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Summer 2003
Will Power
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"There were a few technical things I would have done differently," says director Blake Middleton after the show. "But I think it's a damn good play, and no one ever does it. It's kind of an underdog."

So it goes in Westwood-upon-Avon, where nearly 390 years after his death The Bard is indeed alive and well.

Whether it's on small stages around campus with the 10-year-old Shakespeare Reading and Performing Group — an ever-changing collection of students, staff and alumni from diverse, mostly non-theater backgrounds (Middleton is a biomedical researcher), who share a passion for the works of William Shakespeare — or in classrooms with leading Shakespeare scholars or in performance spaces in the theater department or in symposia, tours or lectures, UCLA these days is rich in Elizabethan spirit.

Why is it still so important to focus the spotlight on a 439-year-old English poet and playwright? What is it about Shakespeare that drives such continuing ardor?

The answer depends to some extent on whom you ask. In Shakespeare's plays, Visiting Professor of Theater Milan Dragicevich '79 finds "fantastic feasts of language" that, when combined with his simple, powerful stories, "have never been re-created." For Professor of English Stephen Dickey, it is because "Shakespeare is the central figure in Western aesthetic culture … the coin of the realm. Even people who don't know Shakespeare know Shakespeare."

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