Tuesday, June 1, 2010

20 things you never knew about Shakespeare

Simon Callow, actor extraordinaire, star of a new one-man show called Shakespeare: The Man from Stratford. Openly gay and quite outspoken on LGBT issues, BTW.

This piece about Shakespeare is sort of self-explanatory. Lots of interesting and fun tidbits about Shakespeare, such as:

Was he gay, straight or just sex-mad?

The sonnets are often cited as evidence of his bisexuality. He may have been in love with his patron the Earl of Southampton, the Earl of Pembroke, or even the playwright John Fletcher. “The fact is he was married and had children,” Jonathan Bate says. “But he imagined in his work every type of romantic and sexual love. It is probable Shakespeare, once in London, would have tried anything.”

“If you’d asked him if he was gay he’d have been totally bewildered,” Simon Callow reckons. “But his work is drenched in sexuality to an extraordinary degree and his plays cover the entire waterfront of human sexual expression. As Leontes says [in The Winter’s Tale]: ‘I am a feather for each wind that blows.’ Whatever he was, at parties he would certainly have gone home with the best-looking person in the room.”

And this topic is, of course, much too fun to pass up!

What would be the ultimate Shakespeare find?

“I’d love to find a document linking the Shakespeare of Stratford irrefutably to the plays,” Wells says. “A letter from a Stratford friend, perhaps. ‘Dear Wm. Shakespeare: your wife Anne and the twins are in good health and wish you all the best for your new play Hamlet.’ It would save the world so much wasted paper on the subject of who wrote Shakespeare.”

"20 things you never knew about Shakespeare" (Times Online)


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