Book Review: “Love’s Labour’s Lost” by William Shakespeare

The 2009 Globe production.

The 2009 Globe production.

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Read my review of the 2014 RSC production here.

The university student is a strange creature, stuck in a curious limbo between adolescence and adulthood. It is said to be a time of great learning: you attend lectures on fascinating subjects (hopefully), figure out how to pay an electricity bill, and do your own laundry. There is the pursuit of knowledge, the desire to evolve, a search for that elusive wisdom that all proper adults seem to possess… But you’re not an adult yet. Instead, you find yourself having water balloon fights outside the lecture hall and drunkenly debating the finer details of The Samurai Pizza Cats at a party while wearing a penguin suit you don’t remember putting on. This delicate balance between work and play, between new responsibilities and having fun, is exactly what Love’s Labour’s Lost is about.

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Study Advice: 5 Tips for Reading Shakespeare

The Cobbe portrait.

The Cobbe portrait.

It is practically impossible to say or write anything about literature without at one point running into Shakespeare. He is (mis)quoted by everyone, his characters are a much-used point of reference, and his plays continue to inspire other works of art to this day. The Bard is everywhere, to both the delight and horror of literature students all over the world. These days, the name Shakespeare has become synonymous with high culture, complex works that can only be deciphered by the scholarly elite… And yet most highschool students are expected to read at least one of his plays in school and make sense of it.

I think the #1 thing that keeps some people from getting into Shakespeare is the language: it’s a whole different vocabulary to get used to. When you’re not familiar with early modern writing, his plays can look quite daunting on paper and when you try to read the opening monologue, you instantly start to panick (“oh God, I don’t know what any of these words mean and here I thought I was pretty good at English what is happening“).

So what is the best way to tackle a Shakespeare play?

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