Week 5

For all trusted Shakespeareans we had a wonderful, jam-packed week, following on the heels of our visit to Bell Shakespeare’s King Lear. This week we visited the Shakespeare Room at the State Library, an amazing space that pays tribute to Shakespeare’s fame and importance in the Australian context. Plans for the room began in 1913 with a view to opening in time for Shakespeare’s tercentenary in 1916. These plans were stalled for quite a few years because of the impact of the first world war…. but the room was eventually completed and stands as a wonderful tribute to the man who, in Anthony Burgess’s famous comment wrote: “To see his face, we need only look in a mirror. He is ourselves, ordinary suffering humanity, fired by moderate ambitions, concerned with money, the victim of desire, all too mortal. To his back, like a hump, was strapped a miraculous but somehow irrelevant talent. It is a talent which, more than any other that the world has seen, reconciles us to being human beings, unsatisfactory hybrids, not good enough for gods, and not good enough for animals. We are all Will. Shakespeare is the name of one of our redeemers.” What a wonderful acknowledgement of the fact that, despite his antiquated language, Shakespeare remains a mirror for us all -in our many complex and contradictory states of mind. Shakespeare does indeed reconcile us to ourselves. As ever, the library staff at the Mitchell (Helen with Ben in the background) prepared a marvelous feast of original texts for us to peruse. There is nothing like the feel and smell of a book that was actually printed and read in the early 1600s. Here are a few of our Shakespeareans taking part in this feast:

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