In the 401 years since his death, William Shakespeare has never gone out of style. Known as the Bard of Avon, he invented more than 1700 words and phrases, many of which are still in use today, and scholarship on his life and work continues unto the present. His poems and plays have been quoted more frequently in western culture than nearly any other literature in existence, with the only exception being the Bible. Among those who studied and wrote about him over the past four centuries are his contemporary Ben Jonson, John Dryden, Voltaire, Eugene O'Neill, Aleksandr Pushkin, Coleridge, and Pope. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Harold Bloom and Stephen Greenblatt each have written a number of books on the work and the man.
The Public Theatre in New York City announced last month that they were collaborating with The Shakespeare Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to use performance and education to introduce greater understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's works. The joint effort is called The Public Shakespeare Initiative. By combining their efforts, both organizations will be able to offer more programming, combining scholarly speakers with professional live performances for a variety of ages on many of Shakespeare's plays and themes.
Meanwhile, theatres around Wichita are celebrating Halloween with holiday-appropriate shows. Murder and mayhem and dark comedy are everywhere this week. If freaky musicals are your preference, Wichita State University is putting Little Shop of Horrors onstage at Wilner Auditorium on October 26th to October 29th.