Talk Like Shakespeare Day 2009 in Chicago

April 22, 2010 11:24:27 AM PDT
Friends, Romans, Chicagoans, lend me your ears.In honor of William Shakespeare's birthday, it's 'Talk Like Shakespeare Day' in Chicago.

Mayor Richard M. Daley is encouraging Chicagoans to celebrate what is believed to be Shakespeare's 445th birthday by bringing his writing into their daily lives.

His 16th Century writing includes some of the most celebrated literature in the English language. Some of his most famous lines include:

  • What is in a name? That which we call a rose
  • The lady doth protest too much, methinks
  • All the world's a stage
  • To be, or not to be
  • Parting is such sweet sorrow
  • His writing had such an impact on the English language that some of his lines have become catch phrases- such as 'All that glitters is not gold' and 'Greek to me'- in today's spoken word.

    Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets. He wrote his first play, Henry VI, Part One, at the age of 25.

    Shakespeare's exact birthday is not known, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564, which, according to tradition, would have meant he was born three days before. He died in 1616 at the age of 52.

    Drama class rehearsing Shakespeare play

    A drama class full of fourth to seventh graders at Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy did the Bard proud as they rehearsed Act 2, Scene 4 of a Midsummer Night's Dream, confronting adult themes -- here, longing and chastity -- just as Shakespeare demanded.

    The magic of Shakespeare is used here to bring children from all backgrounds together in the celebration of language.

    "Hermia is saying she doesn't want to sleep with Lysander yet because she doesn't want to go too far," said Briana Popa, 10 years old.

    Lessons that can be put to use right now

    "He does a lot about poetry, and love, and the reason I joined this play is because when I do poetry, I impress the ladies," said Christopher Regalado, 13 years old.

    That's not the only reason to talk like Shakespeare on this April 23. One Harvard PhD in English says Shakespeare's genius lies in his ability to pose questions.

    "What makes a good leader? Half the plays deal with that question. What makes someone loyal, what makes someone a good advisor, what are the proper roles for women and how do women break out of those roles," said Susie Phillips, Northwestern University.

    At the Shakespeare statue in Lincoln Park that wonder was on display.

    "Just the way he writes, he broke limits, he was revolutionary as a writer," said Hariq Zahir, Naperville.

    They'll be talking like Shakespeare at Talcott Academy Fine Arts and Museum Academy May 19-20 when they present a Midsummer Night's Dream.


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