My birthday is today, April 23. I’m turning 26 and am feeling great about it. My personal life is full of hope for the future, and my professional life allows me to immerse myself in what I love. The overlap becomes significant on a day like today, when I set out to celebrate both my life and Shakespeare’s. A new year of life reminds me to reflect back and look forward, setting a game plan and then putting it into action to my best ability. That’s why today I’m setting out my Shakespeare’s Birthday Resolutions:
- Audit my university’s summer Shakespeare course and enjoy the continuing education without the stress of essay deadlines
- Custom-make wall decals to literally surround myself by Shakespearean inspiration (my bedroom favourite: sleep perchance to dream)
- Visit the Stratford Shakespeare Festival with my mom (our annual tradition) and with friends (a new experience!) to see Ben Carlson play Benedick to his real-life wife’s Beatrice in Much Ado; Cymbeline to see the kick-ass eagle prop the Festival’s been sneaking pictures of over Twitter; Ben Carlson again, because he’s so awesome, playing the sassy Welsh Fluellen in Henry V; and the one-man show MacHomer, as a hilarious contrast to Cummings’ much darker Macbeth, hopefully including the voices of Patty and Selma as the Witches
- See Benedict Cumberbatch perform in something Shakespearean (fine, that one’s more of a fantasy)
- Stop buying new Shakespeare posters and instead find more places or better adhesives with which to mount the ones currently lying on the floor in my office
- Submit my first article for publication
- Write a brilliant essay/paper/blog post that delves into Suzanne Collins’ Shakespeare references in the Hunger Games trilogy
- Get back to England before I’m 27, returning to the Globe and to the RSC to experience Gregory Doran’s first year as Artistic Director
- Finally make my way to Britgrad to hear the Shakespearean luminary Stanley Wells speak in person
- Read more about Shakespeare’s egalitarian instinct, especially more written by my living Shakespeare idol, Kiernan Ryan. This writing just gets me too excited about the way that Shakespeare said such incredibly subversive stuff about the equality of one human being with the next. It also helps me keep steady among the painful truths of mortality – accepting death, but as a result grabbing life with both hands and really just finding ways to enjoy it – not taking more work so seriously that I no longer enjoy it, and when that time comes, allowing myself the time to rest and relax. Of course, my favorite way to do that is to go to England (see above), so I must remind myself that the best way to simultaneously avoid burnout and keep moving forward on this path of Shakespeare scholarship is by learning Shakespeare on my feet, and then come back to my books with renewed vigour
- Speak to a grade 7 class about my awesome experiences with Shakespeare so far, and convert at least one unassuming child into a die-hard bardolator!
That’s all for now! What are your Shakespeare’s Birthday Resolutions?