City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed today, April 23, Talk Like Shakespeare Day, an occasion for citizens from Chicago and across the globe to celebrate Shakespeare's 448th birthday by bringing the spoken words of Shakespeare into their daily lives. The holiday, which originated in Chicago in 2009, became a worldwide sensation garnering extensive national and international media coverage and more than one million hits to TalkLikeShakespeare.org.
Shakespeare is being celebrated around the world today, from Chicago to London to Armenia, in recognition of the man who engineered more than 154 sonnets, 37 plays, 1,700 original words and innumerable phrases.
Today Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London launches its Globe to Globe Festival, part of London's Cultural Olympiad, beginning a two month international event presenting all 37 plays from Shakespeare's canon in 37 different languages (including Chicago Shakespeare's Othello: The Remix, The Q Brothers' hip-hop adaptation of Othello, opening in London May 5).
Talk Like Shakespeare Day has even sparked a movement, originating in Armenia, lobbying for the inclusion of "Shakespearean" alongside "Pirate" and "Upside Down" as an official language option on Facebook.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 2008 recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, will open its production of The Taming of the Shrew for Chicago Public School students at Sawyer Elementary School on the City's south side this morning, and this evening, celebrated British actor Simon Callow's one-man show, Being Shakespeare will play a special performance at the Broadway Playhouse, preceded by a birthday party for the Bard in the theater's lobby beginning at 5:30 p.m. At Chicago Shakespeare's home on Navy Pier, Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Tony-award winning actor Ian McDiarmid begin preview performances of Timon of Athens, while the cast of Othello: The Remix prepares for the world premiere of its new work in London the following week.
Among the many visitors to Navy Pier, the Midwest's most visited tourist destination, today will be William Shakespeare himself. Those who talk like Shakespeare to "the Bard" will receive free rides on Navy Pier's iconic Ferris Wheel from 10 a.m. to noon. Shakespeare will dine at Harry Caray's Tavern on Navy Pier, where a special Shakespeare-inspired menu will be available from noon to 2:00 p.m. Diners who talk like Shakespeare at Harry Caray's Tavern will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 Harry Caray's Gift Certificate, four Pier Park Passes, free Navy Pier parking and four Tickets to Chicago Shakespeare Theater's summer musical Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
TalkLikeShakespeare.org is the virtual home base for revelers. The site features activities for celebrating Talk Like Shakespeare Day at school, at the office and at home as well as videos of famous Chicagoans talking like Shakespeare. It also contains information about a video contest for internet comedians inspired by the Bard's words (deadline for submissions is Thursday, April 19 at noon) and tips on how to talk like Shakespeare such as:
- Instead of you, say thou. Instead of y'all, say thee.
- Rhymed couplets are all the rage.
- Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.
- Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back'd toads.
- When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).
- To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.
- When wooing a lady: try comparing her to a summer's day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!"
For more information visit TalkLikeShakespeare.org.