Write Now: Shakespeare Is Meant To Be Heard

Someone asked me the other day if I liked William Shakespeare.

I replied “yes” of course.

Shakespeare’s plays are taught in high school. The usual suspects are “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Hamlet.”

These tragedies usually begin with “Romeo and Juliet” in freshman year. “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Hamlet” follow in any year after.

My favorite play is the comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It’s sometimes taught in high school, but is more commonly taught to English majors in college. I like it because it is a play within a play.

According to the Pelican Shakespeare edition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” edited by Russ McDonald, “People who like the theater like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at least in part because it is an act of Shakespearean self-justification — an imaginative defense of the imaginative faculty, a fantastic study of the power of fantasy, a theatrical work that asserts the value of the theater while also acknowledging its fakery and ephemerality.” In other words, the viewers are allowed to think outside the box.

My second favorite play is the comedy “Taming of The Shrew.” When watching the play, I ask “who is teaching who?”

It may be a task teaching Shakespeare in high school. The question students ask is “Why do we have to read Shakespeare?”

I agree, reading Shakespeare is daunting. I learned that Shakespeare was meant to be heard, and that’s why I prefer listening to Shakespeare while reading along with the text. Listening to Shakespeare is much easier than reading, in my opinion. His plays are performed by actors or thespians if you will, and audience members do not have access to the text, so it makes sense to listen to Shakespeare.

ENTERTAINMENT

It is my goal to report entertainment news in this area. I know I can’t be everywhere to cover every event. So if you have an upcoming entertainment event, please send me an email. I write about music, television, writing, books, and film, so if you are in a band that plays original material, I would like to hear from you. If you are a writer who has had work published, I would like to hear from you.

Chautauqua County, Western New York and Western Pennsylvania have a lot of entertainment events.

If you have entertainment news, please email me:

mzabrodsky@post-journal.com.

AGENTS

One hears a lot that an agent is needed for representation. If a writer is looking to get his movie or TV script looked at by major studios, then he needs to have an agent. The big studios won’t look at writers who don’t have an agent.

It’s the same for books and for music. If one wants to be considered by major publishing houses or record labels, then in theory, one needs to be represented by an agent.

An agent is someone who helps writers and musicians in the sale of their work or works. The agent also negotiates a writer’s or musician’s contract with a studio, label, or publishing house. Agents also take a percentage of the sale.

So is an agent necessary? I am on the fence about this because in some ways an agent opens doors otherwise closed.

But for self-published authors, maybe an agent is not needed. I guess the way to determine if one needs an agent, is if one wants to go the traditional route or not.

To me it may be lucrative to go traditional, but the author may wait for a deal. Self-published authors may make good money selling their books independently, but may lose respect from traditional publishers. I think that notion of losing respect is changing because the traditional publishers have access to indie authors’ work. They can see how good or bad the work is.

One good thing for musicians is that technology has made it so musicians can record songs in their homes inexpensively. It is easier for musicians to find record label deal. Musicians can play concerts and sell their music and merchandise at those concerts.

It’s not so for an author. An author can’t go into a supermarket and begin reading from his book hoping that shoppers will listen, so he can sell hard copies or give a link to where to find his books online.

Musicians or bands sometimes network with other bands to help promote their music. In doing so, more bands are on the bill and listeners get a choice of what they want to buy.

When is the last time a group of authors took the stage to share their words with an audience? It may have happened, but I can’t recall when it did.

In the literary world, agents seem like more of gatekeepers where they control what gets in and what doesn’t.

If a band plays a good concert, there may be a label rep there that may speak to the band after its set.

I don’t know of too many agents or lit reps going to a coffeehouse reading trying to find new talent. It just doesn’t happen.

No, authors have to send their work and wait four to six weeks for rejection or not. With self-publishing, authors bypass a lot of headaches.

I am not saying to not find an agent. I am saying make sure representation by an agent is the right move for you.

It’s that easy.

It’s that hard.

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