Shakespeare

The world-renowned spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra said “Everyone has a purpose in life… a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others… this is the ultimate goal of all goals.” According to this mantra Bob Smith, a gifted lecturer and Shakespeare specialist, has found his passion and purpose: sharing his love of Shakespeare and the range of human emotions depicted therein with us all.

From the New York Times to the London Times he has been acclaimed as a spirited and inspirational speaker, somebody who resuscitates Shakespeare from the past and makes him relevant today. He has taught Shakespeare at various notable universities and gives weekly lectures at the Greenwich Library. On May 23 the topic will be “As You Like It” and admission is free of charge. For more information log onto Greenwichlibrary.org.

There is something very admirable about people like Bob Smith who find their passion and spend their life dedicated to it. Shakespeare himself spent his life dedicated to his own hunger to understand and communicate the range of human emotions. True, sometimes the Old English used in Shakespeare plays makes it a little difficult to grasp what’s going on — especially for younger readers… but if you look beyond that, his plays carry unimaginable treasures for the mind.

Take the story of Othello: a man tormented by his own jealousy or Macbeth greedy for power, all these characters are beautifully depicted in order to make us understand the range of our own humanity. So where did Shakespeare get all his life experience from?

It is estimated that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. Clearly he displayed considerable promise. By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men but was a managing partner in the operation as well. With Will Kempe, a master comedian, and Richard Burbage, a leading tragic actor of the day, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men became a favorite London troupe, patronized by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.

Shakespeare’s accomplishments are apparent when studied against other playwrights of his age. His company was the most successful in London in. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or “penny-copies” as they were called to the more literate of his audiences. Never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career. In addition, Shakespeare’s ownership share in both the theatrical company and the Globe Theatre itself made him as much an entrepreneur as a writer. While Shakespeare might not be accounted wealthy by aristocratic London standards, his success allowed him to retire in relative comfort to Stratford in 1611.

If you’re an avid Shakespeare fan then the upcoming Bob Smith Shakespeare lecture at the Greenwich Library is a must. His words are a window for us to understand our own emotional complexities…

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