In which Jessica digs a little deeper...

As promised, I’ve got the answers to your most pressing questions.  Just think of me as a “Dear Abby” for Shakespeare

Clueless about Shakespeare

Long time reader, first commenter. I love your first two blogs.

Here are my questions for you.

Why is Shakespeare sometime referred to as “The Bard?”

Sincerely, Clueless about Shakespeare

Dear Clueless,

Yeah, I get it, say the phrase “The Bard,” and everyone knows who you’re referring to.  But why, right?

I’m sure we all know that bard means poet, and Shakespeare is often considered England’s (if not all of history’s) greatest poet.  Hence the Bard.  He was also a prolific poet, which may have contributed to the nickname as well.  In all, Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays, two narrative poems, sonnets, and short poems (World Book Online).  All that in his short lifetime!  That, coupled with the fact that Shakespeare is still popular today, well, I guess he’s earned that nickname.

And thanks for the compliment :-)

What’s the deal with Branagh and Shakespeare?

Hey Jessica,

This blog is so awesome. I am like you and do not know much about Shakespeare. All of his works seem so high brow-hopefully you can make things not so out of touch for me. I am hoping to come to see “As You Like It.”

Is there a page I can go to to know more about you? A little back story?

Here is my question: What’s the deal with Kennith Branagh and Shakespeare? Why is he always doing movies about Shakespeare’s plays? I loved him in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Looking forward to hearing from you, Mae

Dear Mae,

First off, you’ve got me blushing over here, but thanks!

What’s the story with Kenneth Branagh and Shakespeare you ask?  I knew that Branagh had made a few Shakespeare remakes, but after wandering on over to IMDb, I was floored to see just how many he had made.  Branagh made five remakes – As You Like It, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Henry V, not to mention numerous stage productions. That’s quite a few, considering he’s made 13 movies to date.  Prior to his film career, Branagh also created the Renaissance Theater Company, and its first season featured three of Shakespeare’s works.

So on to that question of yours…In a prologue for Masterpiece Theater’s Henry V, Branagh said that the theater can have a sense of elitism about it.  His aim in remaking Shakespeare is to bring those classics to the masses in a more palatable form.  Hmmm, perhaps Mr. Branagh needs an introduction to Lyric Arts – pretentious, elite?!  I think not.  My Shakespearience thus far, has been the most accessible version of Shakespeare I've ever had.

And if you want to learn more about me and what this here blog is all about, just mosey on over to Jessica's Shakespearience.

Come back Monday when I’ll have a brand spanking new entry delving in behind the scenes (literally).