On Wednesday, the Library of Congress rung in William Shakespeares birthday with a celebration worthy of a standing ovation at the Globe Theater. Actors from the Shakespeare Theater Companys Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University presented scenes from Macbeth, Cymbeline, The Tempest, Richard III and Julius Caesar. (My own 10th grade recitation of Marc Anthonys Friends, Romans, Countrymen speech which I can still do to some degree probably would have been more worthy of a thrown rotten tomato.)
This annual celebration is one of the highlights of the Librarys literary year and always attracts a large crowd.
The Bards birthday is actually observed on April 23, but its not really known if that date is accurate. What is known is that William was baptized on April 26, 1564, at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Religious custom at the time required a child to be baptized on the nearest Sunday or other holy day following the birth, unless there was a legitimate reason not to. April 23 was actually a Sunday, with the feast day of St. Mark the Evangelist following on the 25th. However, scholars have noted that St. Marks Day was considered unlucky, and superstition may have stopped the Shakespeares from baptizing their son at that time. Also, the Bard died on April 23, 1616, making for a rather attractive symmetry for biographers.