residence is a course and at every turn he's rebuffed. they way for him at albany's palace, palace, treats his people badly, puts the fools ins the stock and lear is no longer able to understand the world. so this is a play in very many ways about what happens when people in great positions of authority when they enter other modes and domains of life. and how difficult it is to lose
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that sense of self and sense of being that is given to us by positions of authority. i thought this was an interesting reading of the play. it helped me understand what shakespeare was doing with lear. i did not really understand it until years later when i, myself have the opportunity to take on positions of significant responsibility in the presidency of two colleges.colleg for me, 11 of the most difficult aspects of the work was coming home at night after having been in the office all day, walking in the front door, sitting down at the dinner table with my wife and two young children. there is a wonderful moment when lear is with his entourage at albany's palace and oswald comes up to him and says to him consulting then he says, do you know who i am? oswald says yes, you are my
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lady's father. he goes into int a rage, rage which gets repeated numerous times as he feels himself divested. of the meaning of the world that had been his in this context of the kingship. so there he was at the dinner table, with my two children, wanting to say do you know who i am? and of course that doesn't work at the dinner table. it was so illuminating to me to understand how shakespeare illuminates us and gives us perspective on our lives through wonderful place that shows who we are in some of the powerful. thank you very much. [applause]. thank you.
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>> kia served since 2010. it is become the fastest improving urban school district in the country.. she accomplished this through an intense focus on improving teacher quality and actively engaging students and families. she has focused on creating programs that benefit all students. please join me in welcoming kia henderson. [applause]. >> like most high school students, i had a pretty casual relationship with shakespeare i tog on. i tolerated plays like romeo and juliet, hamlet, and the midsummer nights dream. i plodded through sonnets of vaguely understanding that i am the contaminant. but then, we read a fellow. i fell in love.
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the murder, the intrigue, the horrible scoundrel er go. the gorgeous desdemona, though loyal casio. it was the best of great storytelling and great theater. even even more than that, it was the first time that i had encountered a main character who was a person of color. of c and it was such a significant, struggle work. i was surprised, but more importantly i was affirmed. the play showed me that people who look like me were an important part of the world story. william shakespeare helped validate my place in history. the play challenge me. i was struck struck by how despised a fellow was. for the life of me i cannot understand what this poor moore had done that does served all of
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this treachery. he seemed to only be guilty of excelling in a world stacked against people like him. personally and professionally, n fellow was the man. he rose through the ranks of a foreign army, he took the topar spot and he got the girl. good stuff. but his unlikely success set the stage for a string of jealousysy fueled the murders. that made me love him even more. a fellow showed this black girl that even in a hostile world, people like me could excel. not only could we excel, in fact we have been doing it throughout history. for hundreds of years. in my current role, i have the have the pleasure and honor of sharing that important lesson with the 50000 students of d.c. public schools. so my students and i, we only
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huge debt. she thank you william shakespeare for showing us who in the worldin the world.. [applause]. >> a few months ago we began commemorating this anniversary, we called the wonder of will.. it's involved a tour of first folios, 1623 complete works of shakespeare to the 50 states into territories. exhibitions, performances, educational outreach, online events, we're so happy educational outreach, online events, we're so happy we're able to do this for this year and the centerpiece has been an initiative to collect shakespeare stories made out of videos and having the posted under the #, my shake 400. we have already been moved by the stories that we have heard
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so far. i wanted to share some with you now including one from josh who you may know as a director of the avengers or since you are in this room, you probably also know that he created a beautiful version of much about nothing, filming about in his home in a weekend. let's have a look at some of these videos [applause]. ♪ 's. >> to share your favorite shakespeare quote. today it is and yet i wish with a thing i have, my bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love is steep, the more i give to the the more i have in both are infinite. valentine's day. >> much to do about nothing. the tempest, the winter's tale, they are all marvels.
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i refuse to pick a favorite. as i said maybe a least favorite. >> [inaudible conversation]. >> there are moments of my life when i felt like i do not belong or i don't fit into that doesn't relate to me. something like shakespeare was so distant from me. i do think there's anything for me in shakespeare with rope to die. that doesn't pertain to me. that's not my not my story. when i realize again going back to the human condition that these people fall in love, they get jealous, they have they have rage, all of those things, i get. >> people asked me what my favorite line of shakespeare is and i think they expect me to wheel out some big multisyllable
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word or a class coalition and i always say oh, she's warm. it is the climax of the winter's tale. the moment when a man believes when a man believes he has lost everything suddenly gets it back again and has a second chance at his happiness. >> i like shakespeare's bloodied, vicious plays. >> i think my favorite childhood memory, early on was we did a reading of the fourth part one and it was an opportunity for me to make fun of how bad myor stepfather was which i did every day but i got to go through the whole -- it was a good time. >> shakespeare is a phenomenon.p he made literature something people could discuss and argue about and decide, will i believe
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this but even though you believe that i still feel like this piece of literature something no one else can understand because i take it one when you take it another way.e this >> [applause]. >> i >> incredible. if if you're feeling inspired i hope that you will make your own my shakespeare hundred video. you should posted on social media and share with the # my shakes 400. you can visit alter folder folger.edu to to find ways to make a video. dubbed intellectual vaudeville, our next guest as an accompaniment of american theater troupe that is disguised as a comedy team. team. they are known for taking huge and important stories reducing them to silly skits. please join me in welcoming
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read, martin and austin stegner from the shakespeare company [applause]. >> we did it. thank you. >> i'm read martin. >> we are two thirds of the reduced shakespeare company. we are theatrical comedy group known for taking brain topics and making them into short,em i comedies. >> a verse three show the complete works of william shakespeare had the bottle of co the complete word of god a bridge, it ran in london for almost ten years at the criterion theater.d it is time >> .. shakespeare's long-lost first play abridged. here is the premise. we were on tour in england and finished performing in a theater. >> we went back to titus. >> you should ask wayne what
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titus is. >> when we are on tour we travel in a 12 seat passenger van we call titus andronicus. it is awesome. we went back to titus which was parked in the parking lot. >> we saw a hole in the parking lot. >> down in the hole was a pile of bones. >> they looked utterly unimportant. >> next to the bones was a bundle of papers and that bundle of papers turned out to be the most important literary discovery of the last 400 years. >> no, not 50 shades of gray. we discovered william shakespeare's long-lost first play. we had to cut it down. textual clues suggest it is 100 hours long. it talks about the 100 hours traffic of our stage and no one will sit through that. we have cut it down to two hours and one of the scenes we cut indicates shakespeare was an early influence of the comedy team of abbott and costello. what a glorious day it is here
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in the elizabethan era, perfect day to attend a theater and with so many playhouses to choose from, the curtain, the theater. are you bound for the theater? >> i am bound for the road. >> i'm not bound for the theater. >> it is the road for which i am bound. >> i remain confused, you said you are not bound for the theater. >> you remain with us and death. the theater is my destination. >> i'm bound for the red. >> the cup old, what strange melody, i am going to the roads theater. >> now i see we might have been across purposes. i ask if you are going to the theater, specifically named playhouse. >> i mystic you, i fight you maintain foul malevolence. >> the rose by any other name . i will miss the curtain. the curtain is that way. >> why do you tell me this? >> i don't know. thank you very much.
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[applause] >> one of the things we realizes shakespeare was very young when he wrote his first play. we think he was around 17. he was young and foolhardy. he didn't know making richard iii in the house of york such a likable character could get him beheaded by queen elizabeth of arrival house of tutor. in his long-lost first play richard iii is a supernice guy trying to woo beatrice and it is not going very well so because he cannot love her he is determined to prove a vaudevillian. ♪'s i know more lady ♪ sigh no more ♪ 1 foot on seat and one onshore ♪ sign up and let them go ♪ be obliged and bonnie ♪ converting all your songs in
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the world to she didn't love me but i slept like a baby, i cried and went to bed. ♪ let them go and bonnie ♪ converting your songs of the world into my shrink said i was crazy, i said i wanted a second opinion, he said you are a hunchback too. converting all your songs to grow until they laughed when i said i wanted to be a comedian, they are not laughing now. converting your songs into hey nonnie nonnie. thank you very much. [applause] >> we have a matinee here in an hour. we are two thirds of the shakespeare company. thank you very much.
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>> thank you. >> our next presenter is a terrific colleague and shakespeare scholar. her book persecution, plague and fire describes the ways in which live performances can go wrong either because of gunpowder or pyrotechnics or the use of live animals, none of which are allowed in the folger reading room. join me in welcoming ellen mc chi. >> when i was a senior in college the culminating force for theater majors was acting in shakespeare's theme study. its culminating event which took place every april was a public performance of highlights from shakespeare's plays. since i have been more of a torchbearer type than a "hamlet" type during my acting career i was very happy to get the part
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of the prince of france catherine in the play henry v particularly in the scene where he asks for ladies in waiting to train her in speaking english. this is like a painting over the course of shakespeare's play. it opens a window and casts a vibrant light on history that we would not otherwise see. at this point the french have been decimated and they were moping and boasting about his horse, catherine sees the writing on the wall. recognizing her marriage will be brokered to steal a negotiated peace she repairs for a reality everyone else fails to see coming. i knew i could not get all this rich context across so i concentrated on something i knew i was tasked to do, namely speak french. tripping away on the tongue at least the point for cancer and encounters two words that are homophones or sound alike for
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french absurdities. this, she responds with comic alarm [speaking french] but then she also can't resist the opportunity to repeat. [speaking french] so my moment came. i performed my part and the sun set on my shakespearean acting career. the next day i was walking across campus, looking -- someone hailed me and came running up and spoke to me very slowly and said you are learning
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to speak english very well. very well. when will you be journeying back to france? i paused for a moment in some confusion trying to figure out how to handle this before deciding honesty was the best policy at which point i said actually, i am an american. it was one of utter and profound disappointment, unable to pivot to the usual social niceties he turned and slouched away. i recognized the story is a bit of a cliché. many actors have recited these kinds of encounters with people who failed to recognize the difference between an actor and the character they performed. for me it was a profound illumination of the hold shakespeare still has on us. this person, a perfectly rational seating person by all outward signs was so reluctant
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to part company with catherine that he simply did not see or would not allow himself to see all the ways in which i was not a 15th-century princess of france. i imagine dining out on the story for quite a while but i have chosen to share it with you today because i see the ways in which the spectator and i are more alike than different. i too hated dropping the part of catherine. i loved housing her inside my psyche and having her as my constant companion and i have come to believe one of the reasons i went to graduate school to study shakespeare was to keep myself in the company of shakespeare's imaginary persons for as long as i could. what is more i have come to think that is not so much delusional or wishful thinking as an expression of shakespeare's formidable ability to bring his world forward and large it in us and create these encounters on shockingly
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intimate grounds. let me finish one short example. a year and a half ago i was at a conference on the hatred of the stage in renaissance europe. it was in fact the hated phenomena in. there was a presentation on annunciation of the actors in 16th century france. i was struck how it was repeated again and again, the word catherine uses to describe the indecency foisted upon her by the english tongue. all of a sudden i had this whole new revelation of catherine, how in imagining herself preparing to play the role of a french queen on the english stage she raises and sort of marks the anti-theatrical critique of the period. i have to say this is precisely what interests me as a scholar, the way plays of shakespeare's period draw our attention to the conditions of their own
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production and force us to notice how precepts of the period concerning the emptiness of show or the corrupting force of the theater as an agent don't match the vibrant multidimensional experience of going and seeing a play. this presentation struck me not just as evidence for my argument but as revelation of how the idea lodged in me in the first place. if i made it my business to try to take apart limited visions of the stage perhaps the reason is catherine was with me during those sessions of sweet, silent thought when i was percolating my research. if i could see the way in which she quotes back the language of theater's detractors, it is because i played her and she primed me for things that way. my shakespeare moment, the long arc of my recognition, no other
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other is capable of orchestrating sustained and sustaining relations between his characters and ourselves. [applause] >> thank you, ellen. [applause] >> considered by many to the most prominent latino playwright in america, octavio has written 20 plays mounted in major theaters across the country. he is an award-winning writer and director whose style defies formula. please join me in welcoming octavio scully's. change the way it goes, the way it goes, yanked out by the roots
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at dawn, in the ground like an old bone, that is how long we got, that is how long it takes to live, barely time enough to love, knows the way it goes, you kiss and die, the only story we got time to tell because there it goes, there goes my son. he is leaving his romy and ready to die, taken all day to die and there it goes toward the blue above, the sun over romy and the parking lot of the hidden valley shopping center, the fire romy feels but romy knows before she knows.
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>> and suddenly i knew there was yet a third language to
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>> this. >> i've was confounded by the double in the triple meanings of the of words the colloquialisms and as i took on the role of the conic lexicon of magic coming out of my mouth but it's an artist because this is thehe moment i you wanted to write because this man made a metaphor and wanted to create real language i played my senior year in
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college but all i could do was marvel at the sense and sensibility for what was expressed on stage was the merits of the two. how will such have been the language with uncommon poetry.n't wo these were mysteries set this mexican kid could not work out but shakespeare taught me how. everyone has the soul of a poet but also taught me
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there must me to his so the language were spanish to the english the rhythm of the street where everyone speaksks with the spanish accident. [laughter] i felt my way into the cityh] because once again it was big enough but with of brevity of life in this thing go arc of the sun for crowhop the metaphor wast hers to make for mexican kid in el paso texas for more
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than 400 years ago. [applause] thank you. [applause] >> donna is the chair of the english department at st. alban's school for boys' here in washington d.c. she's author of the poetry chat book, "the lovers' voice," as well as a book of poems," broken like joe." she was a member here at the folger since 1984 and has been contributing to the student work that has been happening here as they excel in their work at the folger.
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please join me in welcoming donna denizae. [applause] >> so my first experience with shakespeare was one in which i happened, i was about 13, and i happened to watch a tv show. and it was with japanese characters and with english subtitles. i came to find out later, after a totally absorbing experience, that it was "throne of blood." and i think it was so satisfying for me because as an african-american, i felt like there was so much when i was growing up that seemed unjust. and here was divine justice and, boy, was it satisfying. but my next deep experience with shakespeare occurred at the end of graduate school. i had been raised by maternal grandparents, and my father, for him education was the top.
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when i was about to graduate, he wanted to see me march. however, there had been a procedural glitch in the final days before the ceremony, and i learned i was going to have to wait another semester in order to actually graduate. he was furious. he blamed me. he said once again you get things wrong. do you ever get things right? even though it wasn't my fault. and so as i drove him back to the airport -- he had came from new york. he thought the trip had been a waste. as i drove him back to the airport, he's yelling at me, i'm yelling at him, what have you ever done? when have you ever helped us? you've let me down, i mean, it was one of those family rows that i think we all can recognize. he's yelling in french, in creole, i'm yelling in english. i dropped him at the airport and immediately went to my professor's house.
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she was working in her garden pulling up tomatoes, pulling out tomatoes, pulling up lettuce and things. and i went into a rail against my father. she listened carefully, and she stopped and said your father gave you everything you need. he gave you life, he gave you good brains, and he gave you good looks. that stopped me for a minute. [laughter] everything else you can get on your own. that wasn't good enough. i still criticized him. and finally she turned to me, and she said: the branch that attacks the tree will itself die. what? [laughter] speak english. [laughter] she says, the branch that attacks the tree will itself die. the merchant of venice. read it. think about it. so i immediately thought,
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stopped in my tracks, the merchant of venice. she said, this is a play where shakespeare was prophet. and so began our discussion. in a world that comes to confuse the material with the spiritual, every human relationship is tainted. so a father sets his daughter up as a lottery prize, friends base their relations on borrowing and lending money, christians engaged in a slave trade condemn a jew for desiring a pound of flesh and portia, dear portia has no love or few shylock. so when all human flesh has a price of material worth, anything is possible. for a minute, boy, did that stop me in my tracks. i began to understand my father's need to see me walk as
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a confusion, a confusion of spiritual with material. i was going to get my degree, but he needed to see me walk. and i was guilty too. so at that point i began to see the relevance of shakespeare in my life, and that's the relevance that i love to bring to my classroom for students today certainly experience the same lesson of confused values. for example, they apply to college. lots of seniors. but it's really not about just getting an education. as soon as they say they're into college, it's which college, okay? or someone gets engaged, and they say, oh, i found the love of my life. i have a ring, and we want to see the ring, and we want to see the size of the ring. [laughter] or how about this? at graduation when everyone's happy and celebrating the
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movement through education, and now we're going to go off, kids go up to each other, and they say what'd you get for graduation? be what would happen, i say to students, if you turned and said to your friends, i got a lot of love and a lot of support from my parents? you got nothing, huh? [laughter] so that's what i think we live in a world in which this play, the merchant of venice, is so apropos to our time. and it is a play that teaches us a lot about the confusion of spiritual and material on religious grounds, on mercantile grounds and on human grounds. and for me, i thank my teacher, because she taught me more than the merchant of venice. and thank you, shakespeare. [applause] >> fabulous. thank you, donna.
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ms. -- >> our next presenter has served as assistant watergate special prosecutor, chief council to the senate judiciary committee and taught law for many years at harvard law school and at the kennedy school of government. however, you're probably more familiar with him in his current capacity as associate justice of the united states supreme court. justice stephen breyer has written many books and articles, including "active liberty," "making our democracy work with: a judge's view," "and the court and the world." please join me in welcoming justice stephen breyer. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you for inviting me here. i mean, i've learned so much already, it never stops. it never -- what was that, the branch that turns on the tree will soon die. i'm going to tell that to my children.
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[laughter] and you said exactly what i think. it never stops. that was said, i think, about shakespeare, he said he knows every person, every kind of person. and -- what they think, how they feel, how they express themselves. and he takes all those characteristics and shows you their thinking and their feelings and their thoughts and actions better than they could do it themself, and he does it all in poetry. that's what you said, and i take it in. and i often get asked by law students -- not law students, undergraduates. they want to be lawyers, you know, there we are, some have to -- and there we are. [laughter] they want to be lawyer, and they say what should i study as an undergraduate? they were doing what you were just saying, how do we get up on this ladder here? and i say, well, you know, you don't have to study something leading to law.
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i can't tell you what to study, but i'll tell you one thing, you have one life to lead. one. and you'll know that life. and you'll know your friends, you'll know your family, but that's very, very few. and if you go into humanities more those four short years, if you learn some other languages, if you read a few books, you'll learn about some lives that aren't your own. but they're out there. every kind of person. so i recommend that. and it comes back in spades to help me. i mean, just a few weeks ago we heard about a fellow, i mean, it's been playing, and a fellow, what is iago? is there really such a person? i mean, he is a real are, serious rat. and could there be a person like that? then i happened to see a movie, a classic french movie on television. no, i saw it on an airplane, i think.
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it was children of the gods. fabulous movie. great movie. there's a character in it, a real criminal. and he is an egomaining yak. i mean, he is a rotten person, but he has very high opinion of himself. very high. and he cares about nobody else, no emotional reaction to anybody else. it's him, the greatest in the world. and the only person that he will fight is the person who insults him and suggests he's not the greatest person in the world. and at the end of that film, he goes into a turkish bath where there's an aristocrat who did look down on him. dead. and when he goes and sits down, calmly on the shelf, pulls the chord and he waits for the police to come. what does he prove? that he's the greatest person in the world. to whom? himself. now ask yourself, and i ask
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myself, why at the end of othello when they say why did you do this, this marvelous man, why have you ruined him and killed him, why? no answer. he's proved it. to himself. someone insults him, he got to prove he's the greatest person in the world. that's one way of looking at it, you see? shakespeare told me there are such people, and it helps explain the play, at least to me. and if, in fact, you see groundhog day which is one of the great movies in the world -- [laughter] what does it make me think of? be it makes me think of rosalynn, of orlando when she says, hey, you're going to do this until you get it right. [laughter] right, isn't that right? [laughter] i mean, and my goodness, there are problems of intelligent women, that they have some special problems to this day. and you want to know what they are? go look at beatrice. go look at beatrice and benedict, and there they are. so all over the place, all over the world you, i want to tell
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the high school students, the college students, the law students, with your one life, you better know about a few others, and you better understand what this world is like. and if you have that desire, and i surely hope you do, you can do worse than start with william shakespeare. [applause] >> thank you, justice breyer. caroline clay is a 25-year veteran of the stage, film and television. most recently she played both characters in the folgers' latest production of a mid summer night's dream. a native washingtonian, she is on the faculty of the duke elington school of arts. she is a play wright who is committed to telling the story
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of unsung women in literature. please join me in welcoming caroline clay. [applause] >> good morning and thank you. it is beyond an honor to be here this morning as a native washingtonian and a proud product of the d.c. public school system. my childhood was punctuated with field trips, many of which happened right here in this building, at the folger theater right next door. it was here that i first saw african-american actress franschel stewart dorr. a graduate of the yale school of drama. i saw her play tat ark nia when i was in middle school, a role that i had the honor of playing here just this season. today, in the presence of my students from the duke elington school of the arts, in the
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presence of our d.c. schools chancellor, it cannot be understated, it cannot be underestimated, the power of black and brown children seeing themselves exemplified and celebrates by theatrical practitioners. making manifest the message: shakespeare is for everyone. in a time where it's ease i for the phrases -- easy for the phrases diversity and inclusion to ring hollow when used for grant speak, artists, produce beers, theater administrators, drama -- [inaudible] must lean forward into communities and truly engage, embrace the intersection of race, of gender, of radicalism, of culture. one of the greatest roles here at the folger was the complex and colorful lady macbeth. fran dorn, thank you for allowing me to be a part of that legacy.
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he hath almost served. why have you left the chamber? was the hope drunk wherein you dress yourself? haven't slept since and with it now to look so green and pale at what he did so freely from this time? such i account by love. art thou feared to be the same in acts as in desire? the ornament of life. and yet be a coward in my -- [inaudible] letting i dare not wait upon -- [inaudible] like the poor cat in the adage. when you just do it, then you were a man. and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man, nor time, nor place, yet you would make both. they have made themselves and their fitness now does unmake you? i have given -- and know how tender 'tis to love the babe
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that milks me. i would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipples from its boneless gums and dashed its brain out -- if we should fail, we fail. screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail when duncan is asleep where to the rath every of his long day's journey -- [inaudible] while i would whine and waffle so convinced that memory, the warder of brain, shall be a fume. and the receipt of reason, a limbic only in swinish sleep that drench natures lie as in a death. what cannot you and i perform upon the unguarded duncan? and what not put upon his spongy offices who shall bear the built of our great quell? thank you.
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[applause] >> wow. thank you, caroline. thank you. i'd like to thank again all of our presenters. [applause] thanks to them and thanks to our generous supporters, booktv and c-span2, the national be endowment for the humanities, the national endowment for the arts, the british council, google.org, vinton and zig rid serf, metropolitan group, apple and all of our co-hostst across the country. thank you for celebrating 400 years of shakespeare. [applause] [applause]
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now all in their short-term the celebration in its complete until your story has been told. please visit and then download and grab of friendl yor and tell your shakespeare's story uploaded to use social media you will be a terrific company. shakespeare gave us the stories and poetry dealt lettuce explore who we are in more importantly whose son davey might become.. as a lookout on to thehe horizon of the 21st century b.c. what is called our yet to be perfected future. on this anniversary in shakespeare's death as a poet and playwright but we
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also celebrate that infinite adaptability of his work with the truly diverseltural languages and cultural form. that conversation and continues what they bring to less.at the e and to stand at the edge off the imagination and historyteryo and mystery of the human heart we should continue to explore all -- all three. thank you. [applause] another round of applause to our amazing presenters. [applause] that
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we are a building filled with manuscripts in today will be on a digital medium that will survive foro centuries you have to figure out to do that but i hope in 2161 people in this room thinking about what we will do they will say that is a congregational of people who were actually part of an enduring legacy that we canag celebrate again and began.n. in just a few moments we will put the phones for a national call in and discussion.in 54 joining us to learn more
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how you can participate. [applause] >> is now your turn we want to hear from you we have heard this audience for an hour and a half.ll and have audience microphones set up as well. to the director of theel folger shakespeare library
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michael live where we spent the last hour and a half hearing things aboutut shakespeare but what is the criticism?ht over is there one? >> guest: he uses a lot of really long words and has trouble stopping himself. like a greyhound going after a rabbit. so even people who do shakespeare said he really couldn't resist like cleopatra's newt -- space a fact if you have to pick it it would be that. >> host: for those of us that have tried and tried and tried to access william shakespeare was assured vice ?of com >> there are many ways to
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combat shakespeare you are not alone. in those three mediations of comic books that is a perfectly suitable and fabulous way there is no reason it has to be tied to high culture or the arcade practices. >> we speak of what it must: have felt like two people in england it is a 200 year-old history listening to the i am thank pentameter. that is what is happening now in a your god broadway with their colonial history presented in the idiom ofg hip-hop being reintroduced as an example of what it
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must have been like and by that tradition of storytelling just keeps going. >> host: let's begin with the call from virginia. >> caller: i am pleased with the program there is too much politics in the presentations and not enough on universal qualities. justice beyer said it best the soviet characters in the play. in one or identity politics.
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and with the universal quality with those particular identities of the presenters rand of the characters. >> your point is that we make in our own we bring ourow own perspective and i appreciate what you're saying because they do think shakespeare is universal writer and the appeals laky is describing us. so the fact that they haveir their own particular perspective shows just what the universal right turn that he is. i hope and everybody watching the show feels that shakespeare can speak to them and for them but also they can't see his words.
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>> host: now a call from ohio. >> caller: good afternoon. i have very much enjoyed the two were of a library that you did. i am a teacher of science and math as an undergrad at was a rare student who studied humanities with the science is with three terms of shakespeare simultaneously and i get to my question in a a second i got to visit stratford every man's companion to shakespeare and a completea dictionary of shakespeare quotations. it is great to add to the volumes that you publish.
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my question with the emphasis on modern technology do you think even if students will continue to study shakespeare or illegal be offered as said dedicated course at the college level rather than is searching in a survey course? >> host: we will direct that to our scholar and teacher. >> he has made it this far ridges pretty impressive. the rationale is that torg where there has spent a larger freedom touse peak to of radius of populations and
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of origin we can offer asea many shakespeares' sections as we would like candidate phil. so it is an opportunity galosh shapes and forms advanta surely that is the advantages ao for the necessities. >> host: one thing that folger library did is high-school students to send did happy birthday tweets towe shakespeare. now let's take another call. >> caller: this is a
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wonderful program. even though i had a familiarity with romeo and juliet's so i was able to run understand the words of shakespeare after one of my performances by younger daughter gave me a copy iran said tuesday during katrina i've lost the book and i still feel the loss every day. >> that's a tough one. one of the largest
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collections and we had a lot of books from this period but there are so many that our lost it reminds me of when he says i will draw my books for those of us who love books and wish we had more plays by shakespeare we know he wrote at least two that exist but we don't have them but that feeling that you could lose a book and once it is gone it is gone. what you are feeling is the way we feel about books in the past and that is where libraries are so important because we need to save these stories and have other people read that in the long run. >> host: michigan, happy birthday shakespeare thanks for an aspiring actors around the world.
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>> shakespeare is one of the truly challenging playwrights in small theater companies so that every dayay small town fair is often enhanced that would be difficult for the most incredibly dynamic talented so there is something fabulous that our theatrical tradition includes that we include in shakespeare and push ourselves to create meeting and to be incredibly challenging and rewarding.
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>> host: i the young lady in high-school who said during the program that shakespeare is accessible today because he speaks to us. >> i think his voice is what we remember. so there are those words that we no longer remember but even if you only understeer aha 20 percent. that 20 percent is fantastic. that story is one that you can't understand whether in boston the stories that get this in to that beautiful language.'s how w they are on his side we have a lake up with a truly demanding passages >> host: and if anyone here in the folger reading room would like to ask a question, we have a mic right in front. ben in telluride, colorado. ben, go ahead. >> caller: hi.
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thank you for taking my call, and i'm really enjoying your show. it's such a delight to see it on his birthday and the date of his passing too. reason i'm calling is i feel very strongly about the value of what you're doing here, presenting shakespeare to this mass of an -- massive an audience as you can in a way that makes him seem as accessible as he can be. and i'm wondering why we don't have a 24-hour station, television stationing -- station a la cnn that shows only shakespeare and gives us all the various ways that shakespeare's been studied ask so on and so forth. applied in so many different ways. >> guest: i think you're talking about c-span3. >> host: ah. our american history. this is unusual for us. because we do nonfiction on booktv, so this is kind of a
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special occasion for us. but, ellen mackay, how accessible is william shakespeare's work today, and where would you recommend ben in tell you ride, colorado, go? >> guest: i'd start with youtube. if you're interested in the range of approaches, the kind of global range of approaches, but also this range from the highly professional to the highly amateur, youtube is a fantastic place to see shakespeare performed. and i would also say your local library gives you an incredible array of versions of shakespeare that can be approached by 4-year-olds and that can be approached by those of us who have been lifelong enthusiasts. >> guest: i'll put in a plug for live theater. [laughter] it is a living, embodied art form, and theater was the first immersive dynamic art form we had. it's really something to be part of. and so there are so many ways to do it. but the point is to do it.
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and i think if we need to come up with a special playlist on youtube that your rates every -- that curates every hour 24 hours a day, that is a doable thing. but i'm glad that you want to see more. of. >> host: we have a gentleman here at the mic. >> good morning. hi, ellenen, and hi, michael. i am from the still vexed bermudas, so it'll be no surprise to know that the tempest is my favorite shakespeare play. being born in bermuda. i just have a question. was prospero shakespeare? >> guest: oh. you want to take it? okay. that's a great question anding of course, the play -- and, of course, the play is often read as shakespeare's sort offal gore call --al goriccal farewell to his art and certainly to world making and the use of art and magic to produce lived
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environments that feel realer than real, makes him seem like a perfect stand-in for the playwright who we recognize as having a distinct power of make us believe so strongly in his characters. it's a fable that the tempest was the the last play that shakespeare wrote. but at the same time, i kind of love that tendency, because it demonstrates how strongly we all invested in thinking through how shakespeare himself thought about his own profession of his art. >> host: anything to add to that? >> guest: i think that's exactly right, and it is tough to think about him saying good-bye to the stage. but he must have said good-bye every time he it should a play. >> guest: right. >> guest: and we if he stood up and was the actor for hamlet's father, playing hamlet's ghost, you can just imagine he does write for specific actors in his company that all the time
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shakespeare's thinking of this character as himself, as someone else. he must have been really, really good at pretending that he wasn't who he was. [laughter] >> host: el dorado high school in texas, happy birthday, i love you more than hamlet's mother loves his uncle. [laughter] malcolm's in elk grove, california. hi, malcolm. please go ahead, you're on booktv. malcolm, you with us? do you know what? let's go on to robert in portland, oregon. robert? we're listening. >> caller: very young in high school. i went to a competition of shakespeare in julius caesar, and up on stage i lost my voice, and i'd always heard that that happens to people. i was very young. it was a real surprise to me and my poor teacher who had to endure that.
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but i became a fan of shakespeare after that. i loved his writings, and i also love music, and i love groups such as the beatles. so i was just kind of curious what kind of influence do you find in today's modern music, how -- any ties with shakespeare in our modern music today? thank you. >> guest: wow. great question. >> host: who wants to start? >> guest: well, i have to say in the wake of prince's death, the line "good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing me to my rest," has been floating through my mind. i guess that's influence sort of going the wrong way, but it speaks maybe to the way in which, you know, great creators of art seem somehow always to be enmeshed in each other. probably because they're great because they're asking questions
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that are so profound and that provoke something so deep in us. so maybe they traveled in similar circles in that way. >> guest: yeah. socialit's such a big question. there's a lot of music that shakespeare himself wrote. he certainly wrote lyrics to song, so those have inspired musical performances, but i was thinking of the soundtrack to romeo and juliet which was such a big part of that film. there was the look, there was the actors, but then there was this fantastic soundtrack. really, you know, dynamic and immersed in the emotions of that play. radiohead did exit music for a film which was the walking out music which is one of the best songs they wrote. or i'll tell you another one, an independent band, indie band called low is playing a concert for the first folio in duluth, minnesota. [laughter] they're going to be playing it to some early shakespeare silent
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films. but you can see the direct and indirect ways in which a writer can create such great scenes and stories and then these beautiful phrases gets picked up by other people who want to make a big impression and tell a big story. >> host: kelsey, may you be pressured as america's favorite playwright. have we co-opted mr. shakespeare? [laughter] >> guest: i think -- shakespeare was born in england, but america adopt canned him. and i think -- adopted him and i think returned him to the world as a global citizen. i think there is something about the ways in which in an open-hearted way americans took on this writer, took on his voice that freed him up to become something that he never could have been if he remained on those shores. and to go back to the beatles, you know, these two countries have been trading things. rock and roll left america and went to the u.k., and then it came back with the beatles.
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but this is what cultures do with each other. they take their art form and say, well, let's do this. and then it comes back. and so i think your question is a really great one. i think he is an american writer in some way, but he's also a trinidadian writer, he's a south african writer, he's a writer in chinese, he's a filipino writer. this is the way great art works, it travels. >> host: we have a gentleman at the mic. >> guest: yes, hello. i'm the proud father of a lilley mckee fellow. want to congratulate the folger library for that program. [applause] it's such a tragedy in many ways that we don't know more about shakespeare's life himself and its details, and our tendency to look at his plays and assume that they're biographical or autobiographical whereas we don't know if they are. probably most likely they weren't. but one issue i'm very interested in because of the history of that time what was
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going on with the religious conversion and the prussian reformation and england becoming not catholic and how -- i would like to hear your opinions on the sense of how you think that religion may have played into shakespeare who clearly grew up in the midst of that, had catholic relatives, was in protestant london and any knowledge or insight you have on that question. thank you. [laughter] >> guest: go for it. >> guest: yeah. that's a fantastic, scholarly topic and not, you know, to say this sort of cliche thing, but the source of great and fabulous and protracted debate. i think it's impossible not to see shakespeare, you know, doing things like staging witches and not think that he's thinking about how the religion, the shift in religion in the period views things like exorcism and demonism and the materiality of religion in everyday life. i think, you know, great scholars have written about what
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it means to shift to the a protestant tradition that gets rid of a lot of the interaccessory practices, a lot of the ways in which people can make direct and intimate contact with the divine. and so so some scholars have said, well, the theater takes up the space of the church at a moment in which catholicism and all of its gorgeous and deeply personally and spiritually-held traditions are no longer available. but people have also said, you know, look, shakespeare makes us feel that way about the theater because he's a catholic, right? because he's secretly catholic s and he can't help but spark that catholic feeling within his plays. i don't think we'll know the answer to those questions, but aren't they wonderful questions? and isn't it amazing to think that we still care about the reformation in part because shakespeare's such a vivid presence within it. >> host: next call for our two guests, ellen mackay of indiana university and michael witmore,
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director of the folger shakespeare library here in washington, is meg in new york. meg, you're on booktv. apologize for that. let's try gary in port washington, new york. >> caller: yes. i was going to ask about shakespeare being catholic and the times, but the gentleman asked the question, so i want to ask about the theory of shake peer's authorship -- shakespeare's authorship which i think has no validity, but i would love to have these scholars on this day debunk the conspiracy theater -- >> host: debunk away, michael witmore. [laughter] >> guest: well, there have been many candidates since the 19th century that have been selected as the secret author of the plays. we have no reason to doubt that he was anyone but the man from
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stratford, the son of a glover, who moved to london, who learned this fabulous craft of being in the theater, who succeeded and then went back and retired. but i think the interest in shakespeare and our fascination with his abilities and his outsized influence has led us to ask how could anyone be capable of creating that kind of legacy? >> guest: uh-huh. >> guest: you know, even francis bacon who was so educated or another candidate who's been suggested, queen elizabeth i, what level of education would it take to get you to the point where your stories are repeated 400 years later? i think it's very, very tough to explain that. and so we've always wanted to know. sometimes we've hoped that knowing who he was would tell us how to read his plays, but i think what we know about great art is that it defies the basic experiences of the writer, and
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it reaches far out beyond that. i would, though, say as a director of the largest shakespeare collection in the world, we don't swear people to allegiance to one with candidate or another -- [laughter] and, frankly, the search for the other writer has led to many interesting discovers. discoveries. you can find out interesting things even if you're searching for the wrong guy. [laughter] and so we welcome qualified scholars and people who need to use this collection, because there is more to learn about this writer. >> guest: and i just say on the mar love january theater, one handy way of debunking that one is just to point out that marlo is one of the -- or marlowe is one of the few people about the period including the fact that he died in a bar brawl in 1594 which would cut off a huge swath of the shakespearean canons unless he somehow wrote these plays and stored hem in a magic
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box before his death, which seems unlikely. >> host: high school number 223 in the bronx, i just want to say happy birthday, that i really enjoyed twelfth night. and cecilia in tennessee, happy birthday, shakespeare. i love your work. my first play acting as ophelia in hamlet opened my eyes. william's in greenbush, michigan. you on booktv -- you're on booktv, go ahead. >> caller: first of all, congratulations, mr. witmore, on a wonderful celebration of the 400th anniversary of the death of william shakespeare. i too request a question on the identity issue -- request on the identity issue. i kind of believe he was the 17th early of oxford, as you've learned. many famous people including charlie chapman, sigmund froild, mark twain and others have also
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raised issues regarding shakespeare's true identity. and given the fact that bartlett's quotations, for example, has more quotations from shakespeare than from the king james bible, is it -- regardless of whom shakespeare might have been, francis bacon, christopher marlowe, you make the list up, could it possibly have been the work of one man only? and if it were another candidate, if we look at the body of his work, the book has been -- [inaudible] rather than the picture. would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? would a shakespeare by any other name read -- >> host: all right, william, i think we got the point. mr. witmore? >> guest: i think we actually know the names of his collaborators. we now believe he collaborated
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on up to 30% of his plays. so thomas middleton, george wilkins, fletcher, at least three playwrights who he worked with. and it was a collaborative art form in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. you said, well, who's really good at opening seens? well, let's get fletcher over here. [laughter] and so the more we learn about how theater worked, the more we realize that some parts of these plays that we credit to shakespeare you were co-written. simply, shakespeare may have written parts of other parts of plays, for example, sir thomas moore. there is a page which really looks like it's by shakespeare, it may even be in his handwriting. but i think your question is a really good one. how can one person have such reach? the answer partly is that he, in addition to being a fantastically talented person, was part of a collaborative art form in an urban environment that was rapidly getting contact
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with trade and other cultures. science was coming online. so all of that including printing, which means that his words get to last beyond the performance, come together. and that's what helps us get shakespeare. it's a convergence of circumstances. and i would just add that alongside the fact that he probably was a remarkable person. >> host: we have somebody here in the audience. >> hello. my name is eva are mcnabb, i'm the daughter of the man who was just at the mic. [laughter] so as you said, i'm a lilley mckee fellow here at the folger, very pleased and honored to be one. like father, like daughter. i was also thinking about how we assume the things are autobiographical or we assume that or are thinking about is this really him, are there other people working with him. and for fun i want to know if in your research and study of
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shakespeare that assumptions that you've had about shakespeare have been debunked or that you found out something about shakespeare that you wouldn't have expected to find out. >> guest: wow. that's a lovely question. i think, actually, i thought bree adams' presentation was great on this front, in the sense that i'll have a standing reading of a play. and as i age and feel my mortality more tightly gripping me, my position relative to that play in lear is a fantastic example. it will shift, right? and i will come to believe that shakespeare's actually much more interested in a different character n a different not or subplot than i had here heretofe thought. and it's one of the great joys of being able to reencounter his work. it's a great professional privilege and a great joy of my life that i get to sort of experience this myriad of beliefs about him.
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and one of the great things about knowing little about him is that interpretation, literary interpretation is a scaffolding that we erect around a play with always the understanding that, you know, it's contention. it's variable. we'll stack things on and take things off and try out new things. and that's part of the beauty of the work in the same way that performed adaptations are rich and wonderful. maybe they don't bring across everything that we felt was valuable in the play, but they'll harp on something that we haven't seen before. criticism works the same way, so it's highly variable. so i would say, yes, all the time my conviction about where shakespeare's heart is in a given play or given sonnet will shift over time. >> host: let's see if you can source this quote by jeff in ames high school. even though some might think you're a luxurious mountain goat, you're still my bro. happy birthday. [laughter] >> guest: that's one of the late plays. .. yesterday from
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henry viii was a piece from fletcher. philip is in richmond, california. hi, philip. to answer one of your questions, one of the things i discovered is now that we can fully search 60,000 books printed from 1473, and 1700, i now know that shakespeare did not invent 1700 words. what we will learn over time is that number is going to come way down. lexicographers at the oxford english dictionary went for the first book they read when they wanted to use the word first,
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shakespeare borrowed things all the time and it is no bad thing to say he likes to borrow. that made him a great writer. this works here. look at this. >> three words attributed to william shakespeare. >> oh my gosh. let me think. he has a lot of negations. on house -- on household. i am trying to think. certainly have encountered them in the past. >> michael whitmore. >> this is a phd qualifier. >> stump the professor. >> the answers are all down spirit. used as a verb in macbeth is definitely shakespeare but it is also said he created words like
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bedroom, marketing, lonely used in a particular sense. if shakespeare invented the modern meaning of lonely my heart breaks, i think that is amazing. >> the phrase harmonious, charmingly, which i love in "the tempest," a strange syntactical construction, very indicative of the inventiveness i like best about shakespeare, pooling from language we know but messing with it. >> another tweet sent to the folger library, happy birthday you swag master. words in sacramento, california, we are listening, you are on booktv, go ahead. >> shakespeare is a very personal thing to me. i went through the normal high school education which was terrible about it and turned me off completely, but my wife insisted i go with her to the
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oregon shakespeare festival in ashland, oregon, one year and we started sitting through henry vi part iii which i found pretty dreadful until i got to the end and the character names gloucester came out who i absolutely fell in love with completely. i love politics and i love you lenny in politics and i finished -- i would love to see more of that guy. there is a whole play about him. we have got to come back for that next year. every year since 1982 my family had an annual summer visit to ashland, i have a daughter in washington dc and another at purdue and every year the one absolute family thing is everybody flies back in august and we drive to ashland for a week, i was involved in a case with the supreme court, we walked up the night after the argument to watch a hilarious
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thing about 12 night. in the last two days i keep posting quotes from shakespeare i have randomly collected including last night the eulogy from cymbeline for shakespeare's death which is a better eulogy than the one on his gravestone, but anyway, since you are asking a lot of trivia questions i had when i would put to the panel because this is one that we debate. >> let me say we perform shakespeare's plays here in the first elizabethan theater in north america throughout the year except the summer months. when you think about a road trip you should come to washington and see the first folio and see shakespeare performing this beautiful tutor theater. >> when i am in dc i go to the folger every visit. i try to see a show if it is there. i remember seeing the 12 night
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because we were exhausted from a supreme court argument and that was our way of getting over that exhaustion. let me ask you this. which play is most performed, richard iii or hamlet, and who has more lines, hamlet or richard iii? >> hamlet has the largest number of lines. >> hamlet has the most lines in a single play but met margaret has the most lines. >> in multiple plays -- i would bet for the most performed it is richard iii, hamlet is a long and demanding play, you need a fabulous actor to play that role and handle all those lines. i know the internet will answer this question. >> maybe not correctly. >> what is your advice to high school teachers? >> i respect high school teachers who teach shakespeare a tremendous amount and i want to send out all my praise and
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affection to them because once they come to me they are already interested. they are already oriented to shakespeare because of the great work teachers are doing. my advice to high school teachers is as much as it is possible and not only school board will allow it in this way, to allow students to come at shakespeare at any level from any perspective from any side, to pick up any piece of the play, because those kind of encounters that come from curiosity are the best way to learn, to find a point of access. in the past, the prior age in which it was thought to curate shakespeare and try to keep the saucy bits out of children's years, that doesn't work. i think understanding shakespeare as someone who tries to address the full range of human experience is crucial in bringing children and high school students and middle
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school students and junior high students into a really robust and pleasurable experience with the play. >> lee is a teacher in maryland, happy birthday, shakespeare, my life in my classroom would not be the same without you. catherine in albuquerque. >> hello. this has been a delightful experience. i had trepidation but i will tell you it is organic and will would have loved it. i have discovered an international national treasure in michael whitmore which was a delight and i do have a question for doctor mckay. >> before you ask that question why did you have trepidation? >> i am a spoiled child of a certain era where i had
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professors like professor mckay so i have been in this desert, no pun intended, you don't have conversations like this regularly and the children of today have been shortchanged certainly in their literature, all of the fun whitmore had with all the things he learned, this wonderful great mind, we don't encourage children to have that kind of mind. we don't have literature at their disposal. >> in junior high school, junior high school teachers and high school teachers are the gateway to the arts and humanity. if you arrived in college and had a great professor there is something that happened before that and we realize that which is why we want every child who has an experience with shakespeare before they are 18
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to have a fantastic experience because those doors are going to open and that is where you get great professors like the people here on the stage. that is the place and we really love those teachers. >> catherine, please go ahead and ask your question. >> i want to start a thespian group called whitmore mckay thespians is a celebration. can you think of a better gift to give the bard than to have a bunch of thespians in a little troop and we live in a place where we can develop them because we have no competition. i thought a little thespian group named -- my question was about the bible and the translation. do you feel shakespeare was a great listener? >> oh yes. that is an easy one.
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absolutely. what michael said, that he was pulling out of the air this convergence of cultural phenomenon, religious change, scientific revolution, the emergence of rapid promulgation of prints and of course in this period the auditory experience is pronounced. in london you will be walking past open-air pulpits where people are sermonizing and your attention will be drawn to words from all directions and all walks of life. that is what we see richly embedded in the plays, a range of characters and the social positions they occupy perfectly replicates the life of england at the time he happened to be alive. >> hillary, hill valley high school, alabama, shakespeare, hit me up on twitter because it is your birthday and i am throwing you a party.
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>> i am a huge shakespeare fan. i am -- when i heard about folger shakespeare doing translations of shakespeare into modern english i was kind of torn because i thought maybe it is good because it gives some sort of accessibility to shakespeare but i am also thinking maybe it is dead because does it take away the magic, the beauty, the mystery of coming to shakespeare and learning more about it, as you come back to it throughout your life. i wanted to know what your opinion was or do you have to be politically agnostic about it? i am wondering what you think about it. >> i think if it turns out to be great art and people love it that is fantastic. i think shakespeare is a writer who launched 1000 ships and if
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this is 1001, that is terrific. i also think we don't -- we probably don't have to defend shakespeare as a great writer because he is so successful. even if you go to see these play that you see something new because you grasp some part of the plot you never got before, it is going to be hard to keep you away from the original. i always go with the fact that we keep coming back to this writer. we would certainly want to collect the script from this initiative in oregon because we are the library of record for shakespeare and we want to know about the legacy but we don't have to handicap shakespeare, he will be just fine. >> final word. >> i was thinking in response to that question i was born in england, multiplied by canada.
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shakespeare is a bilingual national poet, multilingual national poet and i think his poetry, his language is phenomenal and it sticks with us and if we are lucky enough to be born into english-speaking language, have this great privilege of accessing him in his language of origin but also there is fantastically gorgeous and wonderful about encountering him in translation too. i really feel there should be no handcuffs in the approach to shakespeare you want to take. he is doing just fine. he will be all right. his plays are still around, we can find a language with no difficulty. i kind of feel, bring it on. >> our time is up. happy birthday, will, thanks fo will air tonight at midnight eastern time, 9:00 pm on the west coast, thanks.
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booktv now continues, thank you. >> thank you all for being here today. we are the ones who were here when we did it. [applause]
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