Segments in this Video

"At First the Infant" (11:12)


Audience members walk into the theater. Simon Callow describes how the "Seven Ages of Man" speech pertains to William Shakespeare's life. Elizabethan fathers do not involve themselves in child rearing. (Credits)

"The Whining Schoolboy" (09:40)

Callow reminds us that Shakespeare would have had a comprehensive grounding in rhetoric. The actor explores the background and history of Tudor education. This segment includes speeches from "As You Like It" and "Julius Caesar."

"The Lover, Sighing like Furnace" (26:09)

Shakespeare obtains a special license to marry early because Anne Hathaway is pregnant. This segment includes dialogue from "Venus and Adonis," "Romeo and Juliet," "The Comedy of Errors," "Venus and Adonis," "Doctor Faustus," "Two Gentleman of Verona," and "As You Like It." Callow traces Shakespeare's life from Stratford-Upon-Avon to staying with the Earl of Southhampton during the plague.

"Then a Soldier" (18:10)

Elizabethans are constantly at war. This segment includes portions from "Henry V," "Henry IV, part I," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Hamlet," and "Macbeth." Callow traces Shakespeare's life after returning from Southhampton to finding success with the "Lord Chamberlain's Men."

"The Justice, in Fair Round Belly" (09:05)

Shakespeare inherently dislikes lawyers. This segment includes portions from "Hamlet," "King Lear," "Henry VI," "Richard II." Callow traces the Bard's life from becoming a successful property owner to retiring to Stratford-on-Avon.

"Lean and Slippered Pantaloon" (07:17)

This segment includes portions from "Henry IV, part II," "Troilus and Cressida," "The Tempest," and "Sir Thomas More." Callow traces the Bard's later career.

"Second Childishness and Mere Oblivion" (06:05)

This segment includes portions from "King Lear," "Julius Caesar," "The Tempest," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and "Richard III." Callow examines the end of Shakespeare's life and his legacy.

Credits: Being Shakespeare (00:43)

Credits: Being Shakespeare

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Being Shakespeare

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $199.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $299.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



Featuring a tour de force performance from Simon Callow, Being Shakespeare is a one-man show about the life and work of the world’s greatest playwright. Written by the renowned scholar Jonathan Bate, and taking its cue from Jacques’ famous "Seven Ages of Man" speech in As You Like It, the drama traces Shakespeare’s life from his birth in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 to his burial there fifty-two years later. Weaving together this story with extracts from many of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Simon Callow presents a vivid and very human portrait of the man and of the Elizabethan world in which he lived. Recorded before an audience during the play’s triumphant London run, Being Shakespeare is both a wonderful introduction to the author and a richly nuanced, funny and fascinating study for those who already love his plays. Plays featured in Being Shakespeare: As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale, King John, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar, Venus and Adonis (poem), Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, Doctor Faustus (play by Christopher Marlowe), King Henry VI, part 1, Hamlet, Sonnet 18, Henry V, Henry IV, part 1, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Richard II, King Lear, Henry IV, part 2, Troilus and Cressida, The Tempest, and Sir Thomas More

Length: 89 minutes

Item#: BVL194800

ISBN: 978-1-64867-425-9

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

‘Callow and Shakespeare: a brilliant combination’ – The Times No. 1 Critic’s Choice ‘A memorable multidimensional picture of Shakespeare, steeped in scholarship and love’ – The Guardian ‘Stuff Elizabethan dreams were made on.’ – Time Out ‘A copy of this DVD should be placed alongside the Gideon Bible in every hotel room within ten miles of Stratford Upon Avon … This is the perfect souvenir for those who have seen the play ‘live’, a ‘must have’ purchase for any theatre lover and the perfect introduction to England’s most famous writer for absolutely everybody.’ – Theatre Monkey

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.