I was introduced to the Bard in High School back in the late 70’s – in an English class dedicated to the study of several of his works.
One of them – actually, the first one we studied – was Othello.
Up to this point in my learning life my exposure to Shakespeare had been limited to snippets on TV, so I really didn’t know what I was getting into.
Our teacher introduced us to the material by playing cassette tapes of actors reading the lines – we followed along in our workbooks.
As the tragedy that is Othello unfolded, I found myself being sucked into the story, even though the words were sometimes hard to understand.
The thing that “got” me the most was the tempo and cadence of the dialogue – it compelled, no, DEMANDED, that you listen, and listen closely.
By the time of all the betrayals, and deaths, and sorrow as the play reached its end, I knew I had been awakened to something extraordinary.
It was like a switch got turned on in my head – one that deepened my interest in going beyond words on a page, or people on a stage.
There were lessons to be learned from those that had come so many years before us – lessons of humanity, faith, courage, morality, love, friendship – and ultimately, life itself.
It wasn’t just entertainment. It was Shakespeare!
Happy Birthday William, and may your words keep inspiring and awakening for many more centuries to come.
(This post is part of the “Happy Birthday Shakespeare” project, led by the fabulous Melissa Leon – check out the site, and contribute your Birthday wishes too. You’ll even see me recite a few lines too…)