Rossmoor Shakespeare Society

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Gene Gordon, president of the Rossmoor Shakespeare Society, has written many papers - and a little book - on the Sweet Swan of Avon. All can be read online. To read the various articles listed, click on link to Authors Den website below.

Selected Shakespeare Reviews


The Sonnets: All or Nothing at All?


Was Shakespeare Jewish?


Was Shakespeare a Kabbalist?


Was Shakespeare an Atheist?


Is Shakespeare God?


The Fat's in the Fire: Shakespeare is Bacon


Shakespeare, Kiwanis and Truth


Shakespeare articles (among others) on AUTHORS DEN

The book, Lost Journals from the Great Peace March, is a humorous account of a nine-month walk across the United States (3,700 miles) during which all 37 Shakespeare plays were read out loud. To read, click on link below.

Lost Journals from the Great Peace March

Gene Gordon
president, Rossmoor Shakespeare Society

Gene has created a video about the Rossmoor Shakespeare Society. Very colorful, musical, and really spectacular, it depicts the many activities of the club.
Go to link below...

YouTube Video

Another video made by Gene is a humorous poem (illustrated!) about the Authorship Debate. Please go here...

Eighty True Authors

Another featured member is June Levine. June is the club's treasurer and also its co-founder. She has written over twenty songs based on the plays - amusing songs that relate the plots in a most delightful way. Here are a few examples:

From "Mac the Knife" -
Macbeth ran into witches three,
So began his tragedy.
With a hey nonnie nonnie no.
Mac the Knife became the king,
Just a matter of murdering,
With a hey nonnie nonnie no.
Mac the Knife met his fate:
They hung his head upon a gate
With a hey nonnie nonnie no.
So if you want to keep your head,
Never stab a king in bed,
With a hey nonnie nonnie no.
From "Othello" -
Desdemona lived in Venice town;
For her father she kept house,
When Othello came a-visiting,
She took him for her spouse.
They sailed away to Cypress Bay,
Then he had to return to work,
And he left her with Iago
And went off to fight the Turk.
Now Iago was his aide-de-camp,
Vowed he loved his general well,
But he secretly detested him
And wished him safe in Hell.
Though he smiled at him, how he hated him,
Swore he'd cause Othello grief.
And to pave the way he stole away
Desdemona's handkerchief.
 From "The Tempest" -
Prospero was a duke of old,
Didn't care for his lands or gold.
Buried his head in his books all day,
Till his brother stole his kingdom away.
Caliban was an ugly sight,
Carried wood and was full of spite,
Prospero tried to treat him well,
But he was jealous of Ariel.

June playing, singing
at a Shakespeare party...

Another featured member:
Shirley Allen fell for Shakespeare in the eighth grade when the players from the Old Globe Theatre at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-34 sought work, in that winter during the depths of the depression, by putting on their 40-minute Shakespearean dramas at local high schools on Saturday mornings. Her class from a suburban grade school was bused to Oak Park High to see "Macbeth." She studied Shakespeare in high school and college and made it her special area of study for her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. Her book, "Samuel Phelps and Sadlers Wells Theatre" is a study of the stage history of Shakespeare's plays during the 19th Century. She taught Shakespeare at the University of Connecticut and at a continuing education facility sponsored by San Diego State University before moving to Rossmoor.

Shirley Allen
Shakespeare Scholar




Another Featured Member:


Emily Ehm spent most of her life as the Average Shakespeare Fan. Of course, New York City schools did study Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar (surprise!), and she was an English major in college. During the 12 years she taught the eighth grade in Illinois, the subject was not at the top of the agenda in her class. (If only she had met Rafe Esquith!) 


Of course she and Roger did go to Shakespeare’s plays, especially after Chicago built a beautiful lakefront facility dedicated to his works. And she spent two weeks at Oxford studying the Bard (and drinking ale in pubs). But, alas, an English major did not a Shakespearean scholar make. It made a grammarian. And after changing her profession, her subsequent career as an editor entailed more computer study than sonnets.


Fifteen years ago she and Roger joined Chicago’s Roosevelt University’s program called the “Institute for Continued Learning.” Rather like Emeritus College here, ICL caters to those over 55 years of age. Members join and also some of them teach various classes. It meets for three semesters over the year.


It then became Emily’s ambition and the ambition of her study groups to read all the plays aloud, word by word, and to study the eras of the historical plays and the Elizabethan time itself. Every semester three times a year twenty-five adults signed up to study a specific play two hours a week for nine weeks. As each act was mastered, the class would study it on film or listen to a recording and finally go to the complete play itself. This reading-study process generally took 16 hours for each play. But at the end of this process of study, each line was understood and appreciated. We could laugh at the jokes in the comedies and even understand the War of the Roses (gasp).


Field trips were arranged for each play. One time the class even went as far as Stratford, Canada, a town very much like Ashland, where the plays are professionally performed by excellent actors. Did the group actually read all the plays? No, Emily moved to Rossmoor two-thirds of the way through the process. (So much for The Two Noble Kinsmen.)


This teaching experience convinced her that the average person can enjoy Shakespeare very much, an attitude she learned by reading Harold Bloom’s book Shakespeare, the Invention of the Human. There is real danger that WS will belong only to the elite and the smug. Even poor readers can enjoy him if the process of study is open and non-threatening.


And where is her photograph, so often requested by our president?  I’m happy to report there is a splendid likeness of her right eye as she stands next to Roger at the Valley Shakespeare Festival in Livermore the night we saw All’s Well That Ends Well. [Picture is at bottom of MEMBERS page. A much better picture of our vice-president can also be found on the ABOUT US page. Emily is the officer all the way on the right.]

Another featured member...
Bill Harlan brings to our club 35 years of continuous and ongoing Shakespeare scholarship and activity. He teaches Shakespeare for Emeritus College and for the Diablo Valley College system. He is currently teaching a course entitled "Shakespeare and His World" at the San Ramon Campus of Diablo Valley College, a school he founded. Bill is also teaching a course at Rossmoor entitled "King Lear and the Challenge of Aging."
But perhaps Bill is best known and loved for taking people to Ashland. Two or three times a year he will lead a tour to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He arranges for motel rooms, tickets to the plays, a dinner with an actor, etc... All this he has done for 35 years. And he is still doing it! To learn about this year's trips call Bill at 932-8298.

Bill Harlan
at Ashland