Not what we give, but what we share.

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A “close” reading of Shakespeare moves slowly and carefully, uncovering original meanings of words, keeping track of themes and motifs, making sure every line is understood and ambiguities are explored—all the things you cannot get if you limit yourself to seeing the plays on stage. We get through about 175 to 200 lines in two hours in this reading group, talking and laughing and exploring. At the end of Act 5, we then read the play straight through and see a production—we are always astounded at how much more we see in the play!

If you think you know a lot about Shakespeare, try a close reading and see what unexpected treasures appear! If you are new to Shakespeare, this is a great way to be introduced to why the plays are considered so great.

This is a non-academic discussion and non-performance-based reading! We read aloud and talk about it, and everyone finds they have insights to share. Silent readers are also most welcome! Feel free to drop in and check it out.

There is a $2 fee per person per Sunday, payable at the door.

The Close Readers meet from 11 to 1 every Sunday morning 

The Close-Enough Readers meet from 1:30 to 3:30 every Sunday afternoon. We are in a history cycle, starting with Richard II, then on to the Henry IV plays and Henry V. If all agree, we will carry on with the three Henry VI plays and finish with Richard III, having seen the dynasties rise and fall over the years. The Close-Enough Readers move a little faster (about an act per Sunday) because we want to see the grand overview of this genre of the plays. 

Please provide a first and last name (even if it is not your real last name) so we can tell apart people with the same first names! It is also extremely thoughtful if you provide an actual photo of yourself so other members in the community can recognize you. Thank you!

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What we do at a Shakespeare Close Read

Our group is very non-intimidating. No one HAS to read—we have many people who have never read a line but thoroughly enjoy listening and participating in the discussion. Some people have been coming for four years and never said a word and that's just fine too!

Each week we carefully go through about 175–200 lines. We stop after every couple of lines and make sure we know what it means, how it relates to the play, what we learned, what we see, etc. With all these bright minds, we all discover amazing riches that we hadn't noticed before.

The following week we first read straight through the section we closely read the week before. Then we start the close read. We have a short break at noon.

Post-it notes are on the board with the character names for those who want to read. You just grab a part as you come in if you want to read aloud. There are two sets of Post-it notes: One set, labeled "straight-through" is for the characters in the straight-through reading of what we close-read last week. The other set of Post-it notes is for the characters in today's Close Read. Those readers get interrupted every half minute!

Robin, who usually facilitates, makes a BEEP sound to interrupt and open clarification and/or discussion. Anyone can also beep at any time if they need clarification or want to comment, although she beeps VERY often!

We have readers of all levels and no one is discouraged or corrected.

We have extra copies of the play for visitors to borrow. You'll find it's a very welcoming group with no pressure whatsoever. No one will ever put you on the spot! Come join us, even if you're just passing through town!

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Welcome to Shakespeare Close Readers!

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Founded Oct 4, 2012

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