In my 45 years of working on stage I only played in a few works by The Bard of Stratford-On -Avon, all of them small roles: Prince of Aarogon in The Merchant Of Venice, Verges in Much Ado About Nothing, Andrew Auecheek in Twelfth Night, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream & 3rd witch from the left in that Scottish Play. Among the list of roles I never got to play, at the top would be: Malvolio, Shylock, & Caliban... I was probably too short, short on talent & short on chances in my short lifetime.
More has been written about William Shakespeare than any other writer, & it is still being debated whether Shakespeare was Shakespeare. Entire books have been dedicated to the subject, on both sides of the issue. The 3 strongest possibilities for the true identity of the Bard: Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, & Christopher Marlowe were all homosexual.
Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, apparently not intended for publication. 126 of these sonnets address the poet's love for a young man. I, of course, claim him as one of The Gays: handsome, dressed well, preferred to live, work & travel with male companions rather than be home in Stratford with his wife, wrote & acted in plays, & enjoyed cocktails, gossip & shopping. But the real tip off is when he outed himself at the Tony Awards when he thanked his boyfriend with this acceptance speech:
A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
& for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
& by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love & thy love's use their treasure.
William Shakespeare was born on this day- April 23rd. He turns 448 years old.