Shakespeare 400 at your library

Perhaps you’re all up to date on all #Shakespeare400, but I (and here I hang my librarian head) have only paid glancing attention to the worldwide celebration of the Bard’s “passing through nature to eternity.”

Thankfully, I’ll be given the chance to remedy my oversight when on Final Friday, July 29 at 6 p.m., Lawrence Opera Theatre (LOT) will be showcasing their seventh season in the library auditorium. Luminous voices from LOT will be performing songs and arias from the coming season, which captures the words of William Shakespeare set to music.

Shakespeare changed the English language forever, and for the better, as far as I’m concerned. Thanks to Will, I’m able to leapfrog, misquote, and be zany. I can marvel at a dewdrop, revel in pageantry, and identify that I am heartsore when necessary. Artists through the ages have performed his works, and transformed his words into music, operas, plays, movies, novels and more.

As part of the celebration, LPL has created two reading lists highlighting Shakespeare’s varied contribution to the arts. Some of these books investigate Shakespeare’s life and influence on the world. ("Shakespeare Saved My Life" would be great, discussable pick for you book group.)

Some choices view his work through another lens. (Be sure to check out "The Women of Will" and "Worlds Elsewhere"). Some of our picks are direct tellings, some are glorious resettings, and there are books about opera, recordings, and DVD’s for those who want to learn more about what you’ll be hearing and seeing.

Check out:

Best Shakespearean Resettings: The influence of Shakespeare's works runs rampant through new books and movies. Over the years, these classic tales of love and tragedy have been re-imagined in wildly different settings-- often creating an intriguing juxtaposition.

Shakespeare 400 - The Art of Will: The world and words of William Shakespeare captured in books, music, film and stage. A list to help you celebrate the Bard.

Be sure to include the library presenting Lawrence Oprea Theatre on your Final Friday rounds. You’ll find refreshments and a place to stop and wonder at the transformative nature of art around the world and right here in Lawrence KS.

-Polli Kenn is the Reader's Services Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library.

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