Shakespeare in the Limelight: A Will to Have Fun
by Gerit Quealy
It’s a tragedy to go through life without a little William Shakespeare. Turn your frown upside down with the fifth installment of findingDulcinea’s Shakespeare series, and explore Shakespearean fun, including word games, recipes and parodies inspired by the Bard’s devoted fans.
April 23 is traditionally celebrated as Shakespeare’s birthday, but before you bust out those candles, keep in mind that we don’t really know the exact date; it was simply backdated from the baptismal record of April 26, 1564. April 23 also happens to be St. George’s Day, the day that honors England’s patron saint—very convenient!
Start your feast in “Shakespeare’s Kitchen,” a cookbook featuring sumptuous recipes used in Shakespeare’s time and updated by food historian Francine Segan. Or try your hand at “Shakespeare’s ultimate lesson in making soup” and be inspired to cite and recite some of the items on his grocery lists, plus cooking instructions: “Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble,” (from the witches in “Macbeth”).
Perhaps you’d rather stuff your mouth with some of the Bard’s bountiful vocabulary. Honorificabilitudinitatibus is the playwright’s longest word, appearing in “Love’s Labors Lost,” but you can look up any word to steer the party conversation.
You could put pen to paper, and try to write a Shakespearean sonnet. Or have your party guests take a pop quiz. Author Jasper Fforde has sprinkled his Thursday Next series of novels with sprightly smatterings of Shakespeare, including a WillSpeak machine—a sort of Shakespeare jukebox. The third in the series, “Something Rotten,” inspired him to post this test to see how “Hamlet” you are.
Shakespeare is meant to be performed and enjoyed, although the work has morphed into myriad interpretations, spin-offs, spoofs and guises. Rent the Academy Award-winning film “Shakespeare in Love” (more factually accurate than you might think). Or watch how the work inspires on so many levels. In the end, what hasn’t been said about Shakespeare that he in some way didn’t say himself? That’s how timeless he is.