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The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare Comes To San Diego


The 400-year-old First Folio collected all of the Bard's plays after his death

The First Folio Comes To San Diego
The First Folio
The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare Comes To San Diego GUESTS: Barry Edelstein, artistic director, Old Globe Theatre Beth Accomando, arts reporter, KPBS

When should we care about a book containing text readily available online? When that book is the 400-year-old First Folio, the first time all of William Shakespeare's plays were collected for posterity. And it's coming to San Diego for everyone to see.

Published seven years after the Bard's death, the First Folio includes 18 plays that had never been printed before. Without it, the following plays might not exist today: “All’s Well That Ends Well,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “As You Like It,” “Comedy of Errors,” “Coriolanus,” “Cymbeline,” “Henry VI, Part I,” “Henry VIII,” “Julius Caesar,” “King John,” “Macbeth,” “Measure for Measure,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Tempest,” “Timon of Athens,” “Twelfth Night,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “The Winter’s Tale.”

That would've meant no “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow," no seven ages of man and no Rosalind. A tragedy indeed.

Barry Edelstein, the artistic director at the Old Globe Theatre, is excited by the prospect of having the First Folio in San Diego. The book will be opened to "Hamlet"'s Act 3, Scene 1, which contains what may be the most quoted line in Shakespeare: "To be or not to be."

The Globe, which has been staging Shakespeare's works for 80 years, and the San Diego Public Library deserve credit for bringing the First Folio to San Diego, the only city in California hosting the exhibit.

"First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. It arrives at the San Diego Public Library on June 4 and will be there through July 7. The exhibit is free to the public but it's recommended to reserve tickets for a specific time. More information about tickets and events is available online.