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~Wellesley Succeeds in Reading All of Shakespeare in Less Than 24 Hours~

For immediate release:
February 17, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- They had the stamina - the passion - and the "Will" to succeed. Wellesley College will go down in history as having read the entire works of William Shakespeare - unabridged - in less than 24 hours.

"We read all 39 plays and all 154 sonnets and all five narrative poems, and we did so in 22 hours and 5 minutes, finishing at 3:21 pm, having started at sundown the day before, which was 5:16," said organizer Maggie O'Grady of Yonkers, N.Y., a Wellesley senior and member of the college's Shakespeare Society.

At the conclusion of the marathon, O'Grady, who had not slept since the contest began, proclaimed, "I am thus quite delirious." But for the Bard-loving Shakespeare Society, it was all worth it.

"We're excited and very tired," she said. The event ended with the reading of "Hamlet," an intense conclusion to the 24 hours of non-stop Shakespeare. "It was really magnificent and very, very dramatic," O'Grady said.

Knowing the job was bigger than the 31-member society itself, the Shakespeare aficionados are asked for help to achieve their goal, and more than 150 people from the college and community helped to read aloud the plays, poetry and sonnets that comprise Shakespeare's canon. The event took place from Sunday, Feb. 15, from 5 pm through Monday, Feb. 16, ending just before 3:30 pm.

The marathon took place in several rooms of the Shakespeare House, which houses the members of the society, a mainstay among student groups at Wellesley since 1878.

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 17, 2004
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