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T: Theatre as Literature
I write novels. I guess that makes me a novelist. You would think because of that, my favorite writer of all time would be a novelist – you know, following-in-the-footsteps kind of thing. Yet not only did he never write a novel, but the very concept of the novel didn’t exist while he lived. He was a poet and a playwright (of which I am neither), and today is his birthday.
Despite a childhood dominated by Star Wars and an adolescence influenced by Star Trek, Monty Python, and Comic Books, there’s not a time when I don’t remember at least knowing about William Shakespeare. Not until my teens did I actually begin to understand him as well as the awesome potential of the written word. I devoured all his works; I saw every Shakespeare film I could get a hold of. I acted in Shakespeare’s plays.
Now that I’m “grown up,” and no longer think it’d be a great idea to write a play in iambic pentameter, my love of Shakespeare has only grown. Through contrived plots, stylized dialogue, and low brow humor to rival the Farrelly Brothers, Shakespeare somehow managed to create a window into the human condition like no other writer before or since. He explored the psychology of his characters centuries before anyone knew what Psychology was. He wrote plays that were both fantastic literary achievements and completely accessible to all audiences, even a rowdy auditorium of high school students four centuries later. He was a master. The master.
Happy Birthday, Will.