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Age Cannot Wither: Shakespeare after 400 Years

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Oil portrait of Shakespeare

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the literary giant is being celebrated all over the world. Keene State has scheduled several events throughout the spring semester. The program will involve several interdisciplinary approaches, including literary analysis, the history of printing and bookmaking, theatre and dance, costuming and stage design, and film screenings.

“The series is primarily meant to celebrate Shakespeare’s work and legacy,” explained Professor of English Brinda Charry. “After all, few authors have his iconic status, and we hope to use the anniversary to reflect on the history and meaning of not just Shakespeare, the individual author, but Shakespeare, the globally influential cultural institution. … We continue to respond to the beauty of his language, and few writers match Shakespeare’s grace, versatility, and range of style. The English language would simply not be the same without his contributions.”

And neither would modern Western thought and inquiry. “Writers, historians, philosophers return to Shakespeare again and again to define themselves through the events and behaviors that shape our identity,” noted Theater and Dance Resident Artist PeggyRae Johnson. “As does science, Shakespeare is repeatedly asking ‘What if …?’ in his exploration of what it means to be human. Shakespeare challenged his audiences to consider living a life of compassion in a world of callousness. From Lear’s eventual humbled apology to Cordelia, ‘Let’s away to prison … and take upon’s the mystery of things,’ to Hamlet’s continual soul searching, ‘Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune …,’ Shakespeare helps his audiences, now as then, as we seek to understand moral philosophy—individually, socially, politically. They are the questions that remain the basis and value of a liberal arts education.”

Age Cannot Wither … William Shakespeare after 400 Years

Sonnet and Song – Poetry reading, Shakespeare’s music, and reception
Feb. 10, 2 p.m.: Marion Wood Reading Room, Mason library

“I lov’d my books …”: Shakespeare in Print — An exhibit
Feb. 29–Mar. 25: Mason Library

The Bard in Bollywood – Screening of Maqbool, a remake of Macbeth Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj
Feb. 25, 6 p.m.: Drenan Auditorium, Parker Hall

Baggage Books – The story of the first Renaissance play texts — Presentation by Professor Brinda Charry
Mar. 2, 10 a.m.: Mason Library, West Wing Open Classroom, 2nd floor

The Bard in Hollywood — Screening of Romeo + Juliet, a remake of Romeo and Juliet. Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Mar. 3, 6 p.m.: Drenan Auditorium, Parker Hall.

Staging Shakespeare at KSC – An exhibit
Mar. 14–Mar. 25: Main Lobby, Redfern Arts Center

Aquila Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet
Mar. 22, 7 p.m.: Main Theatre, Redfern Arts Center. (Tickets available at the box office (M–F, noon–6 p.m.), online, or by calling 603.358.2168: $15–$25; students, $5. 

Keene State College Medieval and Renaissance Forum
April 15 and April 16: Keene State College.

Grayson Lecture in Shakespeare Studies — Professor Linda McJannet (Bentley College)
April 20, 4 p.m.: Centennial Hall, Alumni Center.

Shakespeare Studies Seminar — Student project presentations
(ENG 327: Shakespeare—Poetry and Plays and TAD 232: Theater History)
April 27, 10 a.m.: Student Center, Atrium Conference Room

All events except the Aquila Theatre’s Mar. 22 performance are free and open to the public. The Shakespeare 400th Anniversary Celebrations at KSC are sponsored and supported by a KSC Pepsico Grant, the Mason Library, the English Department, the Redfern Arts Center, and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

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