Shakespeare Trivia, Again

Well, all it takes is an invitation to a play for me to throw a previously determined schedule out the window.  I totally missed my Shakespeare trivia yesterday so will make it up today.  My next 10 favourite pieces of trivia from The Shakespeare Miscellany (David & Ben Crystal):

1.  Cicely Berry:  Shakespeare is easier to understand spoken at speed rather than slowly spelt out.  (quoted in Antony Sher, Year of the King, 1985, p.196) p.100

2.  Richard Burbage was probably the first to play Hamlet, Lear, and Othello, judging by an elegy written for him in c.1619:

No more young Hamlet, old Hieronimo,
King Lear, the grieved Moor, and more beside,
That lived in him, have now forever died.  p.94

3.  There are 12 characters named ‘clown’ in Shakespeare: six in the Comedies, six in the Tragedies.  There are none so named in the Histories. (There are 2 in Hamlet, the gravediggers.) p. 76

4.  It is a sad irony that Shakespeare lived his later years in Stratford in a playless environment, for in 1603 the puritan-minded aldermen and burgesses had banned all performances of plays in the town.  Even social visits by actors were viewed with suspicion.  p. 32

5.  Lawrence Olivier on King LearWhen you’ve the strength for it, you’re too young, when you’ve the age, you’re too old.  It’s a bugger, isn’t it?  (from On Acting, 1986, p.89) p. 29

6.  The Chamberlain’s Men played before Queen Elizabeth on 2 February 1603 — probably A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The Queen fell ill later that month and died on 24 March.  p.7  (me:  no connection is suspected!)

7.  All five versions of Shakespeare’s signature have one thing in common: they have no middle ‘e’.  The familiar form, Shakespeare, first appears in print in the 1593 letter of dedication which preceded his first published work, the poem Venus and Adonis, and printers thereafter generally retained it.  p.72

8.  Richard II and Richard III are classed as history plays in the First Folio.  But in their 1597 Quarto versions the are both called tragedies.  p.83

9.  Mark Rylance, Sunday Mail, 25 July 1999:  You need a good story in the Globe.  If you’re not wondering what’s going to happen next, you become aware that you’re standing or sitting on a bench. p. 9

10. Alec Guinness, My Name Escapes Me, 1996, p.52):  I wonder if, in The Winter’s Tale, a real bear was borrowed from the adjacent bear-baiting pit to chase Antigonus near the end of Act III: “Exit, pursued by a bear’ — every actor’s favourite stage direction. p.83

That last one might be my all time favourite!

About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
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