Thursday, September 14, 2023

Book Note: You Wouldn't Want to Be a Shakespearean Actor!: Some Roles You Might Not Want to Play

Morley, Jacqueline. You Wouldn't Want to Be a Shakespearean Actor!: Some Roles You Might Not Want to Play. Illus. David Antram. London: Franklin Watts, 2010.

I'm very excited. I had completely forgotten about the "You Wouldn't Want To" children's book series—and I had never come across this particular volume before last week.

The fundamental gimmick of the series is that nostalgia about different time periods is misplaced and that it could be dreadful to live in any number of different eras.

Here, we're told why acting in Shakespeare's company was really no picnic. And it does so with good historic detail and a use of the second person that invites our imaginative engagement with the material.

Let me show you what I mean!

Here, "you" have already gone through the hard work of being hired as a player, and you're discovering what that means: 

This next spread nicely encapsulates the demolition of the theatre called The Theatre and foreshadows its rebirth as The Globe: 

I'm very impressed with the entire series, but this volume was particularly pleasing. I'll soon be moving on to You Wouldn't Want to be Married to Henry VIII and You Wouldn't Want to Sail in the Spanish Armada and others. Stay tuned!

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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