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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

My Shakespeare!..

Marking the 450th birth anniversary of the famous poet and playwright, Den has prepared a special issue of Route No. 1, featuring British restraint, Ukrainian sincerity, and noble style common for both nations
28 May, 2014 - 18:26

Fans of classical and contemporary art, theater and romance around the world are having a great event this year, as the planet celebrates the 450th birth anniversary of the famous English poet and playwright William Shakespeare. On this occasion, Den has prepared a special issue of its glossy supplement Route No. 1, featuring British restraint, Ukrainian sincerity, and noble style common for both nations.

We know that gala events marking the Shakespeare anniversary started all over the world on April 23, the day that is officially considered to be the birthday of the genius of the Renaissance. We say “considered” because despite the worldwide fame of the English playwright and poet, we know very little about him. Even Shakespeare’s exact birthday date is unknown. Church records say only that the newborn was christened William on April 26, 1564. As per tradition a child was to be baptized within three days of its birth, the researchers agree that birthday may be put at April 23. Ironically, this date was also the date of death of 52-year-old William Shakespeare in 1616. We do not know for certain about his private life or preferences. Experts even believe that most of Shakespeare’s works have been lost, because the texts of his plays were never printed while he lived.

At least half of the image of Shakespeare the man which is available to us consists of oral tradition, legends, and myths. For centuries, scholars have sifted this ore. As a result, a handful of indisputable facts have been excavated by Shakespeare miners. However, they are scattered and often contradictory, making biographers to fill gaps with assumptions and hypotheses. It only adds to the attractiveness of the mysterious figure of the English bard, making it particularly close to anyone who is interested in him and his work. Thus, everyone can get to know “their own Shakespeare” on reading his works. In the latest issue of Route No. 1, our traditional column “Friendly Advice” contains ambassadors of different countries’ answers to the question: what is “their Shakespeare” like? Read, compare, and maybe you will find that you have your Shakespeare in common with some diplomat!

“World has always been rich in artists and authors. However, only a very few of them have been remembered by continents and nations over centuries. Shakespeare is one of the few whose quotes have become part of our lives. He is always relevant. One of his most famous phrases is ‘All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players.’ He was himself such a person that his life still gives rise to many questions: Was Shakespeare the author of Shakespeare’s works? Was there a Shakespeare at all? Shakespeare was unexpected in his creative endeavors, and such authors are either unusually attractive or repulsive. Shakespeare was the first, by the way!” director of the National Cultural, Arts and Museum Complex Mystetsky Arsenal (MA) Natalia Zabolotna said in a comment for Den talking about her own Shakespeare. She said Shakespeare was in high demand in today’s Ukraine. It was supposedly very noticeable from the level of interest in the MA’s project celebrating the anniversary of the British poet and playwright. “In particular, we never expected that the ‘Night of Mysteries,’ part of ‘The Show within the Show’ project, will have about 10,000 visitors. We had a real shock,” Zabolotna told us.

Such high demand level comes actually as no wonder. After all, as Larysa Ivshyna wrote in her traditional column in Route No. 1, we the Ukrainians were living through “a time of genuinely ‘Shakespearean passions.’ We have left the quagmire and, in fact, answered Hamlet’s question ‘To be or not to be?’ in the affirmative. There are many other eternal questions to answer, though, dealing with love and betrayal, loyalty and deceit... and we will answer them throughout our lives. Shakespeare is a symbol of the Renaissance. But is it not a suitable label for our time, too?” Ivshyna asked the reader.

Virtual visit to the font of the British drama, Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon; tips from connoisseur of British esthetics Timur Masautov on how to wear chinos and brogues on the street; British tradition of tea drinking; interesting facts about the great bard; quotes of famous people about Shakespeare; tasty map, cooking guide and poster of the Shakespeare Summer in Kyiv – all this and much more you will find on purchasing the latest issue of Route No. 1, available from press agents as well as online from Den/The Day’s store at www.day.kiev.ua

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