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No stakes, not relatable. I think I'm realizing: Shakespeare sucks.

Ira Glass tweeted that John Lithgow was "amazing" as King Lear in Central Park, but added, "Shakespeare: not good. No stakes, not relatable. I think I'm realizing: Shakespeare sucks." Then ProPublica reporter Lois Beckett had an idea: This American Lear.
posted by Etrigan on Jul 30, 2014 - 244 comments

Bollywood Hamlet

Welcome to Haider, a Bollywood version of Hamlet set for a controversial, much anticipated release this autumn. Vishal Bhardwaj's latest Shakespearian adaptation turns the Prince of Denmark into a philosophy student from Kashmir, the former Himalayan princedom, who returns home from university after hearing that his doctor father has disappeared and his mother is in a new relationship. View the trailer here - captions available. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Jul 28, 2014 - 19 comments

"The best things happen just before the thread snaps."

Slings & Arrows (trailer) was an award-winning Canadian dramedy that enjoyed great critical reception on both sides of the border. It ran for three seasons from 2003 to 2006, produced by Rhombus Media with Niv Fichman as Executive Producer, and aired on Showcase, The Movie Network, and Movie Central. Co-written by Mark McKinney (of Kids in the Hall fame), Susan Coyne (a Canadian playwright, actor, novelist, Stratford veteran, and co-founder of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre), and Bob Martin (a comedian, creator of The Drowsy Chaperone, which won five Tony awards), the show starred Paul Gross (possibly most famous for his role on Due South, also a Stratfordian actor), Martha Burns (a major Canadian actor and another founding member of Soulpepper, another Stratfordian), and Stephen Ouimette (another major Canadian actor who, unsurprisingly, has also spent time onstage at Stratford), as well as Coyne and McKinney. The show takes place in the fictional town of New Burbage, which is a stand-in for a thinly-veiled Stratford Festival, which most of the actors and creative team have acted and/or directed in. The writers take great pains to note that they aren't mocking Stratford in the series, but there are obvious parallels. The entire run of the series was directed by Peter Wellington. (There are many spoilers inside, and in the critical reception links, for those who haven't yet watched the show). Much [more inside]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on May 19, 2014 - 56 comments

and, with a quaint device, the feast vanishes.

“Putting magic at the center of a play about a magician doesn’t seem like that radical a choice,” explained Teller’s  co-director and co-adapter Aaron Posner. "But in the history, at least the modern history of producing 'The Tempest', it is a radical choice."

posted by divabat on May 15, 2014 - 24 comments

Mixing Memory and Desire: Music, Poetry, Sound, and Remembrance

Songwriter, singer, poet, memoirist, artist, icon Patti Smith performs in WNYC's The Greene Space. In a program of songs and poetry coordinated by her daughter Jesse Paris Smith, Patti Smith performs with Tree Laboratory (Jesse Paris Smith and Eric Hoegemeyer) and her long-time collaborator guitarist Lenny Kaye. They titled the event "Mixing Memory and Desire: An Evening of Music, Poetry, Sound, and Remembrance," celebrating the "chaos and transformation of spring." [~1h30m, scroll down for video] [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Apr 29, 2014 - 1 comment

Mery Talys and Quicke Answeres

Shakespeare Jest-Books: Reprints of the Early and Very Rare Jest-Books Supposed to Have Been Used by Shakespeare.
posted by Iridic on Apr 23, 2014 - 16 comments

The Bard's Beehive

Shakespeare is known for his brilliant use of language and rhetorical imagery. Now two antiquarian booksellers believe they have found his dictionary. The Bibliophagist has been keeping an updated survey of responses to the announcement.
posted by Joe in Australia on Apr 23, 2014 - 17 comments

The good that men do (sometimes) lives after them

Today is the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth - "...The centenary of Shakespeare’s birth fell soon after the theatres reopened with the Restoration of the monarchy, following the period when the Puritans had closed them down for the duration of the Civil War. His plays formed a staple part of the repertoire, but those of Beaumont and John Fletcher were performed more frequently. Shakespeare only pulled ahead of the pack in the Georgian era. It was around his 200th anniversary, under the auspices of the great actor David Garrick, that he took on his status as National Poet and exemplar of artistic genius...." More here
posted by marienbad on Apr 23, 2014 - 31 comments

Orson Wells' 1955 Podcast

The BBC put together a series of television commentaries from Orson Welles, "Orson Wells' Sketchbook" none of which need more than his then slightly unfamiliar face (without, he underscores, the usual false nose he wears for roles), his unmistakable voice, and his illustrations — taken, literally, from his sketchbook. In these six fifteen-minute broadcasts, which originally aired in 1955, Welles talks about not just the inauspicious beginnings of his illustrious working life but his experiences with the critics, the police, John Barrymore and Harry Houdini, the infamous radio production of War of the Worlds , and bullfighting Playlist here.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 22, 2014 - 3 comments

Quartos.org - Shakespeare's quartos online for review and comparison

The earliest Shakespeare quartos are over four hundred years old and constitute the rarest, most fragile body of printed literature available to Shakespeare scholars. Sold unbound and often read to pieces, they are among the most ephemeral books of the age and survive in relatively low numbers. In the absence of surviving manuscripts, the quartos offer the earliest known evidence of what Shakespeare might actually have written, and what appeared on the early modern English stage. Only about half of Shakespeare’s plays were printed in quarto during his lifetime (1564–1616), and before the first printed collection of his plays, the First Folio of 1623. They are living artifacts telling the story of how Shakespeare's Hamlet, Henry V, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Romeo and Juliet, to name just a few, first circulated in print.... Due to their rarity and fragility, the earliest quartos are often not accessible to those who need to study them. Today, six institutions in the United Kingdom and United States stand out as the main repositories of the pre-1642 quartos.... Through this international collaboration, many of the earliest Shakespeare quartos are now freely available for in-depth study to students of Shakespeare across the globe. You can read, compare, read annotations and overlay copies at Quartos.org.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 12, 2014 - 20 comments

Homer's Iliad Happens.

Shakespeare's Plays as Three-Panel Comics. (via io9)
posted by davidjmcgee on Apr 6, 2014 - 16 comments

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

Sir Ian McKellen walks the Royal Shakespeare Company through MacBeth's famous soliloquy, in 1979.
posted by Navelgazer on Mar 24, 2014 - 30 comments

And one man in his time plays many parts

Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare (SLVimeo) a one-man show of Shakespearean monologues from 1982
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 28, 2014 - 8 comments

The writer’s lifelong dialogue with violence

The Daggers of Jorge Luis Borges. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 4, 2014 - 7 comments

Was Shakespeare a Woman?

Did Amelia Bassano Lanier write William Shakespeare? Her single volume of poetry, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum was published in 1611, but Amelia Bassano Lanier (1569–1645) may have left us even more. John Hudson, a British Shakespeare scholar and director of the New York theatre ensemble the Dark Lady Players has written that if Bassano did not write all of the plays, she was certainly a major collaborator. He is not alone.
posted by Israel Tucker on Oct 22, 2013 - 159 comments

to thine own self be true

"The perception of Shakespeare's matchless linguistic inventiveness is closely bound up with his role as an icon of English nationalism." New computerized research indicates he didn't make up so many words. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Aug 22, 2013 - 34 comments

Who Edited Shakespeare?

New technology has changed scholarship. Whereas previous generations of experts have sought to reconcile the differences between quarto and Folio, current thinking highlights the difficult relationship between the various incarnations of Shakespeare's texts, something made easier by the availability of rare Shakespeare quartos in digital databases such as Early English Books Online. The scholar Eleanor Prosser thus detects "considerable evidence" for the elimination of metrical and stylistic "irregularities" in the Folio: short lines are lengthened to 10 syllables, verbs agreed with subjects, double negatives resolved. In addition, a range of unusual words are added to the text, words not used elsewhere by Shakespeare. Prosser concludes: "somewhere behind the Folio … lies a conscientious and exacting editor with literary pretensions", albeit one "more experienced in the transcription of literary than of theatrical works". But who was it?
Who edited Shakespeare? by Saul Frampton. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 13, 2013 - 36 comments

Lit Lists and Ranked Ratings

Christopher Pound combines and weights lists and ratings from Project Gutenberg, Goodreads, and elsewhere to produce novel sortings of familiar dataShakespeare's plays by popularity, for example. The most successful fiction writers at Gutenberg, and the top thousand most popular works of fiction found there. The most highly rated films of 2012 and 2011. The most popular Sci-fi and fantasy sub-genres at Goodreads. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 30, 2013 - 25 comments

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar

Neither a borrower nor a lender be. 198 movies and shows cut together to reform, Voltron-like, as Hamlet
posted by yerfatma on May 15, 2013 - 32 comments

How Historical Figures Would Have Looked Today?

"...saw digital artists working closely with history experts to ensure the portraits gave a real sense of how historical characters would look if they were alive in the 21st Century." Come for the hilarious justifications of modern-day standards of fitness and beauty, stay for the "hipster Shakespeare."
posted by Kitteh on May 2, 2013 - 83 comments

Around the Beatles: a one-off TV variety show from 1964

In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock (the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that was posted previously, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion or YouTube, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Go home, Fyodor, you're drunk.

Are your favorite writers using Google Docs? Probably. They're also bossy and irritable.
posted by Snarl Furillo on Mar 15, 2013 - 14 comments

First Much Ado About Nothing Trailer

First trailer for Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. (Direct MP4 link based on the official site.) The film (shot in 12 days at Joss's house while taking a break from making The Avengers) will be getting its U.S. premiere this weekend at SXSW, with limited general release starting in June. Previously shown at TIFF, the Dublin Film Festival and the Glasgow Film Festival. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Mar 7, 2013 - 114 comments

Richard Briers (1934-2013)

Richard Briers, TV, radio, movie and stage actor, died yesterday aged 79. Richard was most well-known for playing Tom, who gives up his 9 to 5 job to attempt a sustainable lifestyle, much to the horror of his posh neighbor Margo, in The Good Life (1975-78). [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 18, 2013 - 46 comments

Shall I compare poop to a summer's day?

shakespoope.com
posted by cthuljew on Jan 16, 2013 - 35 comments

Patrick Stewart: Poetry, Kissing, Crotch-Grabbing

Patrick Stewart performed with NYC's Improvised Shakespeare Company. Famed thespian Stewart joined five lads from Chicago to perform improvised Shakespeare this past week. The Improvised Shakespeare Company reports that "Patrick Stewart is the coolest person [they] know."
posted by Joey Michaels on Jan 11, 2013 - 28 comments

The Beatles Performing Shakespeare

The Beatles Performing Shakespeare. In 1964, the Fab Four added another art under their belt — live theater — when they performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in color, to the sound of shouting hecklers (scripted, part of the play) and someone yelling “Go back to Liverpool!” (unscripted, decidedly unshakespearean).
posted by nickyskye on Dec 20, 2012 - 13 comments

EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY! ...RHAOMI! ...VERSUS... RHYTHM! ...BEGIN!!!

Since it debuted on the blue in '11 // Epic Rap Battles of History preppin' // to score itself more than a billion views // and become TopDog of the pack YouTube
Made by NicePeter and EpicLloyd // (two improv comics by Maker employed) // The series pits icons of legend renowned // in a slick-wit freestyle rap throwdown
With snappier writing, and better FX // online celebs (and Google Ad checks) // The Epic Rap crew's halfway done with the brew // that is Epic Rap Battles of History Part Deux
The midseason's close? It comes out today. // In one corner: Santa Claus, fresh from his sleigh
And his prophet o' doom? "He ain't Mayan," ERBoH sez.
It's Snoop Dogg -- Snoop Lion -- as mothafuckin' Moses
[WHO WON?][WHO'S NEXT?][more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 10, 2012 - 27 comments

Shakespeare: Globe to Globe

Shakespeare: Globe to Globe was a series of 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 37 different languages presented at the reconstructed Shakespeare Globe theatre in London this summer. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 30, 2012 - 20 comments

The Library of Babel in 140 characters (or fewer)

The universe (which others call The Twitter) is composed of every word in the English language; Shakespeare's folios, line-by-line-by-line; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, exploded; Constantine XI, in 140 character chunks; Sun Tzu's Art of War, in its entirety; the chapter headings of JG Ballard, in abundance; and definitive discographies of Every. Artist. Ever... All this, I repeat, is true, but one hundred forty characters of inalterable wwwtext cannot correspond to any language, no matter how dialectical or rudimentary it may be. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Oct 27, 2012 - 14 comments

Shakespeare on Security.

Shakespeare on Security. In 2007, AT&T produced this nest of corporate videos which posited what would happen if "The Bardster" took a job working in an IT Department. Episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8.
posted by feelinglistless on Oct 26, 2012 - 9 comments

Is this a bear that will never love fruit?

King Lear with a happy ending (once more popular than the original!) Audio version. The Tempest with extra characters. Parody version of the tempest with extra characters (set in London). Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet fights crime as the Red Whirlwind, Verona is built on a floating island in the sky, and Prince Escalus is a tree (anime; manga). More unusual Shakespeare adaptations.
posted by gnimmel on Oct 15, 2012 - 23 comments

Tell Yassar I'm on My Way

On October 19, 1995 Chuck Phillips interviewed Tupac Shakur at Can Am Studios Tarzana, California for an article published in the LA Times. The recordings were previously unreleased. Tupac talks about how the United States is full of gangs (the FBI/ATF/Democrats/Republicans), disparate media treatment of artists, how Tony Danza wrote him in prison, how Shakespeare's stories are the same things rappers talk about in their music, and the worth of black people's lives.
posted by cashman on Oct 8, 2012 - 20 comments

Truth’s a dog that must to kennel

It's been an Epileptic Trees theory since the 1890s: Given that in some reports (and subsequent productions) Cordelia and the fool in Shakespeare's King Lear are played by the same person, some theorists believe the Fool is either a stand-in for her, some sort of spiritual doppelganger, or literally just Cordelia pretending to be the Fool to be close to her Dad, and even to save him. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 16, 2012 - 26 comments

A kit for the pen-sucked flap-dragons in your life

Are the verbal pignuts nipping at thine clay-brained heels yet again? Does your dankish, knotty-ated mind quiver at scouring the bard's odiferous works for suitable defense? Then attend thee to the Shakespeare Insult Kit, where all manner of creations await your dullish wit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 29, 2012 - 5 comments

"And beauty slandered with a bastard shame:"

'Dark Lady' of Shakespeare's sonnets 'finally revealed to be London prostitute called Lucy Negro' [dailymail.co.uk] "New research claims The 'Dark Lady' of Shakespeare's sonnets was a notorious London prostitute named Lucy Negro or Black Luce - a dark-skinned madam who ran a licentious house in Clerkenwell."
posted by Fizz on Aug 28, 2012 - 94 comments

Peter Brook's "King Lear"

[Peter] Brook's stripped-back adaptation [of King Lear]... draws from Jan Kott's insight that Lear, like Beckett's Endgame, reveals a world devoid of consolation, morality or universal justice. ... Brook's is a devastating realisation of the play: a pitiless examination of the cruelty and emptiness that lies at the heart of the lust for power. - Alison Croggon [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 27, 2012 - 12 comments

Shakespeare on TV done correctly

The Hollow Crown is a season of 4 of Shakespeare's history plays being broadcast by the BBC. Avoiding past mistakes these are made for a television audience and set on location. [more inside]
posted by epo on Jul 3, 2012 - 46 comments

Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,

"We will make amends ere long; / Else the Puck a liar call; / So, good night unto you all." Brian of Britanick (also the team responsible for Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses) tries to recite the final lines of A Midsummer Night's Dream with a little help from his friends Nick Kocher and Dani Puddi [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 2, 2012 - 12 comments

A great reckoning in a small room

On the 30th May, 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed in a Deptford tavern. Except, it wasn't a tavern, and all present were known liars. His writing style was very similar to that of early William Shakespeare, whose name first appeared in print very shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by iotic on May 30, 2012 - 214 comments

You know what every kitchen needs? A Bloonderbooss or a Boomashootn, and Swedish Chef shows us why.

The Swedish Chef (Muppet Wiki) is the incomprehensible preparer of foodstuffs for The Muppet Show. A rather literal variation of the Live-Hand Muppet concept, the Swedish Chef is a humanoid character, with human hands rather than gloves. An annotated list of every televised appearance of the Swedish Chef is after the fold... Børk! Børk! Børk! [Click here to view the thread translated fully into Mock Swedish] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 16, 2012 - 45 comments

Hath he the semblance of a harlot?

Pulp Shakespeare, on stage. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny on Mar 1, 2012 - 17 comments

The Winter's Tale [SLYT]

The Winter's Tale [SLYT] A splendid one-person (+dog+sockpuppet) rendition of Shakespeare's play. [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Feb 7, 2012 - 15 comments

Storm in a tea state

Shakespeare's The Tempest banned by Arizona schools
posted by Artw on Jan 17, 2012 - 131 comments

Our Stratfordian Cousin

Lincoln and Shakespeare [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Jan 14, 2012 - 30 comments

Hidden Meanings : Datamining Early English Print

Datamining Shakespeare --- Othello is a Shakespearean tragedy: when the hero makes a terrible mistake of judgment, his once promising world is led into ruin. Computer analysis of the play, however, suggests that the play is a comedy or, at least, that it does the same things with words that comedies usually do. On October 26, 2011, Folger Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore discussed his recent work in Shakespeare studies which combines computer analysis of texts, linguistics, and traditional literary history. Taking the case of Shakespeare's genres as a starting point, Witmore shows how subtle human judgments about the kinds of plays Shakespeare wrote — were they comedies, histories or tragedies? — are connected to frequent, widely distributed features in the playwright's syntax, vocabulary, and diction. (approx. 30 minute lecture.) [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Dec 8, 2011 - 29 comments

The forgotten gentleman lawer turned privateer who founded Jamestown

In 1602, he became the first Englishman to sail directly to New England across the ill-charted waters of the North Atlantic (Google books; alt: Archive.org). He is credited with setting up a fort on Cuttyhunk Island, and naming both Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod in that voyage. A few months later, he then returned to England, where he planned the first English settlement to take hold in the new world. He returned in 1607, but only survived 13 weeks in Jamestown (Gb). Who was this founding father of the first English colony take hold in North America? Bartholomew Gosnold. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 7, 2011 - 12 comments

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books"

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" (NSFW) is not a movie in the sense that we usually employ the word. It's an experiment in form and content. ... The books, their typography, calligraphy and illustrations, are photographed in voluptuous detail. ... "Prospero's Books" really exists outside criticism. ... It is simply a work of original art, which Greenaway asks us to accept or reject on his own terms. - Roger Ebert
posted by Trurl on Dec 4, 2011 - 32 comments

With four and twenty black-and-white birds, here's the history of the pie

NPR's food blog gets wordy: for the origins of "pie," look to the humble magpie. Though the etymology of pie doesn't present one clear path, the possibilities are fascinating. English surnames point to pie and pye as a baked good in the 1300s, with a Peter Piebakere in 1320 and Adam le Piemakere in 1332. Chaucer referred to "pye" as both a baked good and a magpie (Google books). Or perhaps the fillings were like a magpie's collection of bits and bobs, similar to haggis. You know, like the French "agace," or magpie (Gb), and similar to chewets, those baked goods, or another name for jackdaws (Gb), relative of the magpie. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 22, 2011 - 21 comments

Before you ask, no, it's not eponysterical.

Shakespeare was not a full-time writer without other responsibilities, like O’Neill or Williams. But what might look like a distraction for such authors—acting in his own and other people’s plays, coaching fellow players, helping manage the ownership of the troupe’s resources (including its two theaters, the Globe and Blackfriars)—was a strength for Shakespeare, since it made him a day-by-day observer of what the troupe could accomplish, actor by actor. [...]

'According to Pacini,' Julian Budden writes in The Operas of Verdi, 'it was the custom at the San Carlo theatre, Naples, for the composer to turn the pages for the leading cello and double bass players on opening nights.' The composer had to change his score to fit new voices if there were substitutions caused by illness or some other accident. In subsequent performances, he was expected to take out or put in arias for the different houses, transposing keys, changing orchestration. He was not a man of the study but of the theater.
Shakespeare and Verdi in the Theater.
posted by shakespeherian on Nov 18, 2011 - 48 comments

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