UB libraries honor the birth and death of Shakespeare

Shakespeare Read-A-Thon brings readings to life


Barbara Bono teaches drama by rapping to William Shakespeare.

She was inspired by students who rapped Eminem and said it brings Shakespeare’s play to today’s world.

Bono, a UB associate English professor, and UB librarians held a Shakespeare Read-A-Thon on April 21 in the Lockwood Memorial Library Lobby to honor Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary of his birth and death. UB students and professors read out some of Shakespeare’s most iconic works in honor of the anniversary. The event had over 30 speakers including students, professors and guest speakers.

“Shakespeare is the touchstone of culture,” Bono said. “It’s because he was such a cultural figure and the brightest of his period.”

There were over 100 people who attended the event throughout the day.

Bono, who organized the event, said the libraries decided to make it the kickoff event for this period of time.

“The read-a-thon is just one very good way to take an author who has a lot of lively production and give everybody a stake in reading it, [and] thinking about it,” she said.

Jordan Diggory, a senior music theater major, found out about the event from his history professor. He performed a few monologues including the first Shakespeare monologue from Julius Caesar that he ever memorized.

“I had heard it and the power of the words really struck me,” Diggory said.

Kathryn Sands, a junior English major and assistant to Bono, said she chose to recite Sonnet 8 because she likes the “let the good things in life happen to you” theme and the sound of the sonnet.

Stephen Wisker, a Ph.D theater student, performed in many of the event’s monologues and said he knows the plays well from reading, acting and directing them.

Wisker, who considers himself to be a “Shakespeare nerd,” has acted in Shakespeare In Delaware Park series in Buffalo. He will be directing the play Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at UB in the fall. He read Shakespeare’s “Henry IV”in Bono’s Honors College Shakespeare reading group.

There are many exhibits throughout each of UB’s libraries including a display of Shakespeare’s plays in Lockwood Library, according to Bono.

UB stores two of Shakespeare’s folios in its rare book collections.

The read-a-thon is part of a yearlong series of academic events, according to Bono.

The series is called: “Object and Adaptation: The Worlds of Shakespeare and Cervantes.”

Hannah Stein is the co-senior news editor and can be reached at hannah.stein@ubspectrum.com