Shakespeare 2020 Project

Bard to the bone: A Star (Wars) is born

Ian Doescher has built a mini-empire of modern pop stories retold in Shakespearean style. (Read through the history plays with him, online.)

Ian Doescher’s favorite Shakespeare line comes from Hamlet, Act 5 Scene 2. “If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.” I find this line most relatable in this moment as we all are forced to contend with matters out of our control. Sickness, political unrest, racial tension; while these forces are ever present in 2021, they are also ever present in Shakespeare’s work. In focusing on Shakespeare’s universality, verse and literary devices, Doescher has carved out a place for himself as the bard of reframing modern classics as poetic tales.

Portland author Ian Doescher: modern pop classics with a Shakespeare beat.

Since the beginning of his William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series of books in 2013, the Portland writer has been exploring this literary niche within a niche. Doescher has always loved writing, though his background is in music and theology (with a B.A. in music from Yale, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary and ordainment from the Presbyterian Church, this background is extensive). But he never thought he would find himself here. Academic writing, maybe. Pop culture as Shakespeare stories, no way.

What do you get when you combine rewatching the Star Wars trilogy, reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and taking a trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival? If you’re Doescher, you get William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Ian is a prolific writer with work spanning the Star Wars Universe, Mean Girls, Back to the Future, Clueless, A Christmas Carol, Deadpool, and Frankenstein. He is also co-author,  with Jacopo della Quercia, of MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration. In addition, he’s completed a four- part volume covering the complete Avengers series, coming out in July.  

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