From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing.
Shakespeare Sonnet 98, 1-3
There are so many things that come to mind when one mentions Spring: rain and gardens full of flowers are abound. Sunnier skies and warmer breezes lift people’s spirits. It is a season of rebirth. Then there are the celebrations: Passover, Easter, Vernal Equinox, May Day, Earth Day and the various Flower/ Garden festivals. A Spring occasion maybe less commonly known is April 23, the celebrated day of William Shakespeare’s birth and death, "Shakespeare Day."
Like so many others I didn’t much like reading Shakespeare in school but then I saw one of his plays performed live and I was hooked. I went from saying “ugh” at the assigned Romeo and Juliet in high school to voluntarily taking a Shakespearean acting class in college. I still prefer the performance over the reading because set, costume, music and strong acting complete the experience for me. These days you can find Shakespeare modernized, immortalized, dissected and fictionalized in a variety of formats. Search the APL catalog with the keyword ‘Shakespeare’ and you get 1,714 results. I was pleasantly surprised to find there are things geared for the younger set like graphic novels, and a relatively new feature, video streaming.
At the Austin Public Library we couldn’t possibly let the opportunity for Shakespeare themed programs pass us by. During April we will be doing everything from movie screenings to a scholar lead discussion.