April 23rd is National Talk Like Shakespeare Day!
What better day to talk like the bard than on his birthday… that’s right, April 23rd is the birthday of that amazing playwright who continues to blow our minds with his wit, his humor and his dark, dark mind. LOL
Talking like Shakespearean troubadour is a super fun way to honor one of the greatest playwrights of all time and to keep his enduring legacy alive. Let’s learn a little more about William and how we can have some fun with this crazy day!
About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet, and actor who is widely regarded as one of the absolute greatest writers in the entirely of the English language…dramatic or comedic. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England in 1564 and died there in 1616.
His nickname? The Bard of Avon.
Honestly, I’ve heard him called the “Bard” so often, you don’t even need to add the “Avon” part.
Shakespeare wrote everything: tragedies, comedies, and historical plays. What is so amazing about his work is that it explore timeless themes such as love, power, jealousy, and betrayal. His characters were so rich and memorable, with so many layers and levels.
Some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, and some of my personal favorites, are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I really think A Midsummer Night is probably my all time favorite. But maybe becasue I got to see it in the hills of Oakland when I was on my honey moon with my hubs!
He also wrote 154 sonnets and TONs of poetry. Recognize this line:
Shall I compare thee to a Summers’ day?Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
Yes, please. Please compare me to a Summers’ day. (she says as she melts into the ground)
Origins of National Talk Like Shakespeare Day
National Talk Like Shakespeare Day was started by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2009 to celebrate the 445th birthday of William Shakespeare.
This was such a fun day for them to start because what actor doesn’t love to go around talking like Shakespeare? But more than that it encourages us to learn more about this incredible man and his body of truly enduring work.
Celebrating National Talk Like Shakespeare Day
There are so many ways to celebrate this day! Let’s take a look at some ideas:
The best way to celebrate is to actually talk like Shakespeare!
Here are some great lines from Shakespeare that you can use in everyday life:
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”Hamlet (Act III, Scene I)
This line is often used to express a sense of hesitation or indecision in a situation.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”Hamlet (Act III, Scene I)
This line suggests that life is like a performance, with people taking on different roles and playing out their parts.
“To thine own self be true.”Hamlet (Act I, Scene III)
This line advises people to be honest with themselves and to stay true to their own values and beliefs.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”Romeo and Juliet (Act II, Scene II)
This line suggests that a name is just a label and doesn’t change the essence of what something or someone truly is.
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act I, Scene I)
This line acknowledges that love is often a challenging and complicated journey.
These are just a few examples of lines from Shakespeare’s work, but there’s so many more great quotes out there that you can use to try and talk like Shakespeare. Just grab a copy of your favorite play and start highlighting!
Dress up in Elizabethan-era clothing.
Another fun way to celebrate National Talk Like Shakespeare Day is to dress up in Elizabethan-era clothing. You can have so much fun wearing ruffled collars, doublets, and hose. You might want to pick out a particular character like Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet or puck, and dress up like them! How hilarious would it be to walk around wearing the head of a donkey!
Attend a Shakespeare Play
You might want to read one of Shakespeare’s plays out loud with your friends and family, or if you can, find a local performance of one of his plays. Shakespeare’s performed so often, that you should be able to find a company locally and go see a live performance!
Attending a live performance of Shakespeare plays a great way to really immerse yourself in the depth and uniqueness of his talent. Reading a play as a lot of fun, but experiencing it in person? There’s nothing quite like it!
The 10 most Popular Shakespeare Plays
Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays that are still performed and beloved by us today. Here are ten of his most popular plays:
- Romeo and Juliet: this tragic love story? Truly a favorite about two young lovers his families definitely don’t get along. This one has been a favorite since it was first performed in the 16th century.
- Hamlet: the psychological thriller or is not new is it? This one is about a young prince who is looking for revenge for his father’s murder. It is full of intrigue and excitement. And honestly, this is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and most performed place.
- Macbeth: want to add a little bit of supernatural intrigue? This play is for you. It’s about a Scottish nobleman who become so consumed with ambition and power, he would go to great lengths to achieve it!
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream: this one is my favorite! A romantic comedy filled with craziness of mistaken identities and magical mischief going on all over the place. It truly is hilarious and so very clever!
- Othello: tragedy abounds in this play! It’s filled with jealousy, manipulation, and betrayal! If you’re looking for something intense, this is one of Shakespeare’s most powerful works. You won’t be disappointed.
- Twelfth Night: one of Shakespeare’s other most famous comedic plays. We’re talking love and disguises and confusion over mistaken one of Shakespeare’s other most famous comedic plays. We’re talking love and disguises and confusion over mistaken identity. It’s characters are full of life and the plot is nothing but entertaining!
- The Tempest: here is another mystical play about a ship wrecked sorcerer and his daughter filled with romance and comedy and tragedy. It makes us think about things like forgiveness and redemption.
- Julius Caesar: now this play is probably very familiar, a historical tragedy about the assassination of the most famous Roman leader. It’s known for its incredibly powerful speeches and deeply complex characters. Et tu, Brute, anyone?
- King Lear: now this one is a dark tragedy about a king who takes his kingdom and splits it among his daughters. It is a deeply powerful exploration of family, madness and the desire for power.
- Much Ado About Nothing: here is one more incredibly witty and charming romantic comedy. It’s about two couples and they’re crazy misadventures and love. There’s lots of wordplay and the characters are truly endearing!
These are just 10 out of 37 plays that you can enjoy today. Or maybe you wanna check out one of his more obscure and less famous works. The library should have them all!
So today, on national talk like Shakespeare day, take some time to remember the bard and enjoy his famous plays, poems and sonnets. He truly was a gift to humanity!
And if you can throw in a little, “double double, boil and trouble”, all the better!