Ok, Who Has This Guy’s Book?

I have got to get back into posting general interest Shakespeare stories. Ever since the rise of social media and the “retweet” it’s too easy to see something cool and then just hit one button and call it a day. Where’s the fun in that?

Today’s story comes from Canada, where a young man bought a gift for his girlfriend. That give was the 1757 Theobald collection of Shakespeare’s Complete Works. He’d spotted it in a used book store and, because their first date had been to see a Shakespeare show, he thought it would be a nice gift to get the set and then give her the volumes one at a time at various milestones of their relationship. (Apparently my man spent $800 on the set, good work getting credit for several gifts out of it!)

Here’s the problem — it was an incomplete set. Volume 6 is missing, and he’s on the hunt for it. Really that’s nothing new, there are used book stores all over multiple continents sporting incomplete “complete works” collections. I used to go looking for them myself. But until this article it never occurred to me to actively go looking for the remaining volumes. Especially in this case, seeing as there’s just the one.

What especially caught my eye was that name, Theobald. Anybody recognize it? He’s actually got quite a history, having a bit of personal beef with Alexander Pope over the editing of Shakespeare’s work. But I spotted his name as being the guy who produced a play called Double Falshood, saying that it was a version of Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio. From what I recall of the story, Theobald basically said “Oh, yes, I have the Shakespeare originals around here somewhere, this is just the cleaned up version.” But he was never able to produce the originals.

So, does anybody happen to have a Volume 6 1757 Theobald lying around in their collection that they want to get rid of? Strangers things have happened!

Alternately, are there any Theobald scholars in the audience who want to fill in the gaps in my Theobald story?

New Year’s Shakespeare

I know this is a little late for a New Year’s post but I’ve been kind of busy 🙂

This year we decided to do family night for various reasons. We passed on several invitations and decided to just stay in, get some Chinese food, maybe binge watch some shows and play some board games.

Skip past the bingeing (on both Chinese food and High School The Musical The Series) and nobody really wants to dig into a cutthroat game of Monopoly, so I get an idea. I go get my Shakespeare Trivial Pursuit cards! We never get to play this, but I’ve got an idea. I’ve got all my family here. I know what I think they know. So I pick cards, and I read the questions I think they know the answers to, to see how much they’ve learned over the years. Keep in mind that recently we’ve been to Stratford, been to the Folger twice, seen several plays, and they’re all old enough at this point to have studied at least some Shakespeare in school.

They did surprisingly well! Questions on Romeo and Juliet were the most obvious and came out like homework questions. But the real fun was some of the non answers…

“What is the nickname of visitors to the Globe Theatre who stood for the whole performance?”
“Oh! Potatoes!”
“What?”
“It’s something about potatoes! Isn’t it? Something like that.”
“Groundlings?”
“Right, yes. Groundlings, potatoes. Same thing.”

“What are the names of Hamlet’s ‘friends’ who are summoned by Claudius?”
“Oh! Oooo! Umm… something…. hydro something…..”
“Guildenstern!”
“Yes! Hydrostan and Guildenstern!”
“??? Are we in chemistry class?”

And my favorite one…

“What play was being performed in 1613 when the Globe caught fired and burn down?”
“Macbeth!”
“No.”
“Hamlet.”
“No.”
“Tempest?”
“No. You’re just guessing.”

At which point my son, my youngest, who hasn’t taken his face out of his phone, says, “All is true.”

There’s a pause. My girls are waiting. I look at them. “Henry VIII, also known as All is True. He’s exactly right. I just have no idea how he knew that.”

He looks up, realizing he’s the center of attention now. “We saw that one.”

“No, we didn’t,” I tell him.

“Yes we did,” he says. “It opens with a fire.”

It’s at this point I realize he’s talking about the movie All is True, about Shakespeare’s life in retirement, which we saw earlier in the year, which indeed does start with the Globe burning down. Hey, whatever works for him!

I wish I could remember more of their answers, it was a good time indeed. Nobody knew that Prince Escalus has a name. But they remembered that “I know thee not, old man” is said to Falstaff, that the Folger is in Washington, D.C. and a whole bunch of other “that was definitely not on any homework you ever had” questions. I was pretty pleased with the results! Hope we get to do it again soon.

P.S. – My son really likes that scene, I overheard him playing Youtube clips of it before he went to bed last night. He also asked me if he should watch the entire movie or if he’d be bored. I thought he still might be a little bored, but agreed that there’s some good battle scenes.

UPDATE: Fixed typo, of course the Globe didn’t burn down 7 years after Shakespeare died, my brain must have been thinking I was talking about the Folio.

After Hack Test

Hello, hello? Is this thing on?

Just a quick test to run the blog through its paces and see what’s still working and what broke. I was hacked on New Year’s Day (thanks to Bardfilm for quickly spotting it) and in the ensuing flood of restorations and updates it looks like more than a handful of things has changed out from under me.

If you see stuff that looks weird, please let me know, either here or on Twitter!

I Knew I Wasn’t Crazy!

This is not a loon, and neither am I.

Back in November, I had a bit of a reality distortion moment as I found evidence that a story I’d always told as having happened in 2008 actually happened in 2004. Specifically, we’re talking about a production of The Tempest that I took my kids to see. Their first one, in fact.  The one I use as the foundation when I tell people about my kids’ relationship with Shakespeare. Only, if it happened in 2004, I only had one kid.

But I was right after all!  Looking through old pictures this weekend I found more from that production, with my other two kids clearly included.  I knew I wasn’t losing my mind.  These pictures were, in fact, dated 2008.  That gave me an idea I should have thought of in the first place.  I used my own darned search function…

And look what I found. August 2008. I actually posted about it several times both before and after the show, it was quite a milestone event for me.

Oh I feel so much better now. 🙂

 

 

I Give Up. Can Somebody Explain the Saucy Boy / Egg Fascination?

I have several different filters that collect Shakespeare references  across various sites – Google, Reddit, etc…  The signal/noise ratio is about what you’d expect, but I do find some good stuff often enough to keep doing it.  Most of it lately is memes.  Typically bad ones (hint – if you think your meme is funny, take two seconds to check your spelling rather than rushing to post it for karma? it’ll be that much funnier when you can include in your audience all the people that don’t think you’re an idiot.)

But lately it seems like the world has been taken over by two quotes in particular:

“You are a saucy boy” – Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet

and

“What, you egg!” – Murderer in Macbeth (stabbing optional)

No, seriously.   Just looking at the front page of my Pocket queue today, here’s the links I found:

https://www.reddit.com/r/SequelMemes/comments/eglb1p/shakespear_was_truly_ahead_of_his_time

https://www.reddit.com/r/memes/comments/egkilc/shakespeare_knows_how_to_meme

https://www.reddit.com/r/memes/comments/egieb8/et_tu_shakespeare

https://www.reddit.com/r/dankmemes/comments/eghzr7/the_pillar_men_love_shakespeare

https://www.reddit.com/r/reddeadredemption/comments/eggsvy/i_love_shakespeare_spoiler

https://www.reddit.com/r/dankmemes/comments/egfqcr/the_dankest_of_shakespeare_memes_oc

https://www.reddit.com/r/Memes_Of_The_Dank/comments/egf6el/breakfast_with_shakespeare

https://www.reddit.com/r/dankmemes/comments/egf7u2/shakespeare_likes_sauce

Using “egg” as an  insult  has always been  one of those amusing things about Shakespeare that was  a little off.  But these days it’s become clear that saucy boy and egg have teamed up (usually with some stabbing at the end)  and I’m just  wondering where this came from? Was it a reference to a show I’m not watching?  It’s getting pretty tiresome.