by Chris Lucas
The Keating Files – April 23, 2021
Today is the 405th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, arguably THE greatest writer in the history of the English language.
Shakespeare was so influential that his works introduced hundreds of every day words and phrases into our lives. His imaginary slang and expressions became accepted as common.
His prolific work has also been adapted and copied for centuries. Shakespeare’s name appears as co-writer or “story by” in over 2,000 films and TV shows.
There’s not a person alive who isn’t in some way familiar with one of Shakespeare’s plots, invented words, unique phrases or characters.
As both a writer and an actor, I owe a great debt to The Bard of Avon.
When I was six my grandmother gave me a children’s adaptation of some of his great stories, and she continued to give me Shakespeare books each birthday, culminating in his full folio bound in leather when I was 16.
I’d spend hours in my room reading and performing those scenes and sonnets to nobody in particular, which improved my vocabulary, diction and timing.
Professionally, I’ve only done two of his shows on stage. I played Touchstone in “As You Like It” and also King Lear’s Fool (a part I was born to play.) My goal was Hamlet one day, but I never did get to that, and now my age and waist line puts me more in the Falstaffian range.
On my bucket list still is performing Shakespeare in Central Park and being in the groundlings pit watching one of his classics performed live at the Globe Theater in England.
Thank you, Master Shakespeare, for inspiring generations with the reminder that “To be a well favored person is a gift of fortune, but to write and read is a gift of nature.”
Chris Lucas is an actor, writer, something of a cultural historian, and the author ofTop Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, from the Man to the Mouse and Beyond.
On the PRESS CLUB C Podcast, enjoy Ray’s discussion with Chris Lucas about his career as an actor, author and Disney expert. Tune in right here!