The Magic of Shakespeare: A Genius in Observation
William Shakespeare - What a name, what a life and what a legacy of composition has been left to us by this truly enigmatic playwright. Shakespeare's name resounds through the annals of history and his words are echoed on every great stage and, thousands of less majestic stages throughout the modern world. No other playwright has had such an effect on so many as Shakespeare. He bears the title of being the greatest English playwright of all time and justly so.
It is generally acknowledged that Shakespeare wrote two kinds of plays; tragedies and comedies but when one studies Shakespeare one learns that his plays often combine both styles. As the house/park lights dim on The Comedy of Errors it appears as though a tragedy will unfold when the audience learns about the loss and separation of an entire family which seems an unbearable and unredeemable situation. But, before long the action is high jacked by a series of chaotic conditions that produce only humour and laughter.
Shakespeare's inimitable ability to create humour out of tragedy is one of the reasons that he is remembered and revered as a genius. While many of the details of his early life and works remain a mystery, we do know a great deal about the first performance of The Comedy of Errors, which is widely regarded as an apprentice play by the inexperienced playwright.
The play's premiere was part of a London law school's 1594 Christmas celebrations. On the 28 December at Gray's Inn the play opened and, as the action progressed, the evening turned into chaos. To this day, the premiere of The Comedy of Errors is fondly recalled by thespians as 'The Night of Errors' as, rumour has it, the actors had no room on the stage to perform until the rowdy crowd had been removed from the stage and the inn.
It is not clear on what date Shakespeare was born but records show that he was baptised on 26 April 1564 and was buried on 25 April 1616. He wrote thirty-seven plays and one hundred and sixty sonnets and poems in his relatively short career. During the Renaissance, Shakespeare's plays were memorised by the actors and it was not until seven years after his death that actors John Heminges and Henry Condell published the First Folio containing the works of this extraordinary writer.
Read The Comedy of Errors