Review: Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare's Globe

Three actors in Elizabethan garb scream in an exaggerated fashion.

I'll cheerfully admit to only having a hazy familiarity with the play (it's the one with twins that isn't 12th Night, and with the shipwreck which isn't Tempest, and with the annoyed money-lender which isn't Merchant of Venice... wait... perhaps I have seen it in aggregate!) On the one hand, this is an entirely traditional […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: Shakespeare in Jest - Indira Ghose

Book cover.

This is a short but interesting look at the way Shakespeare's comedy was understood by his contemporaries - and how his legacy still influences modern comedians. There's a good deal of discussion about the role comedy played in society, and the interplay between actors and playwright would have worked. But, sadly, it never quite makes […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: The Prodigal Tongue - Lynne Murphy

Book cover featuring an elongated tongue wearing a top-hat.

Who "owns" the English language? Do you cringe when you see "centre" spelled (or spelt) "center" (or vice-versa)? Which Americanisms do you think are super awesome? This book asks us a simple question: What if, instead of worrying about the “ruination” of English by young people, jargonistas, or Americans, we celebrated English for being robust […]

Continue reading →

Shakespeare's Missing Smile

Scan of a yellowing page. The ext has no brackets.

Exactly a decade ago, I wrote about how Shakespeare invented the emoticon. Nestled deep in "Winter's Tale" is the first recorded use of the typographic smilie 🙂 As I discussed, Sir Smile's smile appears in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th folios. One hundred years after the 4th folio was printed, the smile vanished. The […]

Continue reading →

Who is the author "JC Shakespeare"?

Screenshot of Google Scholar results. Shakespeare has, apparently, written about law, technology, wine, and an article in German.

Knowledge graphs are tricky beasts to create. Trying to extract semantic metadata from documents is a gargantuan task. Mix them together and you have a recipe for disaster. While yak-shaving for my MSc, I found an interesting looking research paper authored by one JC Shakespeare. As you can probably tell from that snippet, there is […]

Continue reading →

Theatre Review: & Juliet

Poster for & Juliet. A Black woman with short hair stands in front of a neon heart pierced with an arrow.

About five minutes into the show I already had tears of laughter streaming down my face. I didn't stop laughing and squealing with delight until the curtain call. The plot - unusual for a jukebox musical - is relatively well thought through. What if Juliet didn't die at the end of Romeo + Juliet? What […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: Shakespeare and Immigration - Espinosa & Ruiter

Book cover featuring handwritten words from Shakespeare.

This is selection of essays looking - as the title suggests - at the relationship between Shakespeare and immigration. It's always worth re-examining our relationship with "classic" works. There are some very obvious immigration issues in Shakespeare - and this book does a plausible job of uncovering some of them. It also takes us through […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: Ira Aldridge - The African Roscius by Bernth Lindfors

An African American man in a 19th Centrury portrait.

Ira Aldridge -- a black New Yorker -- was one of nineteenth-century Europe's greatest actors. By the time he began touring in Europe he was principally a Shakespearean actor, playing such classic characters as Shylock, Macbeth, Richard III, and King Lear. Although his frequent public appearances made him the most visible black man in the […]

Continue reading →

Movie Review: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Poster for Macbeth.

Does the world need yet another film of Macbeth? And this one doesn't even have a shtick like setting it in a space station. And - to make matters worse - it's filmed in black and white, with a 4:3 aspect ratio. What is this, the Snyder cut?!?! And yet… it is perfect. Joel Coen's […]

Continue reading →

Book Review: The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race - Ayanna Thompson

A young, black actor, dressed in modern military clothing, performs a scene from Shakespeare.

The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race shows teachers and students how and why Shakespeare and race are inseparable. Moving well beyond Othello, the collection invites the reader to understand racialized discourses, rhetoric, and performances in all of Shakespeare's plays, including the comedies and histories. Race is presented through an intersectional approach with chapters that […]

Continue reading →