Much Ado About Nothing and had the time of my life. Since then, it’s been up and down at times with me and Will, as I’ve been alternately befuddled, entranced, delighted, disturbed, and moved by his handiwork. It was only last year, however, that I really began reading his plays in earnest—up until then, my exposure had been limited solely to films and live performances. I've been taking them slowly, picking up a play as the inclination strikes, and not following any particular order.Despite the fact that it is critically regarded as one of Shakespeare's best and most advanced comedies, I have to say that so far Twelfth Night is my least favorite of the lot. I’m hoping it’s not because it was assigned for a class, when all the others I picked up of my own volition. Either way, I found I couldn’t connect to any of these characters, neither when I read the play nor when I watched the 1996 Trevor Nunn film (and let me tell you, if Helena Bonham Carter can’t make me feel for Olivia, no one can). They made for an interesting group to observe— not the uninvolved, almost scientific word. There is no Puck or Rosalind or Beatrice or Shylock to give this comedy some sort of heart or animating spirit. Viola and Feste come closest, simply because they are vehicles for some of Shakespeare's best poetry and wordplay—but even then, the language is more interesting than its bearers. Indeed, I would say this play is most interesting when looked at mostly for how it uses language and what it has to say about it.The critics are right in commending Twelfth Night for its clever wordplay and complex social vision, but to my mind Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are far more entertaining, and The Merchant of Venice deeper.
My relationship with the Bard’s works began when, at the tender age of six, I went to a Shakespeare in the Park performance of