ISA, a much friendlier acronym than another “IS” we know, stands for the International Shakespeare Association. Why wouldn’t the world have an ISA? It’s one of those organizations I always assumed exists, but in that unspoken sort of way. As it turns out, I was incorrect, as this organization is very much established.
The idea was conceived during a World Shakespeare Congress (more on that in a bit) held in Vancouver in 1971. Since then, the organization has evolved with the mission of:
Offer[ing] an opportunity for individuals and institutions to join together to further the knowledge of Shakespeare throughout the world… The ISA’s central commitments are to advance the education of the public by furthering the study of Shakespeare’s life and work by such means as the Trustees determine, including by:
Organising, holding, and promoting participation in the World Shakespeare Congress and disseminating the learning from that event;
Offering advice and assisting in the establishment of national or regional Shakespeare associations. (WSC 2016).
Cordelia, Desdemona, Juliet, Lavinia, and Ophelia: What do these strange names have in common? For one, they are all women in Shakespeare’s plays, as you might have guessed. More specifically, they are all characters from his tragedies. Based on their individual circumstances, it’s easy to see that Shakespeare was not kind to his women—but to be fair, he wasn’t very kind to the men in these plays either. Even so, I’d like to point out that none of these women died because they did something wrong. Most of these women died as a result of men acting irrationally. Most of them were pawns in games of power or revenge. At least the men died because they were the ones that did something stupid, so some of them kind of deserved it. It’s hard to discern the order in which to rank these undeserved tragedies, but I’m going to go ahead and let Lavinia take the crown.
Poor Lavinia, from the devastating tragedy of Titus Andronicus, is the daughter of the play’s namesake. Her father deals in some shady business about who he is going to have her marry, and it ends with her being dragged through the woods by three men. It’s pretty easy to guess what they wanted to do with her in the woods. After they each had their fill, they cut off her hands and slit her tongue out of her mouth so she couldn’t reveal what had happened. Eventually, she was able to write out what had become of her by holding a stick in her mouth and writing in the dirt. Enraged, her father took revenge on the men. Then he realized that since his daughter was no longer innocent and this had happened out of wedlock, she was not fit for life. He then killed his daughter whom he had just worked so hard to avenge. Feel free to argue that another woman on this list had it worse, but I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement on this one. Continue reading It’s Hard to be a Woman: Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroines
Nine. NINE Hamlet adaptations worldwide listed on iMDb (Internet Movie Database)! The adaptations range from a traditional version filmed in England to a modern-day (well, 2000s), New York City adaptation. I’ve listed the films below in chronological order. Before I get started, let me make it abundantly clear that I have never ever seen any of these movies. The closest I’ve come is The Lion King, and even that was years ago. Even so, I’m going to make comments on these given the little information I have. What I find most interesting is the progression of ratings: Unrated, G, PG, PG-13, R. What?? Did they not show fighting and death in the G-rated version? If not, they royally screwed with the storyline.
The first adaptation noted was filmed in the UK in 1948. Hamlet was played by actor Laurence Olivier. The only other particularly notable talent in the movie was Jean Simmons who played Ophelia. Other than that, there’s not much to say about this one. Continue reading Hamlet Goes To The Movies
Who knows for sure? As we celebrate the quadricentennial of the playwright’s death this year by exploring our Shakespeare holdings in the Archives & Rare Books Library, we tend to run across the many phrases and words that he coined or brought into the common lexicon. And, one of those is “Tower of Strength.” Continue reading Was Shakespeare an Inspiration for UC’s Alma Mater?
100 years ago, the whole world was in a commotion over Shakespeare’s Tercentenary. People were celebrating in: Cincinnati, London, Germany, everywhere really. It was such a big deal that countries were literally arguing over who Shakespeare related to more. It seems now that 100 years have passed people are less excited by The Bard. His works are still very much prominent, but there aren’t announcements of festivals and grand celebrations as much as there were back in 1916.
Of course the anniversary will not be completely overlooked. In London, The Globe Theatre is hosting events all year long. Many of these have passed, but the best is yet to come. On the weekend of April 23 and 24, they will be hosting The Complete Walk. When they say “complete,” they mean it:
37 screens along a 2.5 mile route between Westminster and Tower Bridge will play a series of specially-made short films. At the heart of each film, some of the world’s finest actors will perform scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, shot in the place hovering in his imagination when he wrote them. (“The Complete Walk”)
Diaries reveal former UC President Raymond Walters’ love and admiration for his longtime Valentine
By: Dawn Fuller
Her name was Elsie, but her husband, UC’s longest-running president, called her “BobOLink,” which is also the name of a songbird. Throughout their 46-year marriage, Raymond Walters remained charmed and fascinated by his wife, as passages reveal in his diaries, which were donated to UC’s Archives and Rare Books Library.
Walters served as president of UC for 23 years, from 1932-1955. The diaries hold daily activities and thoughts of President Walters over the decades, from 1925-1960, and as a result reveal decades of history, including the history of UC. But the diaries also lovingly reveal Valentine gifts, wedding anniversaries and tributes to his wife. Continue reading Presidential Love Notes
So what are you doing tonight? Tomorrow night? This weekend? Maybe you’ve already got your next few days filled up. That’s okay, because the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will still have showings of Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1 up through February 13th! (And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the cheating game on KISS107 in the mornings). This show is all about actual war. Continue reading Shake it Up with Shakespeare This Weekend!
A brief moment ago, in a galaxy that is our own, Shakespeare has been reimagined. It is a time of artistic freedom and a lack of brand new ideas. Authors left and right are taking popular works and translating them into Shakespeare’s style. The remaining few are taking Shakespeare’s works and translating them into modern texts, literally. Star Wars is an empire that has befallen this fate. Iambic pentameter maketh Yoda sound yet wiser, and Han Solo a fairer knave. Thank thee Maker! Forsooth, never before have two groups with such extreme cult followings come together to create a new work! Shakespeare lovers and Star Wars fans alike can now come together. Continue reading Darth Vader, WTFeth, Man?
It is February again, a month notable for honoring presidents and for looking forward to spring. February is also a time when we reflect on the heritage of African Americans in the United States and take time to acknowledge that part of our nation’s history.
Depending on the media, we also term February as Black History Month, and it had its beginnings in 1926 when “Negro History Week” was created by historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson’s intent was to celebrate it in February because both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had their birthdays in this month., and as he stated, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Continue reading African American History Month and the Archives & Rare Books Library