July 13th, 2009

Actors inventing more history

Why Shakespeare?

I spent Saturday afternoon in the park with a picnic, a play, a smidgin of rain, and approixmately eighteen people, almost all of whom were previously strangers to me. We read A Midsummer Night's Dream, with parts of costumes and props and improvised acting, music, and dancing. It was a rather impressive production under the circumstances, organized by mirrorshard, with some might fine actors participating. I have no idea when I last was involved in any way other than audience in theater; possibly my brief stint as dramaturge when an undergraduate? In this, I played a minor fairy, which gave me more time to watch the rest of it, a cohort to loiter with, and also the fun of having a role in the dance.

Which is how C. came to ask me about Shakespeare, and I come to give you the question on his behalf: Why Shakespeare? "Genius" alone never explains much of anything; PR makes all the difference. What are the major historiographic developments which made his work, in particular, the subject of such modern renown?