There are plenty of old writers, poets, and playwrights whose works have stood the test of time—pieces that literary gurus still analyze and quote, and call “classics.” But few have remained so prominent that they have been a common household name for over 400 years.
This year is the 450th anniversary of his birth. 450 years! And still, to this day, who hasn’t heard of William Shakespeare? I bet you can name a least one or two of his plays off the top of your head right now. (I know I can… Or is that cheating?)
And I don’t know about you, but I think every high school English class had to read and/or perform at least one Shakespeare play—costumes and all. Divvying up the characters was an experience ranking somewhere between winning the lottery and getting picked for the reaping, depending on how much you liked performing in front of your classmates. (As long as Romeo and Juliet didn’t have to kiss!)
To this day, performing these plays are still viewed as a rite of passage for many acclaimed actors. If you’re looking to cast your own production, a good start would be to pick a play that fits your manpower:
While you’re planning how to rehearse scenes (or just curious to see if you can guess who’s going to die first), Wolfram|Alpha can show you a timeline of each character’s dialogue through a piece:
Although Wolfram|Alpha does not know any better than Hamlet when it comes to answering, “To be, or not to be….”
But don’t let it worry you! Instead, remember: All’s Well That Ends Well.