Oh, stop telling me not to read Shakespeare!

Britain's newspaper, Daily Mail, interviewed Ian McKellen, who “wants us all to put down our books and stop trying to learn the plays before we’ve seen them. ‘It’s not what ordinary people should have to bother with. That’s for the actors to do. The plays weren’t written to be read, they were written to be spoken out loud and acted and for an audience to watch.’”


Us ordinary people should not read the plays. We must let the actors read Shakespeare and they will convey what it all means, all the depths and nuances and irony, in their interpretation of the play. Which is also cut.

Oh, I do apologize for being such a snot, but it is so sad to me that millions of people are encouraged away from an up-close-and-personal relationship with the plays of Shakespeare, one we can create by engaging with the text ourselves. Of course we should also watch performances, but please stop telling me that is the only possible way to experience Shakespeare!

I need to write to Sir Ian and remind him that the First Folio is dedicated “To the Great Variety of Readers.”  ;-)

Have you run across statements or been told in person that you must not read the plays? Tell us about it in the Comments below! If you have suggestions for responses, let us know that as well.  ;-)