High Arts: A Midsummer Night’s Dream- In British Sign Language

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dream- In British Sign Language
Performed by: Deafinitely Theatre
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: The Globe Theatre, England
When: 3 June 2014

“Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A unique experience that is great for those open minded people, regardless of whether you can understand British Sign Language or not!

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

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High Arts Corner: Richard II- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: Richard II
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon England
When: 25 October 2013

“This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,–This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”
Richard II
by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A great adaptation, with some amazing monologues that David Tennant was able to bring to life.

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

Random News: Happy 450th Birthday to the Bard

Hello Lovely Readers,

We are back from our Easter break just in time for a very special birthday. Today marks William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday! His plays are the most preformed plays in the world which we can still appreciate today. Sometimes he is considered the greatest writer in the English Language, and England’s national poet. Many of the words and phrases that we use today were first used by him. He was born to a glove maker and rose to count two different monarchs as his patrons.
I have been truly lucky these past few years to experience so many of his plays in person. My love of Shakespeare can be traced back almost 15 years now. My goal is to see a performance of every play written by Shakespeare )excepting of course those lost to time). I am well on my way, but I still have 17 left (I have tickets to see 3 of these already). So I have some Shakespeare that I have not yet had a chance to experience.

I thought I would share some clips from Shakespeare’s plays this year in stead of sonnets. Hopefully, for those who are not fans, you can appreciate his work, even if you never like it!

First is a condensed scene from Much Ado About Nothing, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate. It is probably my favorite version (so far) of the play. This scene is where some friends trick Benedick into believing Beatrice is in love with him, and he realizes he loves her, too! She has not been tricked yet by her friends, so she is her usual hostile self at the end of the scene!

Next is a clip from Twelfth Night starring Mark Rylance (as Olivia) and Stephen Fry (as Malvolio). I was fortunate enough to see this play in  person, which was a treat as it was my first experience with an all male cast! In this scene Malvolio is dressed funny because he believes a letter telling him to do so was from Olivia. She knows nothing about the letter so is very confused by the change in him!

This third clip is from The Tempest, which was the very first play I ever read by Shakespeare. In this version the lead male part has been cast as a female with just a minimal change to the name, Prospero to Prospera. Helen Mirran plays this lead, and in this scene at the the end of the play she is giving up her magic as she has achieved what she wanted.

Lastly, one of the best current actors of Shakespearean works is Ben Whishaw (although Tom Hiddleston is trying to take this over I think!). While he plays an ethereal Ariel in The Tempest, I absolutely loved him in Richard II in the Hollow Crown tetrology. In this clip he is being forced to relinquish his crown formally, and it is tearing him apart.

Now these are just a selection of the Bard’s work, and not even all of my favorites. What are some of your favorite works, actors, and versions?

Until next time,

 

High Arts Corner: Much Ado About Nothing- Old Vic

Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Old Vic, London, England
When: 26 October 2013

Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.”
Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A disappointment all around and the only saving grace is the script that is over 400 years old. Watch a better version on DVD.

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

Random News: Sexy Shakespeare Friday

Hello Lovely Readers,

There has been some really neat Shakespeare photos and videos released or complied this week. Being a fan of Shakespeare’s works, I decided you guys should see these, and get as excited as me! First I have to start with some photos of Tom Hiddleston training with a sword for Coriolanus. I was super sad that the show was already sold out several months ago when I tried to get tickets. However, many of the local cinemas will be broadcasting a show, so I will probably watch it that way. However, of all the news this week, this was probably the most interesting for me, as I used to be part of a Stage Combat group (Ring of Steel from Ann Arbor, Michigan) that trained with weapons for performances! You can view the full photo set here, and see my favorite below.

Another one of my favorite leading men in Shakespearan roles, there were lots of pictures of David Tennant this week as he prepares to star in Richard II. Frances and I were lucky enough to get tickets to a show later this month in Stratford-Upon-Avon! I am super excited to see behind the scenes. While most over at the RSC website you can view video diaries of the cast and crew, interviews with David, photos of other shows David has acted in, and the trailer for the show. While this is the stuff I am most excited about, most news this week was on Tennant’s hair. It seems for the role he has added mid-back length extensions to his hair. This is in preparation for this play, so I am really curious to see this hair in person. From the back though, his new hair looks scarily like my hair did in high school! You can see more of the hair here.

Rounding out the leading men in Shakespeare trio, was a neat piece on Ben Whishaw over on Buzzfeed. You can click here to find out 20 ways he will melt your heart. I will admit I know very little about him outside his acting, but his acting is terrific. I loved him as Ariel with Helen Mirren’s Prospera in The Tempest. He was also my first introduction to Richard II, in the Hollow Crown adaptation of the play. Honestly, I could not have told you it was the same actor! I highly recommend the four movies of The Hollow Crown, as not only is Whishaw amazing in it, but Tom Hiddleston plays Henry V and Jeremy Irons plays Henry IV (and there are so many other great actors).  Whishaw is probably best known by people as the new Q from James Bond. Below are some pictures of how differently he portrayed the two parts I talked about! The first is him as Ariel when it is scaring some people. Ariel is disguised as a Harpy (rather than its normal fairy-like self), and is rather convincing in tricking the people into thinking they are mad!

This second photo is Whishaw as Richard in all his finery.

Lastly, the RSC has released a wonderful interview with the two leads from their recent adaptation of As You Like It. I saw and really enjoyed the play. It was a really incredibly put together play. It was neat to see the two leads, who I have seen in many plays now, as themselves and not in characters! Unfortunately, I think the run of the play has ended, but it should be coming to DVD sometime (I think).

Until next time,

High Arts Corner: As You Like It- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: As You Like It
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon England
When: 20 April 2013

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A fun play, and a great production of it. If you are new to Shakespeare, this is a great way to start!

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

High Arts Corner: Titus Andronicus- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: Titus Andronicus
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon England
When: 26 May 2013

 “You heavy people, circle me about,
That I may turn me to each one of you,
And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head;
And in this hand the other I will bear.
Lavinia, thou shalt be employ’d: these arms!
Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth
.”
Titus in Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A very bloody play that is quick and relatively easy to follow. Not one for the kids, but a good day out at the theatre.

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

High Arts Corner: The Comedy of Errors- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: The Comedy of Errors
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: London, England
When: Summer 2012

We came into the world like brother and brother,
And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A good play for those new to Shakespeare or young theater goers. A nice day out, and you will leave with a smile on your face!

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

High Arts Corner: Hamlet- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: Hamlet
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
When: 28 March 2013

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Hamlet, Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: One of the Bard’s most well known plays that everyone should see once, but you may be better off watching a video of a different staging.

For the full review of this performance, click the title.

High Arts Corner: A Winter’s Tale – A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: A Winter’s Tale
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
When: 14 February 2013

“Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.”
Autolycus, A Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: A good production, but only go if you are interested in the plot, as it is not one of the best stories.

For the full review of this performance, click the title.