KNOXVILLE, TENN. — SHAKESPEARE'S plays have endured the interpretation of thousands of actors, some great and many less so. But can his work survive the computer?
``Most definitely,'' Laura Bresko says. ``If anything, the computer may be the modern stage that brings Shakespeare - the ramifications, the lessons we learn, the cultural transmissions - back into the modern generations.''
If so, Ms. Bresko's tiny start-up company, Communication and Information Technologies, may play a part. Its BookWorm Press is coming out with a quartet of Shakespeare's plays in an ``electronic book.'' BookWorm's ``Hamlet'' contains annotations, major criticism, summaries of acts and scenes, a dictionary, and as many as 50 illustrations - from woodcuts to Picasso. There's enough material to fill hundreds of pages not just on the play, but on history, stagecraft, language, character, and plot. And that's just ``Hamlet.'' The ``book'' also contains ``Romeo and Juliet,'' ``Midsummer Night's Dream,'' and ``Macbeth.''
Bresko's company is shipping samples on 3-1/2-inch floppy disks to 1,000 educators around the country for field testing. The company expects to go to market in January with both floppy disks and CDs, which will contain movie clips of Shakespearean productions.