Poor old Will Shakespeare must be turning in his grave. Tabard has seen the results of a new survey, which don’t paint a great picture of his relevancy today. Put it this way, more people could identify a song from Mamma Mia! than they could a line from one of his plays.
The survey was carried out by hotel chain Thistle into the theatregoing habits and knowledge of 2,000 people. According to the results, just over half (52%) could identify that “To be or not to be, that is the question” is from Hamlet, whereas 64% knew that The Winner Takes It All is from Mamma Mia!
The survey also revealed that 44% knew that “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” was from Richard III, and only 16% knew “If music be the food of love, play on” was from Twelfth Night.
Back to the musicals, however, and it was a much brighter picture, with more than half (55%) recognising a line from Joseph, and 42% correctly identifying a lyric from Cats. Fewer people were able to identify a line from I Dreamed a Dream from Les Mis, which is shocking, quite frankly. Did SuBo teach us nothing?
Anyway, how does Thistle propose people rectify their lack of theatre knowledge? Well, it recommends that audiences could do with “dropping in on a few more theatre productions”. Dropping in? What’s that? Poking your head round for a few minutes and then nipping off again?
Sorry Thistle, but theatre isn’t a drop-in centre. Certainly not where Shakespeare is concerned. It’s a three-hour commitment, minimum.