Category Archives: Shakespeare

Ancient World Now: Coriolanus, Part I

Click here for direct link to audio podcast Episode #57.

Click here for link to previous audio episodes.

London was amazing, as usual, and I couldn’t have done more in the 2 weeks I was there. There is much to tell you about my trip, but I am still organizing all the notes I took and will make them available in some form soon. In the meantime, here is the first of two parts of Plutarch’s Coriolanus, who most of us know from Shakespeare’s play. You will be interested to know that Shakespeare got most of his information on the ancient world from Plutarch’s Lives. This fall you will be hearing the retelling of Plutarch’s life of Julius Caesar, the historical personage who most interested Shakespeare, judging from the many references and allusions made to him across the entirety of Shakespeare’s work. Enjoy today’s episode from Plutarch’s Lives for Boys & Girls, retold by W.H. Weston, and illustrated by W. Rainey, published in London & Edinburgh in the early 1900′s.

Ancient World Now:Isis

Click here for direct link to audio Episode #17.

Click here for previous episodes.

Come by the San Francisco Main Library this Thursday & Friday for my Shakespeare Kidquake event. On Thursday from 11:15-noon a 5th grade class does A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On Friday from 3-5 pm, a bunch of teens do Theatre Terminate, my Shakespeare death scenes performance. Stop in to say hi!

“Oh mighty Is-is-is-isssss!” A cool 70’s morning show that I used to watch. Ah, the good old days. Lounging around on a Saturday morning. And guess what! Our 70’s heroine was a teacher who transformed into Isis to fight the forces of evil! Maybe she was my inspiration! “You will soar as the falcon soars!” Except that looks like a raven.

My favorite part of Isis worship is the nilometer, for the waters of the Nile were sacred. In fact, a jug of water from the Nile was included in their rituals, no matter how far from Egypt the devotees were. Nilometers, measured sea levels & were built in port cities around the Mediterranean to determine sea levels. Very cool old school mechanical instrument to open the season of navigation in the spring—and the annual flooding of the Nile River. This flooding was essential for the growing of grain along the banks of the Nile. Egypt was famous in the ancient world for its grain production and was the chief factor in Rome’s subjugation of Egypt. Without Egypt’s grain supply, the Roman empire would have collapsed and mass starvation would have occurred.

The nilometers were made obsolete when the Nile was dammed in the 20th century. Ah, progress….

Here’s our real honest-to-goodness Isis:
Love that headdress!

Litquake 2010

Once again, I’ll be doing a workshop for kids at this year’s Litquake. Kidquake & Teenquake are held at the San Francisco
Public Library’s Main branch at the Civic Center. Here are the deets for my Teenquake event:

Has Shakespeare gone mad? Everybody dies in a tragedy, so join the mayhem in this death scenes workshop.
Check it all out with Gwen Minor at
Here is a challenge for those of you who have done Shakespeare with me. Match each Shakespeare character with his or her final words.

Desdemona “As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,—O Antony! —Nay, I will take thee too. What should I stay—“
Julius Caesar “O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die.”
Romeo “Farewell: commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell!”
Cleopatra “The rest is silence.”
Juliet “Mine & my father’s death come not upon thee, nor thine on me!”
Hamlet “Here’s to my love! O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.”
Laertes “Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar.”