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~Wellesley College Students To Present Complete Unabridged Works of Shakespeare in 24 Hours~

For immediate release:
January 30, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- It's the most Shakespeare in the shortest time possible.

Wellesley College's Shakespeare Society hopes to go down in history as having the honor (and the stamina) of presenting the complete works of William Shakespeare – unabridged—all within 24 hours.

Knowing the job is bigger than the 27-member society itself, the Shakespeare aficionados are asking for help to achieve their goal, hoping volunteers will help read the 37 plays as well as the poetry and sonnets that comprise Shakespeare's canon. The event will take place from Sunday, Feb. 15, at 5 pm through Monday, Feb. 16, at 5 pm at the Shakespeare Society House on the Wellesley campus.

The marathon will take place in several rooms of the house with "plays begun, sonnets read, plays finished, characters explored, speeches expounded every second, through the day and through the night," say its organizers. Senior Maggie O'Grady of Yonkers, N.Y., is one of the students behind the 24-hour extravaganza.

"The plan was hatched last semester when a few Shakespeare Society members thought that it would be a great idea to read the complete works," she said. "They determined it would take four days, which was a commitment that we didn't think too many people could make. We did think that people could commit to 24 hours. Mathematically, with five plays being read simultaneously for the 24 hours, we should have enough time to finish the canon, ending with a full group reading of Hamlet in the last three hours."

The Shakespeare Society has been a mainstay among student groups at Wellesley for 126 years. "Since 1878, we have never performed the whole canon," said O'Grady. "Having a 24-hour long reading of all the works would be a wonderful way to do it. It is also great for community outreach, since one of the society's main purposes is to bring Shakespeare into the community."

The event promises to keep Shakespeare Society members busy over then next couple of weeks. "Everyone in the society will be involved in some way, from getting scripts, decorating the house, scheduling the plays, cooking and procuring food during the event, publicizing it on campus and making T-shirts to sell," O'Grady said.

The effort will culminate in what the Society hopes will be a unique opportunity to hear the most bard in the shortest time. "Come at any time, for as little or long as you like," O'Grady said. "There will be so many parts to read, and we'll go hoarse without the help of the community." For more information, call 781-283-3192 or e-mail

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.


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  • Date Modified: February 2, 2004
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