tv 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeares Death Commemoration CSPAN April 29, 2016 9:00pm-11:16pm EDT
how do you position yourself? wasockey, wayne gretzky great because he did not focus on where it was going, but where it would be going. maybe they can position themselves and prepare their families for that future that is going to unfold the next 15 or 20 years. tv.org,r: go to book for the complete schedule. >> the folger shakespeare library recently marked the 400 anniversary of his death, through personal stories. later, there was a discussion on his life with shakespeare scholars. this is two hours and 15 minutes. ♪ michael: hello, and welcome to the wonder of will live. i'm michael witmore, director of the folger shakespeare library,
. and today, you are joining us on a very special day. we're broadcasting here from the historic pastor reading room. where 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 welcome to you today who joining us on c-span2. and those of you joining us forhe live feed, thanks making it possible for shakespeare fans to enjoy this special day. shakespeare's influence goes beyond the written word, your arrival was accompanied by the folger consort. ourfolger consort is in-house ensemble. if you are interested in their music, you can find it on itunes and have a look at the wonder of will room that has been created
by itunes. apple has partnered with us so we collect shakespeare material for everyone who wants to celebrate. today, we are here to celebrate the legacy of the world's greatest storyteller. and what better way to do that than pay tribute with stories. people are celebrating shakespeare all over the globe today. and i am willing to bet that every one of you has a story to tell about how they got to know this amazing writer. 400 years ago to this very day, april 23, 1616, william shakespeare died. the world is much larger and much more connected today than it was in 1616, and a lot has happened. but we are still talking to shakespeare. and for many it feels like he is still in the room. if you look around, he
is still in the room. how is it that we still have more to say about this writer? and why is it that when we talk 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 playwright in north america. over 90% of american schoolchildren encounter shakespeare's works or plays, not to mention half of the secondary students on the planet. there are more shakespeare films hollywood than there are in the united states and the u.k. combined in terms of filmmaking. the characters and phrases from shakespeare's writing now appear in dystopian novels, disney cartoons, broadway musicals, hip-hop. and if you do a google search today, you will find shakespeare
on the manner. four centuries after his death , people from around the world are still having a conversation with this glover's son from warwickshire. with shakespeare, lightning seemed to strike many times in one place. he brought so many gifts to his job as a writer and a man of the theater. whether it was his handiness about human emotions or his dazzling use of language, or the unerring ability to find a human pulse in just about every situation. it is important that all 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 storieand plays teach us to empathize with those who are unlike us. and even more important, they teach us about the communities that we might someday become,
for better or for worse. think about the familiar stories we find in shakespeare's plays. young love or the beginning of love in "romeo and juliet" or "much ado about nothing," sibling rivalry in "as you like it," a loss of family in "hamlet," forgiveness in the " winter's tail," self-destruction in "macbeth." standing up for what you believe in in "king lear," or the experience of being treated as an outsider in "othello" or "the merchant of venice." shakespeare speaks to us in 2016 because we still struggle with politics, war, love and family . and in the end, this will always be a struggle to understand ourselves and each other. markets and social media will only teach us so much about what drives us.
to learn more, we need the humanities and the arts to inspire them. what better way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of shakespeare's death then by bringing together people who can talk about the moment they discovered this amazing writer. and now, it is time to hear their stories. 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 from the film adaptation of "the name sake," doctor lawrence cutler on house or maybe you know him as kumar. what you might not know is he shared a special connection to shakespeare from literally the first day he was born. please join me in welcoming kal penn. [applause]
kal: thank you. if there is something everyone knows about actors, we are impulsive and irrational. i am sure psychologists have a term for this but the most common phraseology is actors are crazy. as every report card i ever had to point out to my parents, we are quick to speak before we think. i wanted to be an actor because i loved the power of storytelling from a very young age. in seventh and eighth grade i created characters in my bedroom and entered worlds i never could in real life. but shakespeare, despite my grandfather's love of shakespeare whenever i glanced at the prose i would think shakespeare. it is not even english, shakespeare is overblown and old. no one actually talks like that. ninth-grade came around and three things happened. number one, i noticed in small font on the inside front cover of my english class copy of selected works of william shakespeare that william
shakespeare was born on 23 april, which also happens to be my birthday. i noticed that we share a birthday and the message was sent to the crazy part of my overdramatic inspiring actor mind that this was a sign that not only was i going to be an actor, but i was going to be a working actor. and do you know why? because i shared a birthday with this shakespeare fellow, whoever he was. he was respected and relevant and people were still doing his plays all this time later. number 2, i was only 14, when we read romeo and juliet we were allowed to watch in the classroom. you all know where this is going. [laughter] the franco zeffirelli film adaptation which featured what? nudity. how is this possible, i remember thinking to myself? who is this shakespeare who has allowed the teacher to show us nudity that is totally against the rules. no matter that he was an incredibly talented director. this shakespeare guy got away with letting ninth graders see
someone's bathing suit area in english class and was born in my birthday meant unconditionally i was going to be an actor. and i was going to read shakespeare. around this time, frankly a i actually did read and started to understand and fell in love with shakespeare. i started to understand the beauty of his words and symbolism and universality. i mean, i grew up in new jersey in the early to mid-1990's. and this capulet montague beef is the same as we see in the local news except new jersey local news talked about lots of families. replace verona with hoboken and you have the opening to a mafia movie, two households both alike in dignity in fair hoboken where we lay our scene, even the prologue is rich. so, shakespeare in many ways taught me my first lesson in making exceptions to rules and started to raise more plays. and and some sonnets. and i was totally in love with shakespeare. and we are holding the version of romeo and juliet, and looking for a few drama
students. and looking to be interviewed with claire danes. are you up for that? we loved it. and it was so contemporary and heated and sexy and violent and it excited me even more as endless possibility of storytelling, white or rich or interpret any of this, the mtv interview began. i opened up about my feelings. cameras rolling and opened up about my feelings and in eighth grade i used to feel the words of shakespeare were not decipherable. i remember i thought to myself it is not even english but in 10th grade i came to understand and review shakespeare and i love this movie and i love shakespeare. the mtv special aired. i gathered around with friends in my dorm and my segment gets closer. and i see my face and the interviewer comes on, we are asking inspiring actors what they think of shakespeare, kal penn, how do you feel about change your? i was so excited. i am going to be so eloquent. this is going to be my big break. kal, how do you feel about shakespeare? cut to my face.
i mean, it is not even english. and the camera cuts to someone else. [laughter] shakespeare taught me my first lesson in editing. several more years go by. i am still struggling actor , dissatisfied with typecasting and hollywood's systemic refusal to cast colorblind gender blind roles. and i hear a woman speak on a panel sponsored by the screen actors guild. she was in the only woman of color on a major network tv show. and she said i decided long ago that since hollywood has reasons for not testing me, i was going to decide that race and gender had something to do with it. i was going to be classically trained. after classical training, not breakthrough barriers. but at least make the --ekeepers as is comfortable uncomfortable as possible. and here we are. i have been working actor, and i am speaking at the 400th birthday, i look back and
appreciate the coincidences. so, there is this one little remaining matter of how it all ends. and when shakespeare actually died, i did notice in ninth grade he was born in my birthday and i was born on his. but i never process the idea of what it meant that shakespeare also died on his birthday. we actors are impulsive and irrational. we fear and revere things that aren't there. the fact that sharing a birthday with shakespeare meant i was going to be an actor. surely, i can be selective in ignoring the fact it must also mean that i'm going to die on 23 april. in the meantime if i get through today, i continue to vouch for the ability that he has for the universality of love and joy for another hundred years. and if i lose this, let me be boiled to death in melancholy, thank you. [applause] michael: fantastic.
hope not today, kal penn. happy birthday. we are off to a great start. our next presenter turned in an early love of music into a career that has in turn, empowered peoplecross the country to transform any inmatnate curiosity about the arts and full-fledged careers and lifelong pursuit -- as the 11th chairman of the nea, has awarded nearly $220 million and agency grants. please join me in welcoming jane chu. jane: who is there? those of the first two words in shakespeare's the tragedy of hamlet, the prince of denmark.
the essential question of great literature. who is there? and the world at large, the question of who is there continues to resonate across the ages, from when hamlet was published in 1603 to today. when i read hamlet, i was in high school and was slightly younger than the hamlet character. but like a lot of adolescents, i grappled with answering the question of who is there for myself. and what really hit home to me reading hamlet was that i could identify with how his process coming to terms with his own grief as premature loss, mirrored the loss of my own father at the age of 9. 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 reques for revenge or
anything like that. but facing great loss at a young age hits home with me. hamlet faces a world that tells them to move on, to get over it. even hamlet's own mother tells him to cast the color off. do not forever with your veiled lid seek for thy noble father in the dust, thou knowest is common, all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity. a lot of the conversation in my high school classroom was around how difficult it was for hamlet to make a decision. but for me personally, the play was really about how grief, if it is not properly processed in its own time, can lead to greater challenges. hamlet is not indecisive. he is not depressed. he is grieving. so, i always felt hamlet had been placed in a profoundly unfair position. here he is a young man at the age of barely being a man and the problems he has been handed
by taking the responsibility of fixing those problems, created by the grown-ups around him. so, i kept thinking if only the court had let hamlet take the time he needed to feel bad about his father, maybe the play wouldn't have ended in such a tragic ending. when my father died when i was 9 , i found a lot of solace in music, playing the piano through the lessons i was taking and pretty soon started to realize so many art forms give us powerful ways to express ourselves. ways that transcend the use of linear, every day conversation and found a lot of comfort in hamlet. because i recognized i was not alone. because if shakespeare had written about the process of confronting one's own grief 400
years ago, i was not the only person to ever have these feelings and i surely would be ok. shakespeare let hamlet pass forward. the message about the importance of grief through his dying words to his best friend horatio, and those words help us understand the power to say goodbye to our loved ones. and keeping their stories alive in our hearts. if thou didst ever hold me in my heart, absent the from felicity myn this harsh world, dry breath in pain to tell my story. thank you. [applause] thank you, chairman chu. shakespeare's influence is not limited to the arts and the humanities. to see this in action, you'd look no farther than outerspace. with uranus moons named puck and
and ophelia, our next guest will feel right at home. as nasa's chief scientist stoefen studies the geology of venus, mars, saturn's moon titan and the earth please . please join me in welcoming doctor ellen stoefen. [laughter] ellen: sweet moon, william shakespeare wrote in a midsummer night's dream, i think the for they sunny beams, i thank the moon for shining now so bright. i wonder if shakespeare ever envisioned worlds with many moons, such as the 27 moons of uranus which bear the names of shakespeare's characters. each of these moons it's its own little world from the messy fractures of miranda pulled and twisted by uranus, to the dark and ancient cratered surface of
umbreal. but it is right to pay homage to shakespeare with these points of light in the night sky, to a man who brought light to so many people as he has encapsulated the very nature of what it means to be human. in 2011, i sat in the theater in haymarket, london having the amazing experience of watching ralph fienes play prospero in the tempest. the program noted that the play was first performed for james i in london , in 1611. the thought of that actually made me stop paying attention to the play for a few minutes. for 400 years, in that very city , in theaters, people like me or maybe slightly more royal had sat in theaters hearing those same words laughing at those same lines.
what is past is prologue. we are such stuff as dreams are made of. and so on. i find as much relevance to my life and my modern era in his words, as the people that watched it with james i found in theirs. the ability to bring life into art and make it last for centuries, that is the gift of shakespeare. i find in the timeless appeal and relevance of shakespeare the same thing i actually love about geology, the study of earth, our solar system, our universe. for for billions of years, stars, planets, galaxies are born, they live, they die. we came from stardust and we returned to it. for the study of astrophysics or astrobiology is just that. a
a wonderful, complex story with depth and drama. just the kind that shakespeare told so well. i get frustrated sometimes with scientists who tell the public the facts and leave out the stories behind the science. burying people in jargon and methods. i was an art history minor in college. and i now promote science communication at nasa, helping our scientists and engineers bring not just the detail but the why, but who cares, how did we get here, how does this affect my life and my place on this planet, and what is our future? science not only informs us, it inspires us. the more we learn, the more we crave knowledge and understanding. science feeds our 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 fundamental question are we
alone? did life evolved beyond earth? what is the nature of that life? when we look at the thousands of planets we have identified around other stars we want to know are those planets not just potentially habitable but are they inhabited? that is why we need not just stem. but the humanities, we need shakespeare, we need the arts, we need designed to understand our world and beyond. shakespeare knew how to tell a story of the lives of people on this planet. in science we try to take apart what is behind the story, piece by piece to understand how it works, where it is going, where we are going. but we need to approach these difficult challenges using both sides of our brain, using our head and our hearts. great science is about so much more
than analyzing data. it is about dreaming big, creativity, inspiration and asking the right questions, perseverance and courage, it is about heroes, about all of the things we appreciate about shakespeare. powerful storytelling that stands the test of time. as we work to solve the most pressing questions about our origins and destiny, we must come back to shakespeare to share the big story of science with everyone. thank you. [applause] [applause] michael: thank you. fabulous. thank you, ellen. even after 400 years, -tokespeare remains a got commentator about contemporary fares.
still writes the headlines even if the events that are happening are not yet history. clarence page, his keen insights, local and national affairs, recognized for his work with the pulitzer prize, and network television commentator. please join me in welcoming clarence page. clarence: i am a word them. man. when we celebrate shakespeare they celebrate the power of words, words often describe washington as downright shakespearean and why not? he he wrote the script. that is what the fellow who just introduced me said, michael whitmore. 2012 discussed the president race, almost all of our political rhetoric comes from two books from the 16th and 17th centuries, the king james bible, shakespeare's plays. like
like me, whitmore was impressed by bill clinton's speech, his comedic and sometimes ad-libbed speech at the democratic national convention. brother is back, i said. even president obama sounded like he thought the former president did a better job selling the current president than the current president did. said, somebody emailed me after the speech and said appoint him to be the secretary of explaining stuff. i like that, said obama, and i did too. later, comedian felt seth myers seth myers observed on saturday night live we are ready have a job for that, it is called president. that is true. explaining stuff is a big part of the job. some leaders do it better than others do. the use of shakespearean simplicity and language is something president clinton, president obama and donald trump
hold in common. we cannot get this far in the program without meioning donald trump. at a campaign rally in december in hilton head the republican front runner explain the important of words while describing the state department, quote, i am telling you i used to use the word incompetent. now , i call them stupid. i went to an ivy league school, very highly educated, i know words, i know the best words but there is no better word than stupid, right? wonder michael whitmore was intrigued by the language of politics. in fact, michael took the text of bill clinton's remarks and compared it to obama's >> found that clinton relied almost exclusively on single syllables, action oriented words, words that come from germanic anglo-saxon roots of english. obama more often employed larger and more nuanced latin rooted
words. must be that university of chicago exposure. words the french brought to english with the norman conquest in 1066. today, whitmore said you could say all our political rhetoric comes from those two books. indeed, political speech comes to us in two speeds, i call them social economic tongues. it was it was latin and derivative of romance languages, french, spanish, italian, the king the 's english spoke and the law of bureaucracy and intelligentsia, short action oriented anglo-saxon words with hard consonants, fighting, eating, hiking became the day-to-day language common people talked. i . want to know the difference? listen to rock 'n roll, rock 'n roll not very tolerant of fancy latinate words. exception, as
michael pointed, out was the rolling stones classic i can't get no satisfaction. the anglo-saxon, very effective way but mick jagger ran into a dilemma, what can he get to rhyme with satisfaction? we all we all know the answer, don't we? girly action. that song will be stuck in your head all day. it is only rock 'n roll but i like it. yes i do. andur age of rock 'n roll raucous discourse, all the men and women merely players in a one man in his time plays many parts. indeed, this is true. i found in fact i wonder what would shakespeare say today about government shutdowns, debt ceiling showdowns, obamacare website meltdowns, he wouldn't be surprised. he wrote
he wrote the script. indeed, dealing with kings, queens, aristocrats and others, from the top to the bottom of society, shakespeare understood how history repeats itself in different times and places. it is not hard to understand shakespeare writing the script for today's politics, paul ryan reminding us of hamlet, to be or not to be, that is the question, . republican chair reince priebus, borrowing from 12th night, be not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. president obama could turn to hamlet addressing congressional gop leaders, do you think i am easier to be played on than a pipe? kelly, iump to megyn speak daggers to her but use none./ othello, rude am i in my
speech, little blessed with a soft phase as peace. a good line for supreme court justice merrick garland, senators on capitol hill, i like this place and willingly could waste my time in it. [laughter] or ted cruz, the world has grown so bad that rooms may pray where eagles dare not purch. erch. goo or my good friend clarence thomas, brevity is the soul of wit. or back to donald trump, though this be madness yet there is method in it. well, indeed, whatever happens to our politics today we will be in for more surprises but one thing will be consistent, we know who wrote the script, thank . thank you very much. [applause]
[applause] michael: thank you, sir. thank you, clarence. going to be thinking about those rock 'n roll songs and looking ords.hose latinate w for many of us, our first encounter with shakespeare was in high school. our next presenter is no exception. a senior at bell multicultural high school in washington, d.c., a member of the folger program, vice president of her school's book club and the member of the green team. please join me in welcoming piantini. francisca: good afternoon.
i am speaking about my shakespeare story and how shakespeare is still relevant to today's teenage era, and my shakespeare story began when i was in ninth grade, i arrived in from the dominican republic and the caribbean. i was 11 years old, i was a seventh grader, i didn't know any english, i struggle to make grades in my classes and keeping up with my classmates. i started i started in the library, i read books and more books throughout the years. o years, i learned english and was proficient, more advanced than my other united states students born here. when i became a ninth grader, i started reading macbeth with the book club. the language of shakespeare, i was so intrigued by how the language has changed in so many
years. and how people understand and make something out of it. i i decided i was still going to keep reading shakespeare, that i would be a fan of his. so i kept so i kept reading macbeth. i i came out of my shell and started speaking to other students about it. we were learning together. we were learning those words. we were learning about feelings and what happened in the stories together. when i was in the 10th grade, we did "julius caesar," learning about friendship, everyone was interested in the story and didn't really know who shakespeare was yet. in ninth grade, i applied to the lily mckee fellowship and in the fall of my 11th grade year i was accepted. we read "as you like it," pericles, "hamlet" and the sonnets. we went to multiple plays in the
library, and it was amazing to say the least. we met a lot of experts, we learned a lot about ourselves, how shakespeare was still relevant to today's society. at at school, meanwhile in my 12th grade ap english class we were othello." statements, if your friend told you your girlfriend or boyfriend was being disloyal to you, who would you believe. ? this was answered with multiple opinions from my classmates and they were using elements of their own lives. they didn't know they were talking about shakespeare. when when the teacher said this is happening in "othello" he decided to trust his friend, instead of his lover.
shakespeare is relevant today because he talks about what makes us human by feeling relationships to others, who we choose to believe or to trust, who we rely on, shakespeare still remains relevant in another 400 years because he speaks about humanity. and his story will always be relevant. thank you. [applause] michael: great job. that is our lily mckee fellow. [applause] well, you 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 advisor at the age of 20, he came face-to-face with a host of critical questions poets and writers and philosophers have been struggling with for generations. william adams, better known as breaux adams, spent his career fostering a love of learning and exploration of our humanity. he has served as the president of bucknell university and colby college. he is now the chairman of the national endowment for the humanities. please join me in welcoming breaux adams. [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 in what was then called the great works of western culture program which every student at stanford had to pass through in order to get on
with the baccalaureate degree. and in the course of reading the great works of western culture, we read shakespeare. and for a number of years on the play we read was keen thing lea. remarkable, extraordinary play , which was a pleasure to teach. i was dealing with students between the ages of 18 and 22 , but most were about 18. teaching the play to students who were 18 years old went rather naturally to the place they knew and that had to do with the fact the play is about a family, a deeply dysfunctional family, in particular. most of the conversations and most of the work and most of the significance of the play for them arose from those relationships king lear has with his daughters and the domestic relationships during the play. at the end of my time at stanford, ironically, i was invited to participate in a
seminar funded by the national endowment for the humanities, teaching shakespeare in a summer program to professionals and particularly people from not-for-profit organizations , including a number of chief executives of very important foundations in california and beyond. it was so interesting, the difference in the way these people read at the play. i learned from them that what was in the foreground was not the domestic and familial which i was accustomed to talking about. but the organization, not as a family member but the ceo of an organization. someone whose personality and character is formed over time around his organizational role, his being the king of this kingdom. even though that is the kind of background consideration in much of the play. and it was fascinating to follow them through this play and understand one of the profound dimensions of this drama is the way in which this person cannot
get over the fact that for most of the day, he spends his time giving people orders and telling people what to do. and of course, when he comes back to that domestic context he is at a complete loss how to live with others. and the drama of the play figures centrally around his abandonment of that role and his abandonment of that persona but he can't abandon it. as he so, as he dislodges himself from that context, he finds himself nowhere. the fool says to him principally in one of the first scenes i am a fool, you are nothing. he goes and he goes off into a parade to his daughter's residence and at every turn he is rebuffed. at albany's palace, treats his
people badly, puts the fools in the stock, lear is no longer able to understand the world or cope with the world. this is a this is a play in many ways about what happens to people in great positions of authority when they enter other modes and domains of life. and how difficult it is to lose that sense of self and sense of being given to us by positions of authority. i thought this was interesting reading of the play and it helped me understand what shakespeare was doing but i didn't understand it until years later, when i myself had the opportunity to take on positions of significant responsibility in the presidency of two colleges. and for me, one of the most difficult aspect of that work was coming home at night after being in the office all day, walking in the front door and
sitting down at a dinner table with my wife and two young children. there is that wonderful moment when lear is with his entourage in albany's palace and oswald comes up to him and says something insulting. and he says do you know who i am? and he says yes, you are my lady's father. he goes into a 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 i 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 and it was so illuminating to be to understand how shakespeare illuminates us and gives us perspective on our lives through these wonderful plays that show
us who we are in so many powerful ways. thank you very much. [applause] michael: thank you. thank you. [applause] michael: kia henderson has served as chancellor of the dc .c. public school system since 2010. under her leadership, it has become the fastest improving urban school district in the country. she accomplished this through 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. great to have you here. [applause]
kia: like most high school students, i had a pretty casual relationship with shakespeare growing up. i tolerated plays like "romeo & juliet," "hamlet," and "a midsummer night's dream," i plodded through sonnets vaguely understanding iambic pentameter. then, we read "othello" and i fell in love, the murder, the intrigue, the horrible scoundrel iago, the gorgeous desdemona, the loyal casio. it was the best of great storytelling and great theater. but even more than that, it was the first time i had encountered a main character who was a person of color in such a significant historical work. i was surprised. but more importantly, i was affirmed. the play showed me that people who looked like me were an
important part of the world story. william shakespeare helped to validate my place in history. the play challenge me. i was struck by how despised othello was. for the life of me, i cannot understand what this poor moor had done that deserved all of this treasury. chery. he seemed to only begin the of excelling in a world stacked against people like him. personally and professionally, he was the man. he rose through the ranks of a foreign army, took the top spot and he got the girl. good stuff. but his unlikely success set the stage for a string of jealousy fueled murders but that made me love him even more. othello showed me that
people like me could excel. not only could we excel, in fact, we have been doing it throughout history, for hundreds of years. and in my current role, i have the pleasure and the honor of sharing that important lesson with the 50,000 students of dc .c. public schools. so my students and i, we owe a huge debt to the bard. thank thank you, william shakespeare, for showing us who we could be in the world. [applause] michael: thank you. thank you, kia. a few months ago we began commemorating significant anniversary. we call it the wonder of will, and it involves the first folios, the complete works of shakespeare to 50 states and two territories, exhibitions,
performances, educational outreach, online events, we are . we are so happy we are able to do this and the centerpiece has been an initiative to collect shakespeare stories made out of videos and had them under the #myshakes400. already been moved by the stories we have heard so far. and i wanted to share a couple stories with you including one from joss whedon. of the avengers. or since you are in this room you also know he created a beautiful version of much ado about nothing, filling it in his home in a weekend. let's have a look at these videos that range from selfys to to shot by filmmakers. ♪
>> share your favorite shakespeare quote? oh, god. today, it is and yet i wish but for this thing i have, my bounty is as boundless as the sea, the more i give to thee, the more i have. both are infinite. >> the tempest, winter's tale, they are all marvels. so i sort of reviews to pick a favorite. -- i sort of refuse to pick a favorite. at least favorite. >> that is the dilemma. [speaking foreign language] >> there were moments in my life where i felt like i do not belong, i do not fit in. that does not relate to me. something like shakespeare was so distant to me. i did not think there was anything for me in shakespeare, princes and royals dying.
that does not pertain to me. that is not my story. but when i realized, going back to the human condition, these people fall in love, they get jealous, they have rage, all of those things i get. >> people ask me a lot of my favorite line of shakespeare is, and i think they expect me to bring out some multisyllable word or allusion, it is the climax of the witner'nter's tal. he is a second chance at happiness. >> i like shakespeare's bloody loveus placays, why i titus andronicus. >> i think my favorite is henry v, part i. it was an opportunity for me to make fun of how fat my stepfather was.
which i did every day. but i got to go through all of the bits of his belly. it was a giddy time. >> shakespeare is a phenomenon. >> he made literature something that people could discuss and argue about, and decide -- i have to do this. but even though you may believe that, i still feel that this piece of literature still holds something dear to me. something no one else can understand. i take it a certain way. you take it another way. ♪ [applause] michael: incredible. i hope that you will make your own video. future posted on social media. 400.share it with #myshakes edu to find ways
of making your own video. intellectual vaudeville by the new york times, our next guest is disguised as a comedy team. they are known for taking huge and important stories and reducing them to silly little skits. please join me in welcoming read martin and martin from the reduced shakespeare company. >> thank you. are two thirds of the reduced shakespeare company. we are a theatrical comedy troupe known for making short comedies. that is right. for our first three shows, the complete works of america abridged, and the complete work of god abridged, ran in london
for almost 10 years at the criterion theater. now in time for the anniversary, we have pleaded our tents stage show -- thententh stage show. here is the premise. we were in london. we went back to titus. you should explain what it is. >> we travel in a 12 seat passenger van we call titus "vandronicus." it is awesome. [laughter] down in the hole in the parking lot, they look utterly unimportant. but next to the bones was a bundle of papers. that turned out to be the most important literary discovery of the last 400 years. no, not 50 shades of grey. we discovered william shakespeare's long-lost first play.
we had to cut it down. it suggests 100 hours long. it is about 100 hours on stage. nobody will sit through that. we have cut it down to two hours. one of the scenes we cut indicates that shakespeare was an early influence on the comedy team of abbott and costello. >> oh, what a glorious day it is here in the elizabethan era. the rows, the curtain. art thou bounds, for the theater> ? >> i am, my lord. >> it is my destiny. >> but not the theater? >> what strange malady? i'm going to the rose theater. >> i asked if you are going to
the theater, specifically the named playhouse? ou maintainedth= some foul malevolence? shall miss the curtain. >> why do you tell me this? >> i do not know. >> thank you, very much. [applause] >> one of the other things we realized was that shakespeare was very young when he wrote his play, around 17. he did not know that making richard the third of the house of york such a likable charact could get him beheaded by his patron, queen elizabeth ii, house of tudor.
he is determined to prove a vaudevillian. deceivers ever one thing constant never let them go blind and body i slept like a baby ♪ blind and body hey, my shrink said i was crazy ♪ >> he said you are a hunchback, too. laughed wheny all i said i wanted to be a comedian ♪ >> they are not laughing now. na-na-nah-nee. ♪
>> thank you very much. we have a matinee in about an hour. we have to go. ds of the reduced shakespeare company. thank you very much. [applause] michael: you guys are great. thank you reed and austin. our next colic is a shakespeare collar. ways in describes the which live performances can go wrong. either because of gunpowder of pyrotechnics, for the use of live animals, none of which are allowed in the folder reading room. please join me in welcoming ellen mackaye. [applause]
ellen: when i was a senior in the culminatingor event for senior majors with a proper performance from shakespeare. of a hamletmore type over the course of my acting career, i was very happy to get the part of the princess of france, catherine in the play jenrhenry v. when she asks her lady in waiting to train her in speaking english. over the course of his wwaar plays, a cast a vibrant light that we would not have otherwise seen. at this point, the french have been decimated. and while they are moping and boasting about his horse, catherine sees the writing on the wall. preparingated peace,
herself for the reality that everyone else failed to see coming. i knew full well i could not all get all of this across. namely, speak french. tongue,y on the catherine encounters two words that are homophones, or sound likes for french obscenities. this she responds to with comic aplomb. [speaking foreign language] [applause] she cannot miss the opportunity to repeat this illicit language. [speaking foreign language]
so, my moment came. i performed my part, and the sun set on my six. acting career. campus, thiss person hailed me, and spoke to be. very slowly. he said, you are learning to speak english very well. [applause] [laughter] very well. when will you be journeying back to france? so i caused for a moment, some confusion try to handle this before i decided honesty was doubly the best policy. that is when i said, i am from america. and the look on his face was one of utter and profound and heartrending disappointment. unable to commit to the usual social niceties, he turned and slouched away. so, i recognize the story is a
bit of a cliche. many actors recited these kind of encounters with people who have failed to recognize difference between an actor and the character they perform. for me, it was a profound affect of what shakespeare still has on us. i personally rational person by that he simply did not see or would not allow himself to the all the ways in which i was visibly not a 15th century princess of france. [applause] so, you can imagine the story for a while, by sharing with you today because i kind of see the ways in which the spectator and i are more alike than different. hated dropping, the part of catherine. i loved having her inside my psyche, my constant companion. i have now come to believe that
one of the reasons i went to graduate school to study shakespeare was to keep myself in the company of an imaginary person for as long as i could. what is more, i come to think that is not so much delusional or wishful thinking, but an with one short example. about a year and-a-half ago, i on the conference europe.f the stage in believe me, in fact, it was, in hated phenomenon. how moralists repeated again and again the toe word that catherine uses describe the indecencies that are hoisted on her by the
english tongue and all of a sudden, i had a whole new revelation of catherine how in imagining herself preparing to play the role of a french queen n the english stage, she both raises and sort of mocks the critique that is lofting about in the period. have to say this is what precisely interests me as a plays of he way shakespearean period force us to a period presence of concerning the emptiness of shell or the corrupting force of as an agent don't latch onto the vibrant multidimensional experience of actually going and seeing a play. you, that to tell his struck me not just as evidence for my auditorium, but potentially as a revelation of in the idea lobs in me first place, for if i've made it pick apart to try to
limited and reducted visions of the stage, perhaps the reason is that catherine was with me sweet these sessions of smile and thoughts when i was percolating my purchase. wayaps if i can now see the in which she quotes back the anguage of theaters to attracters, is because i played her, and she primes me to think way. i guess my shakespeare moment is just a moment in the long arc of recognition but no other author is as capable of orchestrating ustained and sustaining relations between his characters and ourselves. [applause] ellen.k you, the dered by many to be play rominent latino
wright in america, octaveio is writer and ning director whose style defies formula. please join me in welcoming solis.o [applause] octavio: he knows the way it the way it goes yanked out by the roots at dawn, bone, that's how long we've got. that's how long it takes to live. enough to love, the roman knows the way it goes, you and die. kiss that's sequinto. only story we've got time to tell. there it goes. there goes my son. he's leaving his romi and ready to die. she's taken all day to die, and there it goes, out toward the aromi bove us, the son of
, and the two lost souls in the parking lot of a hidden valley shopping have who don't feel the fire that romi feels. before he knows. she knows the way in which she's it.t ready to take hus opens my play, a work informed by the ropes and ribbons of a poet who never came to my home town el paso, a writer who didn't know what a mexican was, but somehow managed to leave him and the entire world a legacy of the most strung l words ever together. growing up on the border in spanish, thee only household tongue of my parents, brothers and sisters, but as school, i went to quickly learned another language. learned english quickly and with such eagerness, it felt like there was room in my mouth in the world.rds as i got older, another teacher,
elevision, taught me even more words through the dizzying array cartoons, ound in variety shows, comedies, dramas, and d cop still, there was the home language of the street, in our kitchen, to remind us of who we were and where we came from. second year of high school, a stupendous thing happened. i got cast in a production of "a midsummer night's dream." and suddenly, i knew there was yet a learn.anguage to a language of metaphor. nd before i learned how to pronounce the word "shakespeare" the waves of lyricism and rhyme and alliteration. i was confounded by the double meanings in words, but the music of the verse, the turns, the phrase, and rash colloquialisms, and as i
bottom, the role of comic lexicon of nonsense, streamed out magic of my new-fashioned mouth and an not an ass of me, but artist! because this is the moment i write like this man. because this man had made a expressed my world. i wanted to create my own language for my own works, but that took more time than i thought. i played senior year in college and all i could do was marvel at how "sense and sensibility" were so beautifully fused so that what was expressed on stage was not thought nor feeling, but wonderous human marriage of the two. complete.e and a vile man with such heavenly
language and greets the mouths of peasants and soldiers with uncommon poetry. these were mysteries that this mexican kid just couldn't work me , but shakespeare taught how. he taught me humanist universe. poet.ne has the soul of a a king can be crude and a drudge speak with angels. ut he also taught me as his king and drudge spoke to our world, our kings and drudges must speak to his. i turned to the along that coarsed through my childhood, spanish to make spang lage. street come f my with a spanish drawl and everyone speaks with a spanish accident. [laughter] i found my way into the city and let the idiom find its way into hang sequinto.
again, my mind was big enough ideas and metaphors than i ever thought possible. play, a young girl must hoose between her father and the brevity of life. arcexperience in the single of the sun because she wants to die. the metaphor is hers to make, but she is a metaphor too for a exican kid in el paso, texas, learned a language written years ago.nius 400 [applause] octavio. you, thank you.
english of the department at saint auburn school for boys at washington d.c. is contributed to a teaching resource called free and offer f "the lover's voice" and a book of poem. the broken life joe. she was a member here at the teaching institute in folger in 1984 and has been contributed to has been rk that happening here as they excel in folger.ork at the lease join me in welcoming denesei. donna: my first experience in shakespeare is one that happened at 13 and i happened to watch a japanese nd it was characters and english subtitles.
later after a out experience, bing and that was kerasol. satisfying for me because as an african-american, i felt there was so much growing unjust, and here was divine justice and boy, was it satisfying. but my next deep experience with graduatere happened in school. my father was patient, well educated. education was the top. when i was about to graduate, he march.to see me however, there had been a procedural glitch in the final ceremony and i learned i was going to have to wait another semester in order to actually graduate. he was furious. blamed me. he said once again, you get things wrong. you never get things right.
even though it wasn't my fault. back to the him airport, he'd 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, what have you ever helped us. you let my mother down, let my father down. you let me down. it was one of those family wilds that i think we all can recognize. he's yelling in french and creole. i'm yelling in english. i drop him at the airport, and mmediately went to my professor's house. she was working in her garden, pulling up tomatoes, pulling out lettuce andlling up things and i went into a wail against my father. she istened carefully, and stopped and said, your father gave you everything you need. you life. he gave you good brains. and he gave you good looks.
that's stopped me for a minute. [laughter] verything else, you can get on your own. it wasn't good enough. criticized him. and finally she turned to me, nd she said, the branch that attacks the tree will itself die. what? speak english. branch that attacks the tree will itself die. venice.hant of read it. think about it. thought, iately stopped in my tracks, the merchant of venice. she said this was a play where shakespeare was prophet. so began our discussion. in a world that confuses the material with the spiritual, every human relationship is tainted. so a father said to the prize, , the lottery friends base their relations on orrowing and lending money,
christians engaged in a slave trade condemn a jew for desiring flesh, and porsha, states bigotry against the morocco and later gives a speech about mercy, of which she has none. when all human flesh has a price, a material worth, possible.s for a minute, boy, did that stop me in my tracks. my gan to understand father's need to see me walk as confusion of spiritual with material. i was going to get my degree. to see me walk. and i was guilty too. so at that point, i began to see he relevance of shakespeare in real life, and that's the relevance that i love to bring om, 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 getting an education. as soon as they're into college it's, which college? gets engaged and they say, ooh, i've found the love of life, i've got the ring, and we want to see the ring. the size of the ring. or how about this, at graduation, when everyone's appy and celebrating, the movement through education, and other and sayeach what'd you get? what'd you get for graduation? 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] donna: so that's what i think we
in which this play, "the merchant of venice" apropros to our time, material, on merk an human ounds and on grounds. to me, i thank my teacher more than taught me the merchant of venice. and thank you, shakespeare. [applause] >> thank you, donna. served asresenter has a justice department lawyer as a watergate counsel, she years at the y harvard law school and kennedy school of government. owever, you're probably more familiar with him as associate
justice of the united states supreme court. justice steven briar has written articles, and including active liberty, making our democracy work, a judge's iew, and the court and the world. lease join me in welcoming justice steven briar. [applause] >> thank you for inviting me here. i've learned so much already. it never stops. branch that , the turns on the tree will soon die. i'm going to tell that to my children. [laughter] i think, it never stops. he ink about shakespeare, said he knows every person, every kind of person, either what they think, how they feel, how they express themselves, and takes those characteristics
and shares the feelings and thoughts and actions better than they can do it themselves and does it all in poetry. in. i take it i often get asked usually by law students.-- not law undergraduates. it's fun to me i get to talk to undergraduates. lawyers.want to be there they are, some of them have to. they want to be lawyers and say what should i study as an undergraduate? they were doing what you were just saying here, how do we get up on this ladder here. and i said well,, you know, you on't have to study something relating to law. i can't tell you what to study, but i'll tell you one thing, you lead.one life to one. nd you'll know that life, and you'll know your friend, you'll know your family, but that's few. very and if you go into humanities for those four short years, if other languages, if you read a few books, you some lives that
aren't your own. but they're out there. every kind of person. so i recommendthat. in spades to ack help me. just a few weeks ago, we heard bout a fellow -- i mean it's been playing. and a fellow, what is yonder? is there really such a person? i mean, he is a real serious rat. and could there be a person like that in and i happened to see a classic french movie on it on ann -- no, i saw airplane. dogs." children of the fabulous movie. great movie. here's a character in it, a real criminal called lawson. he is a real ego maniac. he is a rotten person but he has opinion of himself, very high. nd he cares about nobody else, no emotional reaction to anybody else. it's him, the greatest in the
the only person that 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 aristocratthere's an who did look down on him. calmlygoes and sits down on the shelf, holds the board, and waits for the police to come. what has he proved, that he's the greatest person in the world. to whom? himself. now ask yourself, and i ask myself, why at the end of othello, when they say, what did you do to this man? and why?you killed him no answer. he had proved it to himself. someone insults him. he's got to prove he's the greatest person in the world. it.t's one way of looking at you see, shakespeare told me there are such people, and it
helps explain the play, at least to me. and in fact, if you see one of the ay", greatest movies in the world, what does it make me think of? rosalyn andthink of orlando where she says, hey, you've going to do this until you get it right. right? isn't that right? 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, benedict, are.here they so all over the place, all over the world, i tell the high school students, the college students, the law student, with life, you better understand a few others and you better understand what this world is like, and if you have desire, and i surely hope you do, you can do worse than shakespeare.illiam [applause] sir.ank you,
thank you, justice breyer. clay is a 25-year veteran of the stage, film and television. most recently, she played in folger's latest production of a midsummer night's team. of the duke faculty ellington school of arts. she is a play wright committed stories of unsung women of color in history. please join me in welcoming caroline clay. >> good morning, and thank you. it is beyond an honor to be here this morning. and aative washingtonian, proud product of the d.c. public childhood was my punctuated with field trips, many of which happened right here at this building at the
folger theater right next door. t was here that i first saw african-american actress dorn.hell stewart an amazing artist, a graduate of the yale school of drama and most recently the chairman of he school of theater at university of texas austin campus. i saw her play to tanya, 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 ellington school of the arts in the d.c.'s school's chancellor, it cannot be understated. it cannot be underestimated the power of black and brown children seeing themselves exemplified and celebrated by theatrical practitioners, making manifest the message: shakespeare is for everyone. it's easy for "diversity" and
inclusion" to ring hollow when used for grant speak, authors, must lean theaters forward into communities and truly engage, embrace the of rsections of race, gender, of radicalism, of culture. one of dorn's greatest roles here at the folger was the complex and colorful lady macbeth. fran dorn, thank you for allowing me to be part of that legacy. why have you left the chamber? it drunk wherein you dressed yourself? has it slept since? what did so freely, from this , me, such i account by love
same ou feared to be the in thine own act and valor. the ornament of life, like the poor cat in the addage. you would st do it, be the man. yet you would make boeing. they have made themselves and their fitness now does make you. suck and know how babe it is to love the that milks me. would, while i was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple and its boneless gums i had its brains out how done such as you. courage to the sticking play and will not fail.
when i with wine and so convinced, that memory, the fewr of the range will be a and the receipt of reason a limb beck only, what cannot you and i perform upon the unguarded duncan, and what not put upon offices, who shall great e guilt of our quell? thank you. . pplause] >> thank you, caroline. thank you. i'd like to thank, again, all of our presenters. [applause]
michael: thank you. to ourto them and thanks generous supporters, booktv and endowmentthe national for the humanities, the national endowment for the arts, the british council, google.org, vincent and secret surf, metropolitan group, apple and all of our cohosts across the country, thank you for elebrating 400 years of shakespeare. [applause] now it's your turn. the celebration isn't complete has been told.y folger.edu, sit download a tudor rose or a a friend, er, grab grab an iphone, and tell your shakespeare story. media under social #myshakes400.
you will be in terrific company. hakespeare gave us the stories and the poetry that let us explore who we are, and more importantly, who we might some day become. as we look out onto the horizon of the 21st century, we see what our yet tohas called be perfected future. anniversary of shakespeare's death, we celebrate shakespeare's staying as a play poet, wright, and as a cultural force. celebrate the infinite adaptability of his works, and the fact that they sustain a conversation with a languages se set of and cultural forms. that conversation continues of what we, every one of it. bring to shakespeare belongs to all of us. passport, without a
he stands at the edge of a vast orld of imagination, of history, and of the mystery of the human heart. we should continue to explore all three. you.k [applause] let's give another round of applause to our amazing presenters! . [applause] thank you. thank you. you know, we're a building that is filled with rare books and manuscripts and the record of oday will probably be on a digital media that will need to survive for a century. we'll have to figure out how to
do that. but i hope that in 2116, when folks are, again, in this room and thinking about what we said then, that they'll look at today and say, that was a fellowship congregation of people who were truly part of an enduring and powerful legacy that we can celebrate again and again. few moments, we're going to be opening up the phones for a national call-in discussion here with booktv's peter slenn. thank you for joining us at the folger shakespeare library for he wonder of will, and learn more about how you can participate in the 400 at folger.edu. please join me in welcoming peter slenn. [applause] eter: and as michael whitmore just said, it is your turn. we want to hear from you.
you live in the 8201.rn central time zone, in the mountain and pacific time zone, for anyone in the audience, mikes are set up as well and will be taking questions. michael whitmore, the director of the folger shakespeare mackay of ellen indiana university will be joining us up here to answer all your questions. michael whitmore, we've spent the last hour and-a-half hearing nice things about william shakespeare. what's the -- michael: are you going to ask me hard question? peter: what's the criticism? >>: what's the criticism of why he's no good? michael: he used a lot of words hard time stopping himself on a metaphor ask image he loved.
greyhound going after a rabbit. to go. he had would he have blotted a few of exist.ords, he couldn't like cleopatra knows, once he saw it, he couldn't resist. they say that about his metap r metaphors and analogies. that had to pick one, would be it. peter: ellen mackay, those of tried -- those tried ho have tried and to access shakespeare. ellen: there are many ways to come into shakespeare. you're not alone if you find a high hurdle there, and remediations of shakespeare, shakespeare in music, shakespeare in comic books, shakespeare in memes is a erfectly suitable and tireless way of gaining access to him. there is no reason shakespeare has to be tied to high culture or arcane practices of
interpretation. michael: when we think about what it must have felt lick to see medieval history presented o people in england, it's 200-year old history they were seeing in london. verse re hearing it in form called iambic pen tam genre called professional theater. that's probably -- think about what's happening now in new york when americans are singing their colonial history in ented in a new art form an idiom of hip hop and being reintroduced to their history, of howch a great example contemporary forms can teach us, what it must have been like and why that tradition of story telling with new daptations and new language just keeps going. michael: let's. peter: let's begin with a call from king george, virginia. im, you're on booktv at the folger library. caller: thank you. appreciate the program and i appreciate the attempt to universalize. it's too raid that
much identity politics in the this tations given afternoon and not enough on the universal quality. i think the supreme court best wheneyer said it he talked about universal and some of hello, the other characters in the p y play, and less about what were identity politics. o please emphasize universal qualities and less on the articular identities of the resent ers and of the characters that were described. peter: michael whitmore. michael: jim, your point is that speak to everybody and when we take these plays up and make them our own, we bring
it. own perspective to and i appreciate what you're saying because i do think shakespeare is a universal writer and when we encounter his stories, we feel like shakespeare's describing us, and so the fact that so many people have brought their own lives and, yeah, their own particular erspective to shakespeare, shows us just what a universal writer he really is. and so, you know, i hope everyone is watching the show today leaves feeling that shakespeare can speak to them, can speak for them, but that also, they can speak shakespeare's words in the way that they want. another jimer call, in ohio. go ahead, jim. caller: good afternoon. also very much enjoyed the tour of the folger library that you did with peter while back. i'm 38 years a teacher of science and math. but as an undergrad, i was one of those rare students who humanities along with the sciences, and i had three
eare of shakesp simultaneously with three physics, which is going to get to my question in a second. vatford i got to visit upon avon, picked up a couple of quickly.at i'll commend "every man's companion to british re", a publication. and a complete dictionary of quotations, another dent publication by d.c. browning. great to add to the folger volumes that you publish on someone's shelf. emphasis n, with the on modern technologies and health sciences and other stoma stem-focused curricula in our levels,n systems at all do you think enough students will continue to study shees shakespeare to maintain some familiarity and that it may be so offered as dedicated courses level as opposed to just kind of inserting
shakespeare in a survey course? thank you. peter: let's direct that to our shakespeare scholar and teacher, ellen mackay of indiana university. ellen: sure. for thehave great hopes endurance of shakespeare. he's made it thus far. impressive. i have hopes he'll continue for another 400 years. the rationale or the push behind the hope i guess is in many an icula where there's been openness, a larger freedom to to a e texts that speak variety of populations and come from a variety of places of origin. in the midst of those curricular revisions, shakespeare is still involved. we can offer as many shakespeare my ions as i would like in department, and many of us see shakespeare is an opportunity really to quicken the appetite for humanity's oriented thinking of all shapes and forms. he kespeare really -- encompasses all as he feels to
us that he speaks to everything, surely that's an advantage we can draw out to make a case for humanities and the necessity of its continuance. things ell, one of the folger library did here was ask high school students to send in tweets, happy birthday to william shakespeare and orest in edgewood high school softy onsin says, thou boil brain, tinker blossom. [laughter] another call, jane in weatherford, texas. hi, jane. caller: hello. thank you, c-span, for this wonderful program. i attended college for the first time if my life at the age of 65 nd though i had a familiarity with the plays of romeo & macbeth, and so on, it wasn't until i enrolled in able r that i was really to understand the words of shakespeare.
some of the ed in plays even at that age, and performances, my younger brother gave me a copy works of shakespeare, which the plays. and i have to say, during katrina, i lost that book, and i day.l feel that loss every thank you. peter: oh, that's a tough one. we run a research library with one of the collections of english books in the world, even european books, and we had a lot of books from this period, but lost.are so many that are and it reminds me of his prospero says at the end of "the tempest", i'm going to drown my book. for those of us who love books and wish we had more plays by hakespeare, we know that he wrote at least two that they exist but we don't have them.
feeling that you could actually lose a book and once it's gone, is so heartbreaking. feeling hat you're about your own book is the way in the past books and that's why libraries are so important because we need to ave these stories and we need to have other people reading them in the long run. peter: from great falls michigan. happy birthday, shakespeare. g many ou for inspirin authors and actors around the world, especially in small towns. what does she mean by that, ellen. ellen: shakespeare is one of the playwrights nging who was routinely produced in so, you ater companies know, the kind of everyday small-time fair, neal simon lays, were often enhanced with plays i think that would normal lebe considered difficult, right, they're challenging for
most incredibly dynamic talent that we have. despite the fact those of us who are english language speakers often, although not exclusively, but for many of us, our theatrical tradition requires us that we include shakespeare in the push ourselveswe to create meaning out of work that i think are incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. i think the last speaker really gave voice to the satisfaction of that process. peter: and michael whitmore, i think it was the young lady in high school who said during the rogram that shakespeare is accessible today because he speaks to us today. think his voice is one we remember. the language is 400 years old, so there are some of those words remember.o longer but even if you only understand that cent of those words, 20 percent is fantastic.
and the story they wrap around one that you can understand whether you're in boise or miami or in boston or in tempe. it's the stories that get us into all of that beautiful language. so i think the stories are on his side, and that's how we get those p when it comes to really demanding passages and words. peter: and if anyone here in the folger reading room would like question, we have a mike in front. colorado.luride, go ahead. caller: hi. thank you for taking my call and i'm really enjoying your show. see it on his to birthday and the date of his passing too. i'm calling is i feel very strongly about the value of what you're doing here, presenting shakespeare to as as you can udience in a way that makes him seem as accessible as he can be.
and i'm wondering why we don't ave a 24-hour station, television station, that does and gives us re, places various shakespeare has been studied and performed and so on and so inspired in so many different ways. peter: i think you're talking c-span 3. michael: or american history. because nusual for us, we do nonfiction on book tv. so this is kind of a special us.asion for but ellen mackay, how accessible is william shakespeare's work today, and where would you telluride, n in colorado, go it. ellen: look on youtube. if you're interested in the it, a global range, but also the highly professional to
amateur, youtube is a fantastic place to see shakespeare performed and i local lso say your library gives you an incredible array of versions of shakespeare that can be approached by four-year-olds and that can be approached by those of us who have been life-long enthusiasts. a plug for l put in live theater. it is a living mbodied art form and theater was the first dynamicar form we have. it's really something to be a part of. and so there are so many ways to do it. do it. point is to and i think if we need to come up with a special play list on cureates every hour a day, that is a doable to g but i'm glad you want see more. peter: we have a gentleman at the mike. audience: hello, i am from
bermuda. the tempest is my favorite play, bermuda.rn in i have a question. was prospero shakespeare? llen: that's a great question and the play is often read as shakespeare's allegorical farewell to his art and crosses his relation etween his world making and feelcing environments that making us han real, believe so strongly in his characters and world. the last le, this is play that shakespeare wrote, so there's a tendency i think to in the auto o far bio graphical, but at the same ime, i kind of love that
tendency, because it demonstrates how strongly we are speaking to how shakespeare thought about his own profession of his art. peter: anything to add to that? michael: i think that's exactly right. it is tough to think about him saying goodbye to the stage but he must have said goodbye every time he finished a play, and if he stood up and was the actor father, playing hamlet's ghost. you can imagine as he's writing does writeors and he for specific actors in his company, that all the time, of his are is thinking character as himself, as someone else. he must have been really, really good at pretending that he he was. o peter: el dorado high school in texas. happy birthday. more than hamlet's uncle.loves his
we have a caller. book tv. you're on malcolm, are you with us? ou know what, let's go on to robert in portland, oregon. robert. we're listening. went : in high school, i on shakespeare and julius caesar. voice. i'd lost my always heard it happened to people. i was real young. it was a surprise to me and my poor teacher had to endure that. but i became a fan of shakespeare after that. i loved his writings, and i also and i love groups such as the beatles. so i was just kind of curious, what kind of influence do you music, today's modern any ties with shakespeare in our modern music today. thank you.
peter: great question. who wants to start. ellen: i have to say, in the death, the lines good night, sweet prince, and twice of angels sing me to thy floating through my head, and hamlet, i guess that's sort of going the wrong way, but it speaks maybe to the great which, you know, reators of art seem somehow always to be enmeshed with each other, probably because they're great because they're asking profound, hat are so and that provokes something so deep in us. so maybe they travel in more circles that way. michael: it's such a big question. there's a lot of music that shakespeare himself wrote. lyrics to y wrote songs, so those have inspired musical performances. i was thinking the sound track
juliet, it was a big part of the film. it was the look, the actors, and fantastic was this sound track, really dynamic and immersed in the emotions of that play. and radiohead did exit music for a film, which was the walking ut music, which is one of the best songs they wrote. i'll tell you another wob, -- another one, an indy band playing their first concert in deluth, minnesota. it to some laying shakespeare early silent films. he direct and indirect ways a writer can create scenes and stories and beautiful phrases, gets picked up by other people who want to make a big story. ion and tell a peter: kelsy from alabama, may you be treasured as america's favorite playwright. have we co-opted shakespeare on
there? michael: i think shakespeare was born in england, but america adopted him and i think returned him to the world as a global citizen. i think there is something about the way in which in an open-hearted way, americans took his is writer, took on voice, that freed him up to become something that he never could have been if he'd remained on those shores, and to go back beatles, you know, these two countries have been trading things. america went left to the u.k. and it came back with the beatles. cultures do hat 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 writer, he's a south african writer. chinese, a r in filipino writer. this is the
way great art works. it travels. mcnabb andi am simon father, thank you very much for the program. i want to ask you, because it's in many ways we don't know more about shakespeare's life and his details. in and d to figure that our tendency to look at his plays and assume they're bio autobio graphical, whereas we don't know if they they weren't. low i'm interested in the history of on time, what was going with the religious conversion and the reformation, and england catholic.ot i would like to hear your opinions on the sense of how you think that religion may have played into shakespeare who in the midt of that, had catholic relatives, was in protestant london and any knowledge or insight you have on
that? thank you. ellen: that's a fantastic scholarly topic, and not to say cliche thing, but the force of great and fabulous protracted debate, i think it's impossible to see shakespeare doing things like staging witches and not think that he is thinking about how the religion -- the shift in religion and the period used things like exorcism and demonism, and the materiality of life.on in everyday i think, you know, great whatars have written about it means to shift it a tradition that gets rid of the practices and a lot of ways in which people can make contact withtimate the design. so some scholars have said, the the theater takes up space of the church at a moment in which catholicism in all of and deeply personally and culturally held
longer ns are no available. but people have also said, you know, shakespeare makes us feel that way about the theater secretly catholic, and he can't help but spark that atholic feeling within his plays. i don't think we'll know the answer to those questions. those are wonderful questions. amazing to think that we still care about the reformation in part because shakespeare's such a vivid presence within it. eter: next call for our two guests, ellen mackay of indiana university and michael whitmore, director of the folger shakers library here in washington. is megan from new york. shakespeare library here in washington. is megan from new york. meg, you're on booktv. for that.e let's try gary in port york. gton, new caller: yes. i was going to ask about catholic, and ing
but the gentleman asked the question so i want to ask -- christopher marley was the argue. i think there's no validity, but i would like the conspiracy theory of shakespeare debunked. michael: there have been many candidates since the 19th as ury have been selected the secret author of the plays. we have no reason to doubt that he was anyone but the man from stratford, the son of a glover, london, who learned this fabulous craft of being in the theater, who succeeded and retired.k and but i think the interest in shakespeare and our fascination abilities and his outside influence has led us to ask, how could anyone be capable of creating that kind of legacy?
even francis bacon, another educated, or candidate suggested queen elizabeth i. what level of education would it take to get you to the point where your stories are repeated years later? i think it's very, very tough to that.in 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 reat art is that it defies the basic experiences of the writer and it reaches far out beyond that. i would say as the director of the largest shakespeare collection in the world, we don't swear people to allegiance to one candidate or another and frankly, the search for the other writer has led to many interesting discoveries. interesting out 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. just say, one i andy way of debunking that one is just to point out that marlo is one of the few people of the period about whom we know had a tremendous spot, including the bar brawl, in a unless he was writing the pays and storing them in a box. therefore, his district attorneying seems unlikely. peter: high school number 223 in the bronx. i wanted to say happy birthday. i really enjoyed twelfth knight. lipscomb academy in tennessee. shakespeare.ay, i love your work.
greenbook, michigan. william, go ahead. caller: first of all, mr. whitmore on a wonderful celebration of the 400th anniversary of william shakespeare. i too have a question on the issue.ty, personally, i kind of believe devere, are was edward the 17th ruler of oxford, as you've learned. many famous people, including green, chaplain, graham sig mond freud, mark twain and others, have also raised issues regarding shakespeare's true identity. and given the fact that bartlet's quotations, for quotations more than shakespeare than from the is james bible, it -- regardless of who william been, peare might have bacon, devere, francis
christopher marleau, you make the list up, could it possibly have been the work of one man only, and if it were another look at the we body of his work, the book, as ben johnson said,
rather than the picture, would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? by any otherspeare name read -- peter: all right, william, i think we've got the point. mr. whitmore. michael: i think we actually know the names of his collaborators. we now believe he collaborated on up to 30% of his plays. thomas middleton, george wilkins, fletcher. least three playwrights who he worked with, and it was a ollaborative art form in the late 16th and early 17th century. who's really good at opening scenes? let's get fletcher over here. and so the more we learn about how theater works, the more we realize that some parts of these
to s that we credit shakespeare were cowritten. similarly, shakespeare may have plays parts of other written by, for example, anthony there sir thomas moore, is a page which really looks like
it's by shakespeare. shakespeare's in handwriting. but i think your question is a really good one. person have such reach? the answer, partly, is that to being a ition fantastically talented person -- was part of a an aborative art form in urban environment that was contact with ng trade and other cultures, so all coming online, of that, including printing, get means that it's words 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 thathat alongside the fact he probably was a remarkable
person. peter: we have somebody here in the audience. audience: hello, i am eva-mcnabb. i am his daughter. i am very pleased and honored to be here at the folger. daughter, i like as also thinking about how we assume things are autobio graphical, or assume that perhaps -- or thinking about is this really him, are there other him.e working with and in your research and study of shakespeare, that assumptions that you've had about shakespeare has been debunked or you found out something about shakespeare that you wouldn't have expected to find out? lovely question. actually thought one of the presentations was great on the front, in the sense that -- you know, i don't have a standing reading of a play.
feel my age and mortality more tightly gripping to thatosition relative plan leers a fantastic example, i will ft, right, and come to believe that shakespeare interested much more in a different character or a subplot than ior had thought. nd it's a joy to be able to reencounter his work. it's a great privilege and joy ofmy life that i get to sort experience this myriad of beliefs about him. of the great things about knowing little about him literary interpretation is something that we erect an nd a play with always understanding that, you know, it's contention. it's variable. we'll stack things on, take things off, and try out new things, and that's part of the beauty in the work in the same way that performed adaptations are rich and wonderful. maybe they don't bring across everything that we thought was
valuable in the play, but they'll hop on something we haven't seen before. criticism works the same way. it's highly variable. time, d say yes, all the my conviction about where shakespeare's heart is in a sonnet will given shift over time. eter: let's see if you can source this quote from high school, even though some might think you're a luxurious mountain goat, you're still my bro. birthday. that's fletcher. peter: the piece prince charles read to elizabeth yesterday from henry viii was actually a piece from fletcher. philip is in richmond, california. philip. well, to answer one of your questions to follow up, one
i've discovered, is that now we can fully search about 0,000 of the books that were printed between 1473 and 1700, i now know that shakespeare did invent 1700 words. i think what we will learn over is going to number come way, way down. lexicographers in the dictionary went to the book they'd read when who used it o say first. shakespeare borrowed things all the time. he e's no bad thing that likes to borrow. that's what makes him a great writer. i'll use this. peter: ellen mackay, three words attributed to william shakespeare. ellen: oh, my gosh. all right, let me think. he has a lot of negation.
unhaveled. from hamlet. ellen: i'm trying to think. encountered them in the past. michael: this is like a ph.d. qualifier. ellen: i know. stump the professor. michael: so the answers are all by the way. incarnadine used as a verb in beth is definitely shakespeare. it's also said he created words marketing.m, lonely used in this particular sense. if shakespeare invented the modern meaning of lonely, my heart breaks. i think that's amazing. harmonious hrase charmingli, which i just love in which really is a strange and tactical construction and paralleled in speech, is to me very indicative of the kind of nventiveness, what i like best about shakespeare. already pulling from language
messing with him. peter: another tweet sent to the folger library. happy birthday, you swag master of literature. [laughter] ward is in sacramento, california. we are listening. you are on booktv. go ahead caller: thank you. shakespeare is a very personal thing for me. i went through the normal high school education which was errible about it ask turned me off completely, but my wife insisted i go up with her to the oregon shakespeare festival in weland, oregon, one year and started sitting through henry vi i found pretty dreadful until a character named o came out.m any in olitics and vill it. i said i'd like to see more of
that guy. a whole aid, there's play about him. and i said we've got to come back next year. veryier since 1982, our family has had an annual visit up there. i've got another daughter in erdue and every year, the one absolute thing is everybody flies back in august and we drive up to ash land for a week. when i was involved in a case with the supreme court, we walked up to the folger the ight after the argument to watch a hilarious thing about twelfth night. two days, on facebook, i keep posting quotes randomly speare i had collected, last night, the ulogy for shakespeare's death, i think is a better eulogy than the one on his grave stone. but anyway, since you're asking a lot of trivia questions, i had put to the tale because this is one we debate. and : let me interrupt you say we perform shakespeare's lays here in the first
elizabethan theater in north america throughout the year except for the summer months so when you're thinking about a road trip, you should come to washington and see the first folio and you should come see shakespeare perform in this beautiful tudor here. caller: i'm in d.c. and i go to visit and i ery highly recommend it. and i try to see a show if it's there. larly remembered seeing the twelfth night because we were exhausted from a supreme ourt argument and that was our way of getting over the exhaustion. let me ask you this. two things. which play is most performed, which of the third are hamlet? i've heard different theorys, lines, hamlet e or richard iii. hamlet has the largest number of lines. ellen: hamlet has more lines in i think it's but mad margaret who has the most sequence of plays. michael: i would bet for the most performed it's richard iii.
hamlet is a long play. it's a demanding play. you need a fabulous actor to and handle all those lines. internet that the will answer this question for us. ellen: maybe not correctly. [laughter] peter: ellen, what's your advice who gh school teachers teach shakespeare. ellen: first of all, i respect high school teachers who teach shakespeare a tremendous amount. i want to send out my praise to them because once they come to me, they're already interested shakespeare and it's because of the great work teachers are doing across this country. i would say my advice to high school teachers is as much as is possible, and not every school this way, to in come at dents to shakespeare from any level, any perspective, from any side, to play.p any piece of the because those kinds of
from real that come grounded curiosity are really the best way to learn, to find a access, and i think in the past, prior ages in which it was, but that's the sort of curated shakespeare and trying o keep some of the softy bits out of children's ears, that doesn't work, right? i think understanding shakespeare as someone who tries to address a full range of human experience, is really crucial in bringing children and high school students and middle s and junior high students into a really robust and pleasurable experience with the plays. teacher at wild lake high school in maryland. happy birthday, shakespeare. my life and my classroom would not be the same without you. catherine is in albuquerque. hi, catherine. caller: oh, hello. this has been a most delightful experience. i had trepidations about today,
ut i will tell you, it is organic and will would have oved it, and i have discovered an international national treasure in this michael whitmore, which was a delight. a question for dr. mackay. peter: before you ask that question, why did you have trepidation about today? caller: well, i am a kind of spoil child of a certain eric -- era, where i had machi.sors like professor you just don't have conversations like this regularly, and the children of today have been short changed in literature, their all the fun that whitmore has had with all the things he's wonderful has this great mind, and we don't encourage children to have that
kind of mind. we don't have literature at their disposal. say, -- say -- michael: i'm sorry. junior high and high school teachers are the gate way to the arts and the humanities. if you arrive in college and you have a great professor, there's something that happened before that. realize t the folger that, which is why we want every child who has an experience with 18, espeare before they're to have a fantastic experience ith that writer because those doors are going to open, and i think that's where you get great professors like ellen, the stage. ho are on the that's the place. so we really love those teachers. ask your ahead and questi question. caller: michael, i wanted to thespianittle bit of a machi alled whitmore thespians as a celebration.
think of a better gift than to have a bunch of thespians. we can in a place develop them because we have no competition. thespians little group. but my question was about the bible and the translations. do you feel that shakespeare was a great listener? yes.n: oh, i mean, i think that's an easy one. i think absolutely. michael said, that you know, he was pulling out of urgence of kind of a, religious omen change, scientific revolution, he rapid promulgation of prince. and, of course, in this period, the auditory experience is extraordinarily pronounced. if you're walking through the city of london, you'll be pulpits where en people are sermonizing you. so your attention will be drawn
o words coming from all directions and all walks of life and i think that's what we see plays,hly imbedded in the right, the range of characters, the range of social positions that they occupy, perfectly replicates the life of the atital, the life of england, the time he happened to be alive. peter: hillary, valley high high school, alabama. shakespeare, hit me up on twitter because it's your you a y and i'm throwing party. angus, i my name is am a huge speakers fan. abouthakespeare fan. the modern about translation of shakespeare into kind of glish, i was torn because i thought maybe it gives it a step up or some sort of accessibility to shakespeare. but then i'm also thinking it's bout because then does it take away the magic, the beauty, and
mystery of coming to shakespeare and learning more it t it as you come back to throughout your life. so i wanted to know what your do you have to be politically agnostic about it? 'm just wondering what you think about it. michael: well, i think if it turns out to be great art, and it, that's fantastic. i think shakespeare is a writer who launched 1,000 ships and if that's terrific. but i also think that we don't ave to -- we probably don't have to defend shakespeare as a great writer. , because he is so successful. to see these plays and you see something new, grasped some ou've part of the plot that you never got before, it's going to be ard to keep you away from the original. and so i always go with the fact
that we keep coming back to this writer. and we would certainly want to collect the scripts from this initiative in oregon because we're the library of record for shakespeare, and we want to know about that whole legacy. but i think we don't have to handicap shakespeare at all. i think he'll do just fine. ellen mackay.ord, llen: in response to that question, i was born in england, spent most of my years in canada. shakespeare is a bilingual poet.al a multilingual poet. those of us lucky enough to be born into english speaking languages, or born into english, have this great privilege of his language of origin. ut i think also there's something fantastic and wonderful and gorgeous about having a translation too.
there ally feel that should be no handcuffs, right, on the approach to shakespeare that you want to take. as michael says, he's doing just fine. he'll be all right. around, we re still can still find the language with no difficult. and so i kind of feel, you know, bring it on. peter: and unfortunately, our time is up. wisconsin, happy birthday, will. thanks for making me use my brain. and emily in west lafayette high school, indiana, what fools such mortals be that do not celebrate thee. >> aw. michael: thank you all for being here today. fun.as really, really we're the ones that are here, and we did it. you.k [applause]