Image by Cecilia Chapa Phillips

Well, for one thing, William Shakespeare posed some of the most piercing, unsettling, exhilarating, vexing questions ever. He slipped them into the mouths of his characters and the narrators of his sonnets. If alive today, they are questions the Bard of Avon may well explore in a cafe (or cafe-type ambience, or in time of pandemia by ‘Zoom cafe’ [and Cafes as we conceive of them today no more thrived back then than did coffee as many of us now know and relish it] — as we’ll do.
For another thing, I come by this passion in many things Shakespeare honestly enough.  Suffice to say for now: Not long after Shakespeare’s plays came into their own, my mother’s side of the family departed England, crossing the water to start life anew in the U.S. (our extended extensive family tree, going back to the 16th century, shows that four had names that included ‘Shakespear’ and ‘Shakespeare’). In the early-ish 20th century, a great uncle to whom my mom was particularly close became a revered high school principle in Appalachia known for walking the hallowed halls reciting prodigiously from the bard’s works; she became smitten, and passed that smitten-ness along to yours truly – and anyone who has read my ‘Child at Heart’ book knows that the word ‘childing’ around which I develop an entire philosophy of human growth, development, and ripeness is to be found in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ 
Most of all, Shakespeare’s plays and poems resonate across the ages and cultures; some of the questions posed in them cry out to be explored today.
We’ll start off with this question: “What’s in a name?”
From Act 2, Scene 2 Romeo and Juliet

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;

And for thy name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.

In this era of #SayMyName and “Karens”, What’s in a name? Is a rose called by any other name still a rose?  What say you?
This Sunday, Feb. 21, 2 pm CENTRAL TIME, for one hour. 
You do not have to have to read the work of the poet and playwright in order to take part meaningfully, though of course one fond hope of mine is that a deep dive into these questions might inspire some who haven’t to do so (similar to how Socrates Cafe, now in its 25th year, has inspired many Socrates Cafe-goers to delve widely and deeply into philosophical as well as humanistic and sociological works across the ages and hemispheres that relate to the questions they explore).
You may well want to read at least the part of Shakespeare’s play that wraps itself around the question we’ll be exploring. But you don’t have to.  There are plenty of Shakespeare readng/discussion groups that do make this mandatory, understandably; I have no desire to replicate them.  It’s not how or why I roll in the world of dialogue.
I believe there is no better time or clime to launch this endeavor, whose time has come, and then some. Who knows, it just might lead to kinds of unexpected insights about ourselves as individuals and a society that can make some difference in our human doing, being, making.  
Hope many of you will participate in what should be a thoughful inquiry and exploration.
Here’s the Zoom info:
Christopher Phillips is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Cafe for Shakespeare – What’s in a name?Time: Feb 21, 2021 02:00 PM CENTRAL TIME
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 896 8071 2015Passcode: 528193