Happy B-ard Day!

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Written by Oscar Scholin, Journalist

On April 23, the esteemed playwright, poet, and author William Shakespeare turns 454 years old. Pacific Grove high school celebrated his birthday (and ironically the day of his death) through a production of arguably Shakespeare’s most renowned work: his play, Romeo and Juliet.

The play was performed by students from UC Santa Cruz’s theatre program, “Shakespeare to Go.” The two hour long play was cut down into just 50 minutes, to accommodate school scheduling. The small group of performers tackled the immense challenge of delivering an engaging and entertaining rendition of Romeo and Juliet well, vividly illustrating Shakespeare’s work. One of the main goals of this UC Santa Cruz program is to introduce more people to Shakespeare through an engaging and more easily understandable version of his work. The production used some staging, including a balcony, to recreate that quintessential begging scene from Romeo and Juliet.  

Later, following the play, two cakes honoring Shakespeare were cut and offered to the students, creating a frenzy of hungry teenagers.

Shakespeare is the most popular fictional writer, selling over 4 billion copies of his work to date. The “Shakespeare to Go” group is but a small part in a wider effort to commemorate Shakespeare’s work through performances of his plays, the publishing of his books, the reading of his poems, and the general celebration of his work. We owe 1,700 words to Shakespeare in the English language. Shakespeare thus remains a pivotal part of the English language, and his work is taught to students worldwide.

And thus, we toast to Shakespeare and end on a note of the Bard’s wisdom: “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”