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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Crowds of Confused Theater-Goers Wandering Aimlessly Around the Louisville Theater District

From the Louisville Daily Courier, April 9, 1861 (right below an ad: “Wonderful for Hooping Cough”)

William Shakespeare can be seen Friday night at the theater.

[Ed.: That’s it. That’s the whole piece. This, of course, raises all kinds of questions. Are we suggesting that William Shakespeare – who conventional biographies report died in April 1616 – HIMSELF made a public appearance in Louisville in 1861? If so, why wasn’t there more publicity about this event? I for one would have wanted a personal interview with the Bard to ask why he chose Louisville for his “return engagement.” Surely this isn’t what theater folks mean by a “revival?” And if this is a much more mundane report that something by William Shakespeare is being presented . . . well, William Shakespeare, depending on the critic you’re reading, wrote anywhere from 38 to 50 plays. Are they performing one of the plays but want to keep it a surprise? Well sorry, but I’m gonna show up for Lear or the Scottish play a lot sooner than a revival of Cymbeline. And I’m gonna be REALLY annoyed if it’s just somebody on stage reading the Sonnets or one of the epic poems. I mean, the Sonnets are wonderful poetry, but neither the Sonnets or the poems would exactly make for a pulse-pounder of a night at the theater. And even if I manage to get over all that and take a flier on whatever they’re doing here, note that they don’t enlighten us as to WHICH theater will be hosting the performance, or when the performance of whatever they have in mind will be beginning. So if there’s a story a few days later about a crowd of Louisvillians in formal dress aimlessly wandering the Louisville theater district Friday night, going from theater to theater and yelling at ticket agents, I’m blaming whoever wrote this.

And don’t even get me started on what kind of mental image “hooping” cough conjures up.]

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