Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Conjectural Birthday Shakespeare!

By my troth and yea verily, today is Shakespeare's birth and death day! Oh yes, believe it or not, the not-so immortal bard had the poetic forethought to die on his conjectural birthday.
"Suck on it Christopher Marlowe..."
-William Shakespeare
"Still with us? Splendid.
We shall call you Cuthbert."
How's that? Yeah, conjectural birthday. Really, nobody knows if today is his actual birthday, but we do know that he was baptized on April 26th and traditionally you waited a few days before naming your offspring. This was, after all, the sixteenth century and medicine wasn't so much a science back then as it was a crap shoot. Since there was a decent chance that your new bundle of joy might be carried off by wolves or the plague or something, it was usually best not to get too...attached right away, so scholars all sort of agreed that the 23rd is as good a day as any for Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Oh yes, like how I snuck that in there? Yes, today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day, which for a lot of us is not on a work day making it much harder to annoy our coworkers with a lot of zounds, s'blood's, fie's and a poxes, but whatever, there's always Facebook.

Why don't they just
stage Cliff's Notes?
Anyway, the last year or so has been surprisingly active for a guy that's been dead for four centuries. And by active I mean, his headless corpse has probably been spinning in his grave. Huh? Yeah, we'll get to that. So the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been busy re-writing his plays in contemporary English, you know, for lazy people, Lifetime is making an American Horror Story-rip off out of A Midsummer Night's Dream cleverly titled a Midsummer's Nightmare and oh yeah, his head might be missing.

Above: I mean look at this fancy idiot.
Age of Reason indeed. (source: history)
Missing! An archeologist investigating the long-held legend that Shakespeare's head was stolen back in the day, says that damage to the tomb dating back to the 18th century backs up the story that the grave was robbed and that if they were to crack it open today they'd find just an empty neck ruff. So why the hell would anyone want the skull? Get this, people in the 1700's were like super into phrenology and might have stolen Shakespeare's skull so they could figure out how he got to be so smart.

So happy Shakespeare's Birth/death-day! And if you have today off, why not crack open that copy of the collected works you have sitting on your shelf to make yourself look smart? Then give up, because it can be kind of chore and who are you trying to impress? Maybe watch the David Tennant Hamlet on PBS instead. Patrick Stewart is in it too so you can pretend The Doctor landed in Denmark to find Professor X sleeping with his mom.
Hey Oregon Shakespeare Festival, have I got an idea for you!

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