‘Beware the Ides of March’

As today is the Ides, or the 15th of March – famed as being particularly inauspicious for Julius Caesar, (and he can’t say he wasn’t warned!) – I thought it would be a good date to embark on my latest challenge – to tackle the entire repertoire of Shakespeare’s plays (including those that he may or may not have had ‘help’ with) by reading one a month until I’ve read or seen them all.

Without doubt, some of my most treasured memories growing up were from theatre trips my family took to Stratford upon Avon to see Shakespeare. I’ve been lucky enough to see Sean Bean and Niamh Cusack in ‘Romeo and Juliet’; John Thaw as Wolsey  in ‘Henry VIII’; and Roger Rees as ‘Hamlet’, but of all the plays I’ve seen, I will never forget the experience of seeing Antony Sher play Richard III, His performance was so powerful.

Antony Sher richard iii Shakespeare RSC

I feel so privileged to have been exposed to the beauty and rhythm of the language at a young age, and to have experienced the excitement and tension of live theatre long before I was old enough to know what the hell was going on. I’ve seen and read quite a few of Shakespeare’s plays over the years – recently I’ve even seen some in Welsh, and I look forward to revisiting those as well as reading ones I don’t yet know.

Even though soothsayers by the dozen might advise against starting a new challenge on this of all days, I’m throwing caution to the wind, and clearly my first pick has to be ‘Julius Caesar’. I’m really looking forward to reading it again after so many years, but I’ll be keeping a very beady eye on Brutus!

Brutus Julius Caesar shakespeare