Above all else the goal of KickAss Shakespeare is to make Shakespeare's plays and poems accessible and readable: readable without being teachy or preachy. The fully produced plays provide instant, modern alternative text for archaic words, phrases and references that are no longer common knowledge. These optional substitutions are not definitions (though they do provide the meaning for the original text) but rather modern text that allows the flow of the reading to continue uninterrupted.
Fully Produced Plays
A fully produced KickAss play isn't a book, nor is it a static web-page, rather it is an interactive, highly configurable presentation of the play with the essential goal of making Shakespeare readable and understandable. And when Shakespeare is understandable, enjoyment it isn't far away.
All of Shakespeare's works presented here have one-click access to our extensive KickAss Companion to Shakespeare.
Alongside the conventional text is the text as it appeared in original publications - known as folios and quartos - from the late 1500's and early 1600's so you always have the original spelling, punctuation and syntax available for comparison. We call these texts the 'primary texts'. For half of the plays these come from the First Folio published in 1623. Other plays use one or more quartos or a mixture of the later folios and earlier quartos. More about the primary texts presented here can be found at Reading Early Texts.
Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, and Julius Caesar
Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar are the first fully produced plays from KickAss Shakespeare. A fully produced play has in-line modern text, side-by-side original text from 400 years ago, scene introductions, annotations, additional KickAss staging and much more. To see more about our fully produce plays see the quick manual at Play Help.
And please tell us what you think, what you know, or what you want to know.
Romeo and Juliet and the rest
Romeo and Juliet is being produced now and will join Macbeth and Julius Caesar soon. It is already available with the First Folio text side-by-side on this website.
Other plays that have the First Folio text already integrated and are in line to be fully produced during the first round are:
KickAss Companion to Shakespeare
The KickAss Companion to Shakespeare contains more than 20,000 entries with active links to where the terms are used in Shakespeare's plays and poems. Not only can it be used by itself but it is also used by all the plays and poems, just highlight a term and click to touch the Find in Glossary button on the command bar and the term and its definitions will be displayed along with nearby items.
Origins of the KickAss Glossary
The KickAss Glossary is based on Alexander Schmidt's monumental work, Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary. It has been digitized, reformatted, actively linked to the plays and poems. It is constantly growing to serve casual readers, professional theater personal, and scholars alike. An essential feature of the KickAss Companion is the proprietary KickAss search routine which finds entries no matter if the search text uses modern or Elizabethan spelling and word forms.
The KickAss Companion is being expanded and updated daily both with original content and by integrating content from other authoritative sources.
All KickAss plays and poems provide one-click access to the KickAss Companion to Shakespeareextensive examples and click-able cross-references to where the terms are used in other plays, sonnets and poems.
Making Shakespeare Readable
KickAss Shakespeare presents four-hundred year old plays in a way that they can be enjoyed on first read - without dumbing down the text.
Words, phrases, imagery, cultural biases, and historical places and events that were known and self-evident to the original audiences -but have been lost to most modern readers - are interpreted and translated in-line so as to not interrupt the flow of the plays and poems. Of course these can be turned on and off for the play, for a specific section, and even one by one. All the while retaining the essence, the flavor, and the integrity of the original text (we call them the primary texts) which are displayed side-by-side with modern text.
KickAss Shakespeare is removing 400 years of verbal dust and academic debris from some of the world's greatest writings. KickAss will make available the common and primary (think First Folio, among others) texts of the plays and poems for nearly unrestricted use. As these texts are updated and corrected the downloads will be updated. The downloads will be made available as the plays and poems are produced.
Sonnets & Poems