Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guest Post: Lauren Bjorkman talks Shakespeare

Today I'm happy to welcome Lauren Bjorkman, the author of My Invented Life. Since a lot of My Invented life involves characters auditioning for, rehearsing for or preforming Shakespeare's As You Like It, I thought it would be fun to read about some of Ms. Bjorkman's favorite  plays. So I asked

What are your top 5 favorite Shakespeare plays?
When it comes to picking favorites, I fail. Even with ice cream. Some days it’s coffee, other days blackberry, and often chocolate. So I’ll just write about the plays I particularly enjoy. Forgive me for shirking the question!

After reading Julius Caesar and Macbeth early in high school, I hated abhorred Shakespeare. The plays were hard to understand. But then I read King Lear senior year and fell in love with the language, the imagery, and the story. I don’t know why I had a breakthrough then. Age, maybe? Plus we read it aloud in class, which breathed some life into it.

Before that, I saw a movie version of Romeo and Juliet that sucked me in. The balcony scene turned me into a puddle. I loved the tragic romance of it all, of course, but the intensity of the drama took my breath away, too. It didn’t matter that I knew how the story ended. I still think the movie versions of his plays are amazing.

Other Shakespeare plays grew on me over time. My first experience with Hamlet dragged a bit. I wished Hamlet would do something, avenge his father’s death without debating it forever. But later, after realizing how hard it can be to act on one’s feelings, I related to Hamlet’s hesitation. Not all of us are cut out to be warriors.

After I started writing My Invented Life, my local high school staged A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When I found out, I wrangled an invitation to their rehearsals. What a fab experience! It made me totally mad for the actors, and for the play. I used a few of the things I observed in my story.

I chose As You Like It (one of Shakespeare’s more obscure plays) for my novel because of the strong and wise Rosalind. She’s not shrewish, half-mad, or ruinously ambitious. She runs away to save her life, dresses as a man, woos her love interest while in disguise, and joins her father in rebellion against his evil brother. As a bonus, I had a mini-crush on the boy who played Orlando in a production I once saw.

If  When my book is made into a movie, I want someone else to do the casting! One time, I tried to cast it myself. You can read my attempt on the blog: My Book the Movie. 

Who would you cast?

Thanks so much for stopping by The Serpentine Library, Ms. Bjorkman! Make sure to come back next week when she stops by again to share some of Roz's rules for love and friendship!


  1. This was a nice interview. Very original. I love talking about Shakespeare although I have to admit I haven't read as much about him as I'd like.

  2. Very interesting. I still need to read My Invented Life, but it's high on my tbrlist. :)


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