We've got Da Bears, Da Bulls and now, Da Bard.
Friday is the second annual Talk Like Shakespeare Day, in honor
of the playwright's 446th birthday. The celebration began last year
in Chicago and spread globally, with more than a million hits to TalkLikeShakespeare.org, and is
backed by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Mayor Richard J. Daley's resolution encourages Chicagoans to
"let boldness be thy friend" and get their Elizabethan on.
Shakespeare may be most commonly encountered in high school and
college literature classes, but it's surprisingly kid-friendly,
says Reina Hardy, executive director of The Viola
Project, a Chicago non-profit that runs Shakespeare performance
workshops for girls.
"The actual stories and characters are very graspable and
exciting to kids," Hardy says. "Take Hamlet: This is guy's dad is
dead and his mom has married his uncle, and he's pretty sure his
uncle actually killed his father. Kids love that. Their jaws just
"There hasn't been a play we've done that kids haven't responded
to," she adds.
Marilyn Halperin, director of education and communications for
the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, says waiting until middle or high
school to introduce kids to Shakespeare is actually a mistake. By
then, they're self-conscious, which "makes it difficult to play
with and engage the language, as they're afraid of sounding like an
And by high school, many students have been convinced that
Shakespeare is just another "old, dead white guy" -- teen-speak for
"By adolescence, there's so much baggage about Shakespeare being
boring and difficult and almost iconic of everything that school
demands of you that doesn't have any relevance to your life," she
Visit TalkLikeShakespeare.org for
information on all things Shakespearean, including recipes (A Winter's
Pie? Yes, please!), and tips to talk like the Bard, and
read-aloud Shakespearean stories (we recommend avoiding King Lear
And just for fun, check out this adorable video of actor Brian
Cox trying to teach Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy to
Theo, age 2.
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