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Celebrating the Bard’s Birthday

The English Seminar of the University of Basel offers an opportunity to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, with the Bard’s comedy Twelfth Night.

By Shirley L. Kearney

In commemoration of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, Upstart Entertainment continues its programme of presenting some of the Bard’s works held under the sponsorship of the English Seminar of the University Basel. In August and September the comedy Twelfth Night or What You Will Have is featured.

William Shakespeare is considered by many to be the English national poet and master dramatist or playwright. Also referred to as the Bard, he was allegedly born in Stratford-on-Avon, UK on 23 April, 1564 and died on 23 April, 1616 at the age of 52 after an extraordinarily productive life.

His 38 plays are divided into four categories: histories, comedies, tragedies and romance. His 154 sonnets concern beauty and romance and the decay of life. Two narrative poems “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece” were published in 1593 and 1594.

As a manipulator of several languages, he invented thousands of words. Aspersions to the authorship of some oeuvres surface periodically, but his genius reigns; his creations are performed worldwide, are translated into multifarious languages, and he is quoted daily.

His burial site is in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. A colourful pageant is held yearly on the Saturday closest to 23 April, St. George’s Day, the patron saint of England, and the date of his birth and burial. In death he leaves a final verse as his epitaph:

“Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones”.

Performances of Twelfth Night begin at 8 pm, dates are as follows –

August: Thursday 14, Sunday 17, Wednesday 20, Saturday 23, Wednesday 27
September: Monday 1, Tuesday 2, Saturday 6, Tuesday 9, Wednesday 10, Friday 12, Saturday 13.

Tickets are available at Bider & Tanner, Aeschenvorstadt 2, at all Swiss post offices, or at the box office.

www.shakespeare-basel.ch

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