Saturday, April 23, 2011

Celebrating with the Bard

So, what are you doing today to celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare? What? You don't know what to do? Well, then, let me help you out!

There are several ways to celebrate today, and is only limited by your imagination! But, to get you started, here are several ideas:

-Make a cake replica of the Globe Theatre. When you blow out the candles, quote Macbeth: "Out, out, brief candle!" Too much? Well, hey, some of us might be so clever!
-Speak only in iambic pentameter.
-Speak in a British accent all day.
-Take a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace. If that's not practical, look at photos online of Stratford-upon-Avon and pretend you're there.
-Text a sonnet to someone.
-Perform one of his plays, or at least a scene.
-Listen to the music of a composer from Shakespeare's time. Popular music-writers from Renaissance England include William Byrd, Thomas Campion and Robert Johnson. Such music was often composed for lute and voice and can serve as a quiet accompaniment to a Shakespearean reading.
-Prepare a Shakespearean feast that features food from Elizabethan England. Savory porridge dishes known as "pottage" were popular fare, along with traditional English foods like Shepherd's Pie, and Yorkshire puddings and roasts. You can find an easy to make Blancmange here.
And remember:
Guests generally sat at benches; chairs were for the really important people. Common folk ate most food using wooden bowls & spoons.
Salt was highly prized, and usually resided at the head of the table. Hence the phrase "below the salt."
Forks weren't in common use. Fingers worked fine.
Meat was in short supply in common homes, whose inhabitants made do with grains and vegetables.
The nobility loved meat and sweets. When they got enough to eat, the lower classes may have had the more healthy diet.

Whatever you do, just make it fun and have fun!

There is the whole topic of Shakespeare gardens I could talk about, but I'll save that for a future post!

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