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,

 

Random News: Good News from the Break

Hello Lovely Readers,

I thought I would restart the daily blogging with some of my favorite new from over the holidays! The first exciting news is that there is going to be a Harry Potter stage play coming to London’s West End by 2015. The play will be done with help from JK Rowling, and will focus on the years between Harry being left on the Dursley’s doorstep and departing for Hogwarts the first time. You can read the article here. While I have no clue where in the world I will be in 2015, I have a bet that Frances would go see this play, and if I am in town you bet I will!

The second piece of news isn’t as set in stone, so things could change or take years to fully develop, but there is talk of a Sandman movie based on Neil Gaiman’s comic series of the same name. Right now David S Goyer (a very talented writer, producer and director of comic based movies and video games, seriously check out his IMDB.com profile), is attached to the project and so is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Right now Gordon-Levitt is just talking about helping produce the movie and not acting in it. Having read most of the series I have trouble picturing him as Dream (The Sandman). While I have my fingers crossed to see a Sandman movie at some point, I think the absolute earliest we would see this would be at least 3 years down the line, and that is if things go well! I think Sandman may lend itself to a HBO/BBC sort of drama series better than a movie, but any adaptation would be nice.

Was there any literary based news that excited you guys over the holiday season?

Until next time,

High Arts Corner: King John- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: The Life and Death of King John
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
When: Summer 2012

Be stirring as the time, be fire with fire; Threaten the threat’ner, and outface the brow Of bragging horror.
King John by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: Unless you want to say that you have seen every one of Shakespeare’s plays performed, avoid this one. There are better history plays, more interesting ones. Even with a good cast it is hard to enjoy.

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

High Arts Corner: The Tempest- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: The Tempest
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
When: Summer 2012

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: If this is your cup of tea, go and enjoy a decent performance!

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

High Arts Corner: Merry Wives of Windsor- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: Merry Wives of Windsor
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
When: November 2012

“I do begin to perceive that I am made into an ass,”
Falstaff, Merry Wives of Windsor, William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: If you are keen to see it, do so, but otherwise do not go out of your way to watch it or avoid it. Meh.

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

High Arts Corner: Much Ado about Nothing- A Royal Shakespeare Company Production

Title: Much Ado about Nothing
Performed by: Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by: William Shakespeare
Where: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
When: Summer 2012

We are too sensible to woo peaceably.
Benedick, Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare

Final Verdict: Run and push small children out of the way to go and see this! Any performance of Much Ado about Nothing would be worth it, but this version will keep you laughing throughout.

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

High Arts Corner: Pride and Prejudice

 

 

 

 

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Performed by: Chapterhouse Theatre Company
Written by: Jane Austen
Where: Ashby de la Zouch Castle
When: 18th August 2012

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Final Verdict: We would recommend booking an outdoor play, particularly Pride and Prejudice, but others, we are sure, will also be magical. It’s a great afternoon and the ticket costs are not expensive (just 13 pounds).

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