King Lear is coming to Paris. This week, from 2nd-7th June, there will be the annual Shakespeare performance in the open-air Théâtre de Verdure (Jardin de Shakespeare) in the Bois de Boulogne.
In preparation, I have been reading the story line of King Lear – a play I am not familiar with. It gave me the idea of making a short list of some of Shakespeare’s plays, their principal characters, an extremely brief synopsis and a well-known quotation.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
Bertie runs away to avoid his new wife, Helena, but she follows him and tricks him into being her
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Claudio loves Hero. Benedick doesn’t like Beatrice. Then Claudio hates Hero, and Benedick loves Beatrice. Eventually, everyone gets married.
“Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.”
A young prince plans revenge against his murdering uncle.
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Lear & Cordelia
Lear gives up his kingdom to his daughters and then gives up his mind.
“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”
Prospero uses magic to reclaim his dukedom and find a husband for his daughter, Miranda.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep.”
Lady Macbeth, Banquo
Witches’ prophecies prompt Macbeth to seize the throne of Scotland.
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day.”
A MISDUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Mix-and-match couples in the woods near Athens.
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Iago preys on Othello’s jealousy and drives him to murder.
“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at.”
ROMEO and JULIET
Forbidden love tempts and destroys a young couple.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Orsino loves Olivia. Olivia loves Cesario. Cesario is really Viola, who loves Orsino.
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616
He had 7 brothers and sisters
Anne Hathaway was his wife; they had 3 children, but no surviving descendants
King Lear was one of the 10 tragedies he wrote; he also penned 17 comedies and 10 historical plays.
Elizabeth I, Queen of England, watched many of his plays, and after her death King James I became an enthusiastic patron
Success as a property owner made Shakespeare a wealthy man
Plague caused many theatres to close for periods during Shakespeare’s lifetime
English language is said to have been expanded by three thousand new words thanks to Shakespeare
Acting also took up some of his time; he performed in a number of his own plays
Raging fire destroyed the original Globe Theatre during a staging of Henry VIII
Earring: Shakespeare is thought to have worn a large gold hoop in his left ear.