||With humor, wit, and based on a lifetime of experience, a fascinating backstage pass to the life and plays of the Bard from a Shakespearean actor and director with 50 years' experience So I'm sitting here backstage, waiting for my entrance, caked in fake blood and taking part in a play that is brutal, nihilistic and offensive according to all criteria of "good taste." And it's thrilling. Did Shakespeare really write all those plays? Why do actors do Shakespeare in modern dress? How does one prepare a role? What's it like doing a long run? Did Shakespeare believe in ghosts? Was he a subversive? Every day, after every performance, around the world, theatergoers ask these sorts of questions. Here, a man who thinks, breathes, and interprets Shakespeare's canon every day of his life gives his responses to these questions based on experience and reflection. After many years of reading, performing, and directing Shakespeare in the UK and in Australia with the Bell Shakespeare Company, John Bell offers us a unique view of the histories, tragedies, comedies, and romances, and a memorable insight into the sonnets. His passionate relationship with Shakespeare informs and deepens our understanding of the man and his works. Vivid, accessible, and fascinating, this is a book that confirms Shakespeare's enduring relevance to our lives.