Capture My Chicago

Friday, April 25, 2014

William Shakespeare's 450th Birthday Anniversary on April 23, 2014 by Gardenia C. Hung, M.A.

On April 23, 2014, the English playwright William Shakespeare celebrated his 450th Birthday Anniversary in the 21st century. Amazingly, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier is on the second floor and began celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Anniversary at the Newberry Library with Barbara Gaines on Chicago Tonight WTTW, then continued by adding a Shakespeare Quiz online at “Take Will’s 450 is the New 30 Quiz”. While anyone thinks that Shakespearean actors and actresses are always performing there, it is not so…The Road Show is on its final weeks at Shakes Theatre. Until April 29th, when Henry V comes to town, reprising the play that launched the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on the rooftop of the English pub in 1986 and comes to life for the first-ever theater staging at Navy Pier. Believe It or Not!, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre used to be at 350 North Orleans and Chicago Avenue, in the River North neighborhood across from PIA, Inc., also known as Interactive Media World Wide, when I used to work there while I was an independent contractor for Inlingua in 1994. My first meeting with William Shakespeare’s English writing happened in my Father’s barrister glass-cased library in Santiago de Cuba, when he introduced me to Shakespeare’s leather-bound collection of plays such as King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Henry V, and many other classics for Volumes I and II from the fine pages of his Shakespearean collection. During summers and leisure time, I spent time reading about William Shakespeare’s best plays encased in the cherry wood barrister’s library from my Father’s book collections, preserved from his own reading experience in English, Spanish, and French. Several years later, during the Fall of 1977, I began studying English literature with Sr. Christine at Madonna High School on the Northwest side of Chicago. The first year, I was introduced to a more mundane paperback with Shakespearean readings of Romeo and Juliet presenting the history of the English playwright’s Globe Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon in England. I also had to read aloud and learn about the Shakespearean Sonnet in Poetry with Mrs. Barbara Davidson, my Honors English High School Teacher. Sixteen (16) years later, in 1983, I was referred to the University of Illinois at Chicago where I met the Englishman Anthony Graham-White, Ph.D., a Theatre Director and playwright who grew up in England, near Stratford-on-Avon. I continued to study Theatre, Rhetoric, and Cross-Cultural Ethnography Studies at the UIC Department of Communications and Theatre during the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship for Graduate Students, at the corner of Taylor Street, near Halsted in Chicago, Illinois USA. Twenty-one years later, in the year 2014, William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets still remain as favorite readings in English and Spanish for the last 450 years.