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The latest news on Shakespeare from Business Insider

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    Viola as Sebastian She's the Man

    "She's the Man" is not only an underrated teen comedy, but stands as the greatest Shakespeare adaptation since "10 Things I Hate About You."

    The 2006 movie stars Amanda Bynes as Viola Hastings — a high school soccer player with a twin named Sebastian. When her soccer team gets cut and Sebastian ditches school to play music in London, Viola decides to pose as her twin brother and join the rival high school's soccer team. 

    While wearing her disguise, Viola falls in love with her roommate Duke. But Duke (played flawlessly by Channing Tatum) is already in love with Olivia, who in turn is crushing on "Sebastian" (who is really Viola). 

    Sound familiar? This is basically the entire plot of "Twelfth Night"— a comedic play written by Shakespeare sometime around 1600 — except in Shakespeare's play, Viola believes her brother Sebastian died at sea.

    She's the Man 'chew like you have a secret' ViolaThe brilliance of "She's The Man" lies in its subtle re-telling of "Twelfth Night." I was 15 years old when the movie first came out, and unaware of pretty much anything written by Shakespeare that wasn't "Romeo and Juliet,""Hamlet," or "MacBeth."

    Bynes' unique brand of physical comedy is written into a story that requires no background in "Twelfth Night" in order for teen viewers to appreciate it. The movie came out the same year as "Step Up" (Tatum's breakout film), which means you get peak athletic, but doofy and not-yet-famous Tatum. Man-candy and Bynes' humor aside, the story also works to defy stereotypical gender roles — a theme welcome in any teen rom com.

    Once you do learn a thing or two about Shakespeare and "Twelfth Night," the movie-watching experience is only enhanced. 

    The clever ways in which names and locations are re-purposed is one big part of the "She's The Man" magic. Viola, Olivia, and Sebastian all have identical names and plots, but Tatum's character Duke Orsino has a twist. 

    In the play, Viola falls in love with the Duke of Illyria — a man named Orsino. "She's The Man" named Tatum's character Duke Orsino, and the school he attends is called Illyria Academy.

    There are other character name quirks like this. A "Twelfth Night" character named Malvolio is another man who loves Olivia, and Feste is the fool in Olivia's court. But "She's The Man" combined these into the character Malcolm Feste, and gave him a pet tarantula named Malvolio instead. 

    Malcolm and Malvolio She's the ManThere are plenty of other hidden references to Shakespeare throughout the story. Viola's debutante ball takes place at the Stratford Country Club, riffing on Shakespeare's own hometown. Several side characters take their names and personalities from other play characters, like the Illyria headmaster Horatio (played by David Cross) or a popular date spot Cesario's.

    Shakespearean roots aside, "She's The Man" is a darn fun movie. Roger Ebert gave it three stars back in 2006, and said Bynes "is convincing, and her poise, under the circumstances, is extraordinary." The excellent mid '00s soundtrack includes the All American Rejects, OK Go, and The Veronicas. Plus there are no fewer than four jokes about flirting with the opening line: "Do you like cheese?" 

    If you've never see "She's The Man," I forgive you. But only if you swear to rectify that life mistake by watching it within the next 48 hours. This is a teen comedy worthy of everyone's one hour and 30 minutes, especially given its perfect Shakesperean adaption choices.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    they pronoun gender neutral lgbt trans

    "Every student should do the best they can."

    If you're a grammar purist, that sentence may have made you cringe.

    Standard English dictates the word "they," a plural pronoun, should never be used to refer to a single person. Since "student" is a singular noun, you'd need a singular pronoun like "he" or "she" to match it.

    A high-school English teacher, however, wrote a convincing argument about why he'll no longer mark that usage as incorrect in his students' essays. His decision could reflect a dramatic shift in the English language.

    In a column for PBS NewsHour, 38-year teaching veteran Steve Gardiner of Billings, Montana, said that forbidding the singular "they" has outlived its usefulness.

    "I have burned up hundreds of red pens, and hours of time, correcting this grammatical usage based on a traditional gender binary of he and she. It's time to move on," Gardiner wrote.

    "They" has gained considerable traction recently as a singular pronoun. The Washington Post added "they" to its style guide last year to accommodate "people who identify as neither male nor female." And in January, the American Dialect Society declared "they" its Word of the Year in a vote among linguists, grammarians, and lexicographers.

    "It does say something about the way people are exploring gender and sexual identity, and perhaps a greater openness to accepting new ways of expressing that identity through language," Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society's new words committee, told Business Insider in January. "It feels like an opening up of the language, allowing for a greater possibility of what these pronouns can refer to."

    By accepting the singular "they," Gardiner wrote, we can finally throw away the awkward constructions English speakers have invented to circumvent the issue.

    Decades ago, masculine pronouns could be used to refer to someone of either sex, like in the sentence "The writer must address his readers' concerns." In the legendary writing guide "Elements of Style," EB White and William Strunk advised rewording that sentence to "As a writer, you must address your readers' concerns," according to the New Republic's John McWhorter. It's a compromise that sacrifices the conciseness of the original, though.

    As society became more inclusive, English saw the advent of more workarounds, including the clunky "he/she" and the unpronounceable "s/he." And dozens of gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed over the years — including "heesh,""thon," and "zie," although none of them came close to catching on.

    Meanwhile, the history of the singular "they" goes back centuries, as McWhorter pointed out in another piece. Shakespeare used the possessive form in his "Comedy of Errors," first performed in 1594:

    "There's not a man I meet but doth salute me / As if I were their well-acquainted friend"

    As singular "they" creeps into the lexicons of writers and media figures, it's only a matter of time before it becomes fully accepted. Ultimately, Gardiner acknowledges the fight against the singular "they" is futile:

    "Having fought this battle with students for more than three decades, I am ready to admit defeat. Every student is going to write what they want. Every broadcaster is going to say what they want. There, I even wrote it myself, and most readers probably did not notice."

    Read Gardiner's column here »

    SEE ALSO: A simple pronoun has been named 2015's Word of the Year

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The legacy of Shakespeare's famous Globe Theater is still around 400 years later. A collection of architects and designers have formed the Container Globe, an effort to build a reconstruction of the Globe Theater, entirely out of repurposed shipping containers.

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    LONDON (AP) — Oxford University Press says its new edition of William Shakespeare's works will co-credit Christopher Marlowe on the three Henry VI plays.

    The decision announced Monday for the upcoming edition comes after a team of scholars using modern analytical methods revisited the question of whether Shakespeare collaborated with others.

    The research suggests that experts underestimated the extent to which Shakespeare collaborated with others.

    The publisher says that "identifying Marlowe's hand in the Henry VI plays is just one of the fresh features of this project."

    The experts included Gary Taylor of Florida State University and John Jowett at the University of Birmingham.

    The authorship of Shakespeare's works has long been disputed, with one theory being that philosopher Sir Francis Bacon is the true author of the works.

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    At a 92Y event moderated by Robert Krulwich, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discusses whether one type of genius is better than the rest.

    This program was originally recorded at 92Y. 

    Watch more:

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    julius caesar trump

    Delta Air Lines pulled its sponsorship from New York City's Public Theater on Sunday because one of its plays depicts the assassination of a politician who looks like President Donald Trump.

    The theater company's production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" features actors wearing modern dress and a blond, business suit-wearing title character. The character is stabbed to death in a bloody scene midway through the play.

    "No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values," Delta said in a statement. "Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste."

    The play is running through June 18 as part of the Public Theater's popular "Shakespeare in the Park" series in Manhattan's Central Park.

    Hosts of the Fox News morning program "Fox and Friends" criticized the play earlier Sunday.

    "A disgusting New York City play depicting the president brutally assassinated, all while being funded by your taxpayer dollars," a Fox host said as she introduced a segment about the play.

    Donald Trump Jr. chimed in as well, tweeting a Fox News article about the segment and asking "Serious question, when does 'art' become political speech & does that change things?"

    Before pulling its sponsorship, Delta responded to the Fox News tweet with the statement, "We do not support this interpretation of Julius Caesar."

    A note on the play's website, from director Oskar Eustis, addresses the provocative scene.

    "'Julius Caesar is about how fragile democracy is. The institutions that we have inherited from the struggle of many generations of our ancestors, can be swept away in no time at all," it reads, in part.

    "The difficulty in determining the protagonist of 'Julius Caesar — there are at least four credible candidates — is not a formal weakness of the play, but rather essential to its structure. When history is happening, when the ground is slipping away from under us and all that is solid melts into air, leadership is as transitory and flawed as the times."

    SEE ALSO: People were left utterly confused by Sen. John McCain's bizarre questioning of James Comey

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    game of thrones

    Is seeing graphic, violent content onstage different than watching it on a screen? The Royal Shakespeare Company is using science to find out.

    The British theater troupe is currently performing "Titus Andronicus" in Stratford-upon-Avon. Considered Shakespeare’s goriest play, "Titus" includes scenes where characters are raped and mutilated, or have their hands chopped off. And the RSC production (which The Guardian called “blood-drenched”) puts this graphic content front and center.

    The theater wants to find out whether modern-day audiences are desensitized to this violence, or if it still shocks. So, as The New York Times first reported, the RSC—in partnership with the British market research firm Ipsos MORI—will monitor the heart rates of 10 selected audience members at three Titus Andronicus performances (for a total of 30 subjects in all).

    Then in August, as a basis of comparison, 30 people will wear heart rate monitors while they watch a screening of "Titus Andronicus" at a British movie theater—the filmed performance will not be one of the three that was monitored live.

    The stage and screen groups will be demographically matched based on age, theater experience and gender to achieve a comparable set of results.

    RSC head of audience insight Becky Loftus told the Times that the theater is conducting the experiment because audience members have been fainting or getting sick almost every night—the same phenomenon has occurred during the Broadway production of "1984."

    “We want to see how the audience reacts physically to the production,” Loftus said. “Are people so used to things like (Quentin) Tarantino and 'Game of Thrones' that they’re not shocked anymore by theater magic, or theater blood and gore?”

    Results from the project will be published in November. And any Americans curious about "Titus Andronicus" (which is performed in modern dress like the Public Theater’s controversial "Julius Caesar") can see for themselves when the production is screened here in September.

    SEE ALSO: RANKED: The best TV of 2017 so far

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    William Shakespeare is most famous for his plays. But he also invented many words and phrases that we still use today in everyday life. 

    We put together a list of our 21 favorites. Check them out:


    "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. ..."

    How Shakespeare uses it: "Puking" was first recorded in Shakespeare's "As You Like It." It was likely an English imitation of the German word "spucken," which means to spit.

    Modern definition: A synonym for the verb "to vomit."

    Source: "As You Like It," Act 2, Scene 7

    "Vanish into thin air"

    "Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll away. Go; vanish into air; away!" (Othello)

    How Shakespeare uses it: The Clown says this to the musicians in "Othello" to make them go away.

    But some have also suggested that there is a darker underlying meaning. Act 3 in Othello is the final act that suggests that all of this might have a happy ending. It gets pretty dark starting in Act 4. So the Clown might be symbolically asking musicians and all happy things to "vanish into thin air" because there's no more room for them in the play.

    A similar phrase is also found in "The Tempest."

    Modern definition: To disappear without a trace.

    Sources: "Othello," Act 3, Scene 1, "The Tempest," Act 4, Scene 1

    "There's a method to my madness"

    "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?"

    How Shakespeare uses it: Polonius says it in "Hamlet," basically suggesting that there is reason behind apparent chaos.

    Modern definition: The meaning is the same nowadays, although the language is a bit updated into modern terms. It is also a Bee Gees song.

    Source: "Hamlet," Act 2, Scene 2

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    The Royal Shakespeare Company's costume workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon is home to some of the most famous outfits in British theatre history.

    There are about 30,000 items inside – worn by Richard Burton, Vivien Leigh, Ben Kingsley, David Tennant, and other actors.

    Some of the oldest and most valuable pieces are on display at The Play's The Thing exhibition. There is also Richard Burton's Henry V costume from 1951, the performance that launched the actor onto a Hollywood career.

    In the workshop, about 2,000 costumes and props are made each year by a team of 30 people. This makes it the largest in-house costume-makers of any British theatre.

    Due to the number of items, the RSC holds costume sales every 4-5 years to make space. The workshop buildings, which are from 1887, also need to be refurbished. 

    The Company hopes to raise £3 million with the Stitch in Time campaign to redevelop the costume workshop to modern standards.

    Produced and filmed by Claudia Romeo

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    reading book student library

    • Majoring in English doesn't mean your only career option is to become a writer. 
    • There are plenty of well-paying career options for English majors.
    • Two examples of great positions English majors can get are: human resource generalist, and marketing director.

    "I see thou art an English major?" (Translation for non-Shakespearean scholars: "Why are you an English major?")

    Fear not, English majors have some well-paying career options, says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst for online salary database

    "If you want to major in English and earn a lot of money, you don't have to figure out how to do that as a writer," she says. "Take your communication and analytical-thinking skills and apply them in other areas."

    Check out this list of the best-paying jobs for workers who have bachelor's degrees in English and five-to-eight years of experience in their field.

    Sales account manager

    A sales account manager maintains business relationships with existing clients and seeks opportunities for new clients—tasks that require strong written and oral communication skills. Because English majors learn critical thinking, they are well-suited to handle the problem-solving and strategizing issues involved in this job.

    Median salary: $67,300 per year

    IT project manager

    Working as an IT project manager is much like diagramming sentences—breaking down something complex and then building or reconstructing it. IT project managers plan, coordinate, and direct technology-related activities, from installing and upgrading computer software to building network security measures.

    To land this job, you'll want to punctuate your grammar skills with computer knowledge. Employers often prefer a bachelor's degree in a computer- or information science-related field. Graduate degrees are sometimes required.

    Median salary: $67,000 per year

    Proposal manager

    Remember persuasive writing? Proposal managers use those same skills to help their organizations land new work. They coordinate writers, illustrators, and other team members to prepare proposals on behalf of their company for contracted projects, like building a school. English majors' mastery of language and details help them excel in this role.

    Median salary: $65,000 per year

    Web developer

    Web developers design and create websites and sometimes even write the content. They are responsible for the site's performance, capacity, and look. A high school diploma may be enough to get started in this field, but an associate or bachelor's degree is sometimes required. You'll need a full understanding of computer languages, such as HTML.

    "Being an English major prepared me with critical-thinking skills that I use all the time as a web developer," says David Feld, who worked as a newspaper editor and reporter before starting his own Web development business in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2011. "Having that strong writing background helped set me apart from competitors."

    Median salary: $58,500 per year

    Nonprofit executive director

    Nonprofit executive directors devise strategies and policies to ensure an organization meets its goals. They oversee an organization's finances, manage staff, write grants, and work with the community.

    "An English degree gives you such a great, flexible foundation from which to build a career," says Laurie Dean Torrell, executive director of Just Buffalo Literary Center in Buffalo. "Every step of my career, I've benefited from having that foundation."

    Median salary: $55,200 per year

    Human resources generalist

    An HR generalist handles all aspects of human resources work, including recruitment; employee relations; payroll and benefits; training; and administering human resources policies, procedures, and programs. Communication skills are important when explaining these policies to employees.

    Most employers prefer a bachelor's degree in human resources, business or a related field. A certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute is recommended because it shows knowledge and competence across all areas of HR.

    Median salary: $54,000 per year

    Marketing director

    Fans of creative writing will likely end up here. A marketing director needs to come up with great ideas and encourage others to do the same. Marketing directors plan, direct, and coordinate the marketing of an organization's products or services. Work experience in marketing, sales, advertising, and promotions is essential.

    Median salary: $53,200 per year

    Managing editor

    A managing editor is responsible for the daily operation of a news department at a newspaper, magazine, or TV station. Duties include editing content for proper context, planning content, and approving final versions of stories. Today, familiarity with web design, multimedia production, and other electronic-publishing methods keeps a job candidate competitive.

    Median salary: $53,000 per year

    Marketing communications manager 

    Mar-comm managers create clear, compelling, and concise communications about an organization's marketing strategy. Their work can include coordinating press releases and website content, developing promotional strategies and campaigns, and editing white papers.

    Employers usually seek candidates with bachelor's degrees in English, communications, journalism, public relations, or business.

    Median salary: $50,500 per year

    Technical writer

    Technical writers produce instructional manuals and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.

    After earning her English degree in 2005 from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, Krystal Gabel held substitute-teaching, library, and newspaper jobs. Since July 2011, she's worked as a technical writer for ACI, an Omaha company that writes software for the banking industry. She loves the challenge of deciphering complicated, technical language for numerous audiences.

    "We're given raw material, and we have to make something of it," she said. "It's problem-solving for [the client]. That's what I like most about being a tech writer."

    Median salary: $49,100 per year

    SEE ALSO: The 25 highest-paying jobs in America in 2017

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    anne hathaway and adam shulman

    • Recently, people have been buzzing about how Anne Hathaway doesn't seem to have aged at all since "The Princess Diaries" was released in 2001, but now, something even stranger has started making the rounds.
    • One Twitter user pointed out that Hathaway's husband looks just like William Shakespeare — and she shares the same name as Shakespeare's wife.
    • Now, people are hitting Twitter to talk about this eerie connection.

    Anne Hathaway might have been off the grid for awhile, but she's back — and since "Ocean's 8" hit theaters last month, she's become a huge topic of conversation. But now fans are buzzing about her for a different reason, and it all has to do with William Shakespeare.

    As Twitter user @PEACHYBLACKG0RL pointed out, there are more than a few connections between Hathaway and Shakespeare, and now, her tweet is going viral with more than 160,000 retweets and growing.

    "Anne hathaway is being talked about for her beauty but what about the fact that her husband looks very similar to William Shakespeare and William Shakespeare's wife's name was literally ANNE HATHAWAY......" the tweet read.

    Strangely enough, this is all true. There obviously aren’t any actual photographs of Shakespeare, but the artwork that does exist showing what he looked like is very similar to Hathaway’s real-life husband, Adam Shulman. And as for Shakespeare’s wife herself? She was, in fact, named Anne Hathaway. Spooky, right?

    Maybe not. According to a 2008 article in The Telegraph, Hathaway was actually purposefully named after Shakespeare’s wife, but the actress herself has yet to confirm that fact — and it still doesn’t explain why her husband looks so much like poet.

    And of course, plenty of people have turned to Twitter to share how much their minds have been blown because of this connection.

    So what’s the deal with Hathaway and Shulman? Are they actually time travelers, or is this all just one big coincidence? Either way, it’s pretty cool that she and the legendary poet (and his wife) share these similarities.

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