How well are they living, is the question. Some may feel that his collected writings are simply strangely worded stories and poems that only stuffy English professor types care for.
The fact that many of his plays are assigned reading for high school students tends to make folks think of Shakespeare as the bookish version of "eat your vegetables", something that's supposed to be good for you but not very tasty. Fortunately, we have many fine examples of pop culture creators who are keeping Shakespeare as fresh and fun with a dash of post modern flavor that excites and inspires. In honor of his birthday, let us peruse a a fine assortment of millennial Shakespearean delights:
Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Hamlet. I thought Macbeth would be a good starting point, getting the tragic side of Shakespeare up front and center.
The mix of humor and analysis(which is part of the Wisecrack channel that was founded due to the success of Thug Notes) given to each play is not just a spoonful of sugar to get the educational medicine down. Rather, Thug Notes has become a brilliant showcase for many literary classics, with Shakespeare being one of the many recipients of such lit largess that helps it maintain it's smart street cred:
An odd pairing to be sure, yet the assist of comediennes Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart made this match-up all the more amusing:
However, Joss Whedon proved in 2010 that you didn't need all of those cinematic fuss and feathers to bring a Shakespearean work to new audiences. Filming in black and white(as well as using his own house as the setting), Whedon was able to cast many of his acting friends to take part in his production of Much Ado About Nothing.
Yes, modern dress and locations have been used before for Shakespeare but by keeping the whole outer layer of the story simply styled, Whedon and company were able to give this tale of romantic misunderstandings a contemporary feeling that made all the right moves:
The original trilogy is complete, with titles such as Verily, A New Hope and The Jedi Doth Return. I'm afraid to say that the prequels are also available in this format but perhaps a blending of the Bard can make them more bearable.
I don't know if The Force Awakens will be reforged in this creative fire but I do know one thing and that it would be immensely entertaining to see these sci-fi sagas acted live on stage:
I hope you all have enjoyed this present day look at the glories of Shakespeare and celebrate his birthday with much vigor and joy. It just goes to show how a true classic never goes out of style on any stage, not to mention how hard it can be to be the Bard: