You Know You’re a Shakespearean Actor When…

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

June 17, 2016

Like me, if you know and love, love, love The Bard, you’ll find yourself nodding your head at most (if not all) of these.

You have a list of Shakespeare’s plays with three categories you are dying to check off: Read It, Seen It, Performed It.

Your eye twitches when people pronounce “wanton” like “wonton.”

You catch people staring at you when you count the syllables of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter on your fingers repeatedly while doing scansion.

You need a broom to sweep up the eraser shavings after you mark, erase, and re-mark stressed words and syllables.

Your breves and slashes ( ? and ` ) start to look the same after you’ve been doing scansion for three hours straight.

You catch yourself often thinking about how you would perform Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” speech.

You quietly giggle to yourself every time you understand a dirty joke disguised in a metaphor.

You’ve always wanted to do a Sharks-and-Jets-style opening to Romeo & Juliet (even though West Side Story is based on R&J).

You’ve played a cross-dressing girl, and during at least one of those times, your costume included a pair of ridiculously large nerd glasses, a fake hook-on beard, a wig, or all of the above.

You can insult someone without saying a single cuss word. “Thou cream-faced loon.”

You bought your first Shakespearean lexicon in high school, and by now the pages are falling out.

You know more about Greek and Roman mythology than any person should because of Shakespeare’s innumerable allusions.

You consider Cymbeline, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, and The Merchant of Venice dramas, but they’re classified as comedies. This drives you absolutely insane.

You don’t even consider classifying the problem plays like Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All’s Well That Ends Well because…well, that’s a waste of time.

Your head explodes every time someone says that “wherefore” means “where”. You know it means “why”.

You bring movie adaptations of Shakespearean plays to parties thinking they’ll be a great movie to watch. No one pays attention, and you are left alone as everyone leaves the room.

You argue with your Shakespearean-actor friends about whether or not all of Shakespeare’s plays are connected.

You vehemently reject the theory that Shakespeare did not exist. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that.

You can’t believe that Two Noble Kinsmen, Henry VIII, Edward III, and Cardenio (or The Second Maiden’s Tragedy) are not included in most complete works volumes. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PUBLISHERS?” you scream into the night.

You go insane trying to figure out if Love’s Labours Won is the alternate title of Much Ado About Nothing or As You Like It.

You shed a tear when you think about Shakespeare’s lost plays being burned in the Globe Theatre fire of 1613.

When you find another Shakespeare nerd, you feel like you’ve found family.

You’ve memorized the Othello rap.

Read our other articles on Shakespeare:

– 6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Shakespearean Monologue

– Top 10 Reasons You Should Do Shakespeare (At Least Once)

– 10 Tips for Performing Shakespeare

* Banner image © Liz Lauren from the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright and a Shakespearean trained actor.