Tippin’ the hat to the Ol’ Taleteller

williamShakespeareHat

by Christian Riboldi, dramaturg

Welcome back to the 4th wall. The purpose of these blog posts is provide our audiences with inside information about these productions to enhance their experience with the show. This may include information about rehearsals, background research, and even sneak peaks into what the show will look like.

As you know, recently we were able to begin our rehearsals for Twelfth Night. This week I’d like to share some little known facts about Shakespeare and his life. I hope that in preparation for Twelfth Night, getting to know Shakespeare a little better will help all of us appreciate his masterful work more. So let’s take a moment and get to know the Bard of Avon.

  • William Shakespeare was born in a town called Stratford-upon-Avon on or near April 23rd 1564. William was the third child of eight in his family. His parents most likely couldn’t read or write.
  • William got married at age 18 to Anne Hathaway; they had 8 children with one set of twins.
  • It’s believed that William started his career as an actor, and he acted in many of his own shows.
  • In the time of William Shakespeare, a bard was a poet who shared his poems by reciting them to others. One of Shakespeare’s common titles is “The Great Bard” because he his seen by many as the most influential writer and storyteller in the English language.
  • Shakespeare was a literary genius. In his time, some of the laborers had a vocabulary of 300 words of less. Shakespeare, on the other hand, used 28,829 unique word forms in his works.
  • A wordsmith is an inventor of words. Shakespeare invented over 1700 words that we now use in our everyday language.
  • As a poet and playwright, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets and 37 plays. Most of Shakespeare’s writing is poetic.
  • Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in a poetic style called iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is a style of writing where every line has exactly 10 syllables, and every other syllable is a little stronger than the one before it. For example, the opening line of Twelfth Night is: “If music be the food of love, play on;”
  • Shakespeare’s sonnets usually rhyme and are all exactly 14 lines longs.
  • A successful businessman, Shakespeare bought expensive property throughout Stratford, and was a co-owner of the Globe Theater.

Well there you have it—a few interesting facts about one of the greatest English writers of all time. Next time we’ll be talking a little bit more about Twelfth Night and finding out why the show is called that in the first place.

Until next time.

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