Last weekend a group of us were having Zoom Cocktails. We were talking about the quarantine challenges we had tried. 30-day yoga challenge (failed!). 30-day cocktail challenge (passed!). We were also talking about having exhausted the offerings on Netflix, Prime, etc. We agreed that Broadway HD is a good option, although sometimes clunky and prone to freezing. Then we came up with a new one: The 38-week Shakespeare Challenge. Read one Shakespeare play a week until we’ve worked our way through them all or we’re all released from confinement and can go outside again. Here are the details. Join us!
Do I have to buy the Complete Works of Shakespeare?
Actually, no. There are plenty of places online where you can get Shakespeare’s plays for free. You can go to your library (if it’s open) or an online library like the Internet Archive Open Library. One of the best is the Folger Shakespeare Library which has each play available to read online, in a variety of formats for download, and about a half dozen plays as audiobooks.
Do I have to read the plays?
Again, no! So many of the plays have been made into movies. Watch the 1973 Antony and Cleopatra with Charlton Heston if you like. Watch two versions and compare and contrast.
What are the plays, and what is the order?
We’ve decided to use the RSC’s Timeline of Shakespeare’s Plays.
Do I have to watch movies of the plays?
No again! Do you want to watch Kurosawa’s Ran instead of King Lear? Go for it!
Are there other options?
Of course! Watch West Side Story or Kiss Me, Kate instead of Romeo and Juliet or Taming of the Shrew. Let’s face it, they’re going to be better than a lot of the alternatives.
I hate book clubs. Do we have to talk about this stuff?
First, you’re really difficult. Second, yes but just a little bit.