by Toni L.P. Kelner / Leigh Perry
A big day for William Shakespeare--it's his 450th birthday!
Photo credit: The Telegraph
I've always thought that Shakespeare's greatest gift was creating work that touches people all over the world, and for over four centuries. Certainly he's added to my life, both professionally and personally.
Though my alter egos--meaning Toni and Leigh--have a tendency to snark in public, there is one thing they are in complete agreement on: love and admiration for the work of the Bard of Avon. And we both sneak it into our work in all kinds of ways.
In the Laura Fleming series, Laura's husband Richard was a Sheakespearean scholar with a habit of quoting the Bard every chance he got. Some of Laura's family found it confusing, and others thought it was annoying, but Laura rather liked it. Most of the time, anyway. I even created a quiz of how Shakespeare translates into Southern, and posted it on my web site: http://www.tonilpkelner.com/tobesouthern.php
Later on I payed homage in a more unusual way by naming a bunch of characters in my story "Where Does a Herd of Elephants Go?" after some of Shakespeare's characters. The twist that the characters were all circus elephants.
As Leigh, I had thrown out the comment that maybe Sid, the ambulatory skeleton in my Family Skeleton series, should star as Yorick. Only when I went to write the second book in the series, that actually sounded like fun. So that's exactly what happens--Sid stars in a high school production of Hamlet. (Okay, maybe starring is exaggerating just a bit.)
Shakespeare sneaks into my private life, too. One of my daughter Maggie's first dramatic performances was as Juliet. She was quite young for the role, and when I pointed that out, she assured me that she would not actually be kissing the Romeo du jour.
Later on, she played Ariel in The Tempest.
My other daughter is currently rehearsing Alan Naehnel's play Will and Whimsy, which is made up of sixteen of Shakepeare's sonnets, dramatically illustrated.
As a family, one of our fondest memories of our trip to London was a visit to the Globe Theater.
I could go on nearly as long about how much fun we have with Shakespeare until this blog was as all the history plays, put together, but instead I'll leave with this. If you don't know as much about the Bard as you'd like then check out the Reduced Shakespeare Company or buy their DVD. You won't be sorry. We've got the DVD and have seen them live, too!