Monday, September 29, 2014


I know that I usually write about board games these days, but that isn't the only thing that I spend my time on.  In fact, this year I have been working on a project that I have wanted to do for a while but hadn't been willing to devote the time to:  really diving into the works of Shakespeare.  The impetus for this happening now is twofold.  First, I have a long commute on the train to my current job, so I've got about 2.5 hours a day to read.  Second, the father of one of my friends let me borrow an audio lecture series that he has, How to Read and Understand Shakespeare, part of the Great Courses series.  I am using the audio course as a general guide as I consume the plays.  First, I listen to the relevant audio lecture(s).  Second, I read the play.  Third, I find a movie adaptation to watch.  It is interesting how my experience of a play can significantly differ between reading the play and seeing it performed.  I especially noticed this with Romeo and Juliet, where I didn't really like the play when I read it (I couldn't suspend my disbelief far enough to think that two people would meet and then get married the next day), but when I saw the movie (which hewed very closely to the play script) I enjoyed the story a lot more.

So far, I have read through A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Henry IV part 1, and Henry IV part 2.  I am currently reading Henry V.  I have seen movie versions of the first four from that list (i.e., through Richard II).  It is amazing how much more I enjoy these things when I listen to the lecture ahead of time and have an idea what I should pay attention to.  I tried reading a couple plays earlier in the year, and it just didn't work all that well, as I wasn't picking up on things.  Well, either that or the Two Gentlemen of Verona is inherently boring.  One should never completely discount the possibility, considering how much of a dud I think A Midsummer Night's Dream is.

No comments: