Shakespeare: When I first read the Wall Street Journal’s piece on this it sounded like one of the stupidest ideas I’ve heard yes I have a degree in English and have read and seen more Shakespeare than the average person, so I understand that it’s something that some people have been clamoring for ages about but this. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has announced that it has commissioned translations (transcriptions) of all 39 Shakespeare plays into modern English. The reasoning behind it is that modern audiences have no clue what about 10% of the words mean, but that mean 90% of the text modern English speakers can understand. I understand where this is coming from, just look at the No Fear Shakespeare line of books which has a modern text version alongside the Shakespearean text. There are also No Fear versions other works as well, including Huck Finn. Sure it will be a gimmick but will these new plays go any further or are they just a one off deal. As The Oregon Shakespeare Festival want to broaden the audience and by using the words that Shakespeare would have used if he wrote today. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival which debuted the first of these works last year with Timon of Athens transcribed for Modern Voice by Kenneth Cavander had an interesting study guide which had an example of the transcribing. So after reading what the OSF is actually doing it make more sense and I like the idea and hope that these plays get seen more than once.
Hamilton: So since the last time I did this Hamilton, that little musical that Lin-Manuel Miranda has been working about the past decade, dropped online and through digital downloads, the physical copy comes out October 16. Set aside two hours and have an experience listening to American History unfold before you. It’s a musical about American History, a kin to 1776 but this is about Alexander Hamilton, so you learn some more with this musical. Reviewers have been agog about the show. Many have speculated that Hamilton might be a contender of the Pulitzer Prize. The Atlantic has a cool story about how this musical is playing a role is reshaping American History and hopefully informing that the problems that we are facing today are not that different from those which the Founding Fathers had to deal with. As a side note Lin-Manuel Miranda has been name one of the MacArthur Fellows Program commonly known as “the Genius Grant”. Miranda is currently working on the music for the Disney film Mona and acting in Hamilton.