Take two cultural icons—William Shakespeare, the English poet, playwright and actor who is considered one of the best writers in the English language and the movie Mean Girls which was released 15 years ago and stars Tina Fey, one of my favorite comedians and you have tales of passion, toxic envy, back-stabbing (both literal and figurative) and intense power struggles (for kingdoms or, in the case of Mean Girls, to belong to the most popular high school clique.
Now, Ian Doescher, a best selling author has combined the two in the recently introduced Pop Shakespeare series from Quirk Books, starting with two books, William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls and William Shakespeare’s Get Thee Back to the Future. Both cost $12.99 each.
Doescher, who earned a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, has taken the Bard’s comedic play Much Ado About Nothing (nothing signifying a great deal of fuss over something of little importance) and Mean Girls which tells the story of Cady Heron, a home-schooled child of anthropologists raised in Africa who enrolls in an American high school.
Written in iambic pentameter, the style of poetry favored by Shakespeare, the books are in a play format. If you’re like me and forgot exactly what iambic pentameter is, Doescher explains that it’s a line of poetry with a very specific syllabic patter.
“The iamb has two syllables and pentameter mean they are five iambs in a line,” he says. “That means that iambic pentameter is a line of ten syllables.”
Think da-Dum, da-Dum, da-Dum, da-Dum, da-Dum, da-Dum, he says. Or to make it easier, sing the line from Simon and Garfunkel’s song that goes “I’d rather be a hammer than a nail.”
At first reading the books can be daunting but it only takes a short time to get in the rhyme of the poetry and recognize scenarios and phrases from both Shakespeare and Mean Girls and enjoy the humor.
A natural to write these books which also includes William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, Doescher describes himself as having been the high school nerd who memorized Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquys and then felt compelled to repeat them for friends, family and even to perform them while standing on his desk in English class. We have to agree with him about the nerd thing, particularly after he says that he’s been practicing speaking in iambic pentameter since high school.
What: Ian Doescher talk and book signing.
When: Friday, April 26 from 6 to 7 pm
Where: Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL
Cost: Free and open to the public.
FYI: To join the signing line, please purchase one of the author’s latest books, William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls and William Shakespeare’s Get Thee Back to the Future, from Anderson’s Bookshop. To purchase please stop into or call Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville (630) 355-2665 or order online at andersonsbookshop.com