I have a confession to make: I hate reading Shakespeare’s plays. (This can be a bit of a problem when you major in English Literature and Writing.)
That said, over the course of my high school and college years I saw productions of As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew (twice, once as a western and once set in 1950s Italy), Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and Macbeth, and I was one of the fairies in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I’ve seen Shakespeare productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, England; the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada; the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, in addition to many smaller theaters.
I’ve loved them all!
How does this work? I made a deal with myself: I only read a Shakespeare play after I’ve seen a production of it. After all, plays were made to be seen, not read, right?
It’s not always possible to find a theater production for each play you want to see, of course, and that’s where DVDs come into play. Two of my favorites are available from the library. Try these:
There’s more where those came from, so just ask your librarian for a hand if there are others you’d like to see.
If you’d rather read your Shakespeare (or if your teacher says you have to), take a look at the No-Fear Shakespeare series. Each book has Shakespeare’s original words on one side of the page with a modern English translation on the other. I recommend starting with The Taming of the Shrew.
See? Easy-peasy. Enjoy!