“You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.” ~ Chancellor Gorkon

To celebrate the day traditionally marked as Shakespeare’s birthday, below are some informative, fun, and unusual websites on the Bard.

Start by enjoying rapper and poet Akala discuss the compelling connections between the Bard and hip-hop, and play the game “Hip-Hop? or Shakespeare?” (see how many you can get right):

Then watch Ian McKellen talk about how to read and perform the famous “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech from Macbeth (as one commenter wrote, “Ian McKellen could read Twilight and make it sound good”):

Listen to how the Bard really sounded. Visit the Talk Like Shakespeare page for elocution lessons, a printable poster with ten tips for sounding like Will, and Renaissance recipes.

Grand Avenue

From PBS, In Search of Shakespeare offers detailed information about their series by the same name, lesson plans (such as comparing film adaptations of Hamlet), using primary sources in the classroom, and a choose-your-own-adventure style Playwright Game. Also from PBS is the Which Words Are Will’s Words? Game. More recently, PBS’s series Shakespeare Uncovered is a wealth of online videos and lesson plans. The following excerpt features Jeremy Irons discussing the power of Shakespeare’s language:

If you are a glutton for punishment, take a look at the Shakespeare Insulter. The same site offers a Shakespeare Insult Kit for when you care enough to send the very best insults.

Take the Shakespeare biography quiz and learn Shakespeare in American Sign Language

Whether you teach in a classroom, homeschool, or just want to learn more about Shakespeare, take a look at Surfing with the Bard, “Your Shakespeare Classroom on the Internet.” Serious Shakespeare Geeks will appreciate the Folger Shakespeare Library (as well designed as it is informative). If this doesn’t satisfy your scholarly urges, check out the Horace Howard Furness Shakespeare Library, which houses scanned images of 38 rare Shakespeare texts.

Mel Ryane’s blog, Teaching Will: The Shakespeare Club is subtitled “What school kids give me that Hollywood can’t.” What a treat! As someone who once was co-leader of a Shakespeare group for middle-school children and teens, I was excited to read about Mel’s experience with teaching Shakespeare to even younger children. She writes, “As a volunteer, I created The Shakespeare Club, an after-school program for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Together we grapple with the Bard, life and each other. These are the tales.”

TV Tropes shows Shakespeare’s continued influence in and on popular culture. Have you heard of Shakespeare’s lost play, The Tragedie of Frodo Baggins? Read an excerpt here.

And, from Brian Rivera, Klingon Hamlet (‘taH pagh taHbe’—To be or not to be):

You can even follow Will on Twitter. Finally, take a look at my post at Psychology Today, “Shakespeare for Everyone,” on poetry as an avenue to better self-understanding.

Fare thee well! What are your favorite Shakespeare resources?

Comic courtesy of http://comics.com/.