Nick Weber, author of Shakespeare with Hearing Aids.
After years of teaching English literature and theater arts, then graduate work in theology and theater, Nick Weber was ordained a Jesuit priest. In 1971 he founded a poetic theatrical hybrid, “The Royal Lichtenstein Circus” which he toured as his official Jesuit ministry for twenty-two years. Returning to the lay state, he continued touring and eventually developed a one-man performance piece “Shakespeare, Just for Fun!” It was this project that led him into a love affair with the Bard. In 2008, retired from yet more teaching in theater arts and English literature, Nick began reading the works of Shakespeare with groups of retirees in Milwaukee. The title of his earlier show evolved into “Shakespeare Just for Fun! Seniors Sharing Shakespeare.” It is the five year history of that project that Shakespeare with Hearing Aids celebrates.
Shakespeare with Hearing Aids: Some Old-timers Revisit the Bard is an old guy’s story about an adventure he is having with some other old-timers. More accurately, it’s about many senior adventures as, together, these retirees read a bunch of dramas written four centuries ago by some whippersnapper called Shakespeare. The story is charged by a range of elder skills and issues as well as by the dynamics of plot, language, characters, and outright playwriting technique. And because so many personal hard-won stories are recognizable inside of the famous playwright’s, he increasingly becomes a trusted stranger; they allow whoever Shakespeare is to illuminate whoever they are.
“‘The book might just be a dare,’ Weber writes, a sly line for a spry book that is daring in every good way, particularly in its extraordinary celebration of close reading, which in these pages means two beautifully complementary things: smart textual analysis informed by a born performer’s eye (and ear); and smart performers, who grow close to Weber, each other and Shakespeare while reading the plays. I dare you not to be moved.” —Liam Callanan, author of All Saints and The Cloud Atlas