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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Reader's Resolution for 2016: Read a Shakespeare Play

A friend shared this graph with me the other day:


The article in which this graph appears states, "As accustomed as we are to thinking of contemporary entertainments like Game of Thrones as especially gratuitous, the whole of Shakespeare’s corpus . . . is more gory than even HBO’s squirm-worthy fantasy epic, featuring a total of 74 deaths in 37 plays to Game of Thrones’ 61 in 50 episodes" (http://www.openculture.com/2016/01/74-ways-characters-die-in-shakespeares-plays-shown-in-a-handy-infographic.html).   For a different graph that shows every death in the tragedies, see http://io9.gizmodo.com/an-infographic-that-keeps-track-of-all-of-shakespeares-1534516437.

2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.  One of the tributes to The Bard is a compendium play called The Complete Deaths being staged in England.  “The Complete Deaths will detail all of the Bard's 74 scripted deaths in one play, from early rapier thrusts to the more elaborate viper-breast-application adopted by Cleopatra. . . . Tim Crouch, who is directing the play . . . spent 'a lot of time going through each play' to find all 74 human deaths – he has excluded that of a fly that meets a sticky end in Titus Andronicus” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/shakespeares-74-death-scenes-in-a-single-play-more-gory-than-gam/).

Most of us may not be able to attend this play or The Complete Walk, a special event in London when 37 screens along a 2.5 mile route between Westminster and Tower Bridge will play a series of specially-made short films of scenes from each of Shakespeare's plays along the Thames riverbank (http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/whats-on/special-events/the-complete-walk).  

But we can all read one of his plays as a personal tribute to the playwright.  So in this anniversary year, why not choose a favourite to re-read or one you have never read?  In many of them, there is no lack of violence and death!

(And for a chuckle, check out these New Year's resolutions for some of Shakespeare's characters:  http://goodticklebrain.com/home/2015/12/29/shakespearean-new-years-resolutions-part-3).