Whenever things seem to get out of hand my reactions are quite predictable. I either a) take a few deep breaths and try to bring some order into chaos or b) let chaos overwhelm me, panic, make a fuss and eventually pull myself together and bring some order into chaos. Apparently both a) and b) can be successfully replaced by c) Shakespeare. With a time consuming and nerve-wracking project at work, a translation I’m – what else – late with, major changes in my dance schedule and last minute research for my Cuban quest there was no better time to sit down, relax and enjoy Shakespeare’s biographies, The Complete Works, Bloom’s insanely prolific and delightful writing on everything and anything Shakespeare and all the Shakespeare inspired movies I could get my hands on. I think I’ve shown more interest in him than I have back when I was actually supposed to care and got graded for it. I am particularly fascinated by the futility of this undertaking and have totally surrendered to it. No essays waiting to be written, nobody expecting me to come up with some outrageous theories about the Sonnets, no pressure, no deadlines, just great reading experiences and quality time. Or at least partly. This might be the right time to confess that I have not listened to an audiobook until three days ago. They existed in a parallel universe I didn't take any interest in until recently, when I figured I could replace my usual playlist with something more appropriate to this sudden Elizabethan frenzy.
Enter Romeo and Juliet the audiobook in three different versions, all of them with one major flaw from where I stand: one voice which brings boredom to its highest peak attempts at bringing to life Sampson, Gregory, Benvolio, Tybalt and all the rest of the crew in Act I (didn't make it to Act II in any of the three versions). This is pretty much the literary equivalent of taking the icing off my cupcake. My Mom and my smarter friends eventually explained the difference between an audiobook and a play adapted for the radio - apparently this is what I was looking for, because I can't deal with Tybalt saying he hates peace as he hates hell and all Montagues as if he were reading the morning announcements. When I finally found the radio plays my mornings at the office became a lot brighter and needless to say very poetic. But with all the downloading that's been going on lately in my life I seem to have given my computer a few viruses but they seem to be quite harmless at the moment. I'm still waiting to see what might happen, hopefully they'll soon change all my reports, statistics and market analysis into sonnets. It would probably be the first time in Shakespearology that The Complete Works would be deemed incomplete because they lack CPV codes.
This morning, having iced my Shakespeare cupcake, I also added the sprinkles - a brilliant, funny and very fresh outlook upon Hamlet, from an American anthropologist who is taught the real meaning of the play by the tribe Tiv in West Africa: Shakespeare in the Bush by Laura Bohannan. The perfect treat for a prolonged and much needed coffee break for anyone who seeks a good read and some new perspectives, not necessarily on Shakespeare.