Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Moving on...

It's been a fun challenge but time to move on to pastures new. The picture below is a clue to my 2013 challenge which can be found here!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Quote #037

"Better a witty fool than a foolish wit"
Feste - 'Twelfth Night', Act I, scene 5


37 - Twelfth Night

I left the best until last, partly to see if any other of Shakespeare’s works could top it but for me it still reigns supreme.

This is probably the play by Billy-Boy that I have seen the most over the years. I can remember clearly my first run in with it when, aged eight and as part of my drama club’s showcase evening, I saw four older kids perform the duel scene between Viola and Sir Andrew and loved it. At the time I had no idea what it was from and it was only when I studied the text later in secondary school that I made the connection. 

For the play as a whole I can think off-hand of at least five different stage productions I’ve seen including one by the RSC with Antony Sher as Malvolio, a version directed by Peter Hall and one at Regents Park's 'Open Air Theatre' whose only star I can remember just now was Ruth Madoc! There have also been numerous screen versions including both the BBC’s and, my particular favourite, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Renaissance Theatre’ production (I remember taping that one and then practically watching it weekly.)

My biggest draw to the play is Feste - my favourite character in all of Shakespeare. Although he has no soliloquy to speak of it was a mash-up of his original chastisement of Olivia that finally won me a place a drama school, so I have a lot to thank him for. And almost everything he says could count as my favourite line from the Bard, although I do also crumble every time I hear Sir Andrew say “I was ador'd once too”.

And Finally – Thank you to everyone who has taken time to read these mad ramblings. If has been a fun challenge and very rewarding. I may not have completed it within one year but at least I finished before Twelfth Night (see what I did there?) All that’s left is to miss-quote from my favourite clown and say – 
"But that’s all one, my blog is done,
And I’ll strive to please you another day…"


The Almost Rans

With the end in sight here as some of the splinter features for this blog which never took off - 

  • The Behead Count - I'm afraid I lost count somewhere in the late Henrys and never caught up again 
  • Dice Dearly - Died a death
  • Shakey Camera Work - Reviews of Shakespeare related movies
  • Eightscore Eight Hours - Trying to see how often I heard the Bard mentioned within one week 
  • Good Day, Bard Day - A weekly round-up of all brushes I'd had in the last seven days with the Bard (so an extension of Eightscore Eight Hours)


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch - The Seven Ages Of Man

One of my current fav actors...

Quote #036

“Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.” 
Pericles - 'Pericles', Act I, Scene 2


36 - Pericles

Thought I'd leave an obscure one for towards the end in case it turned out to be another hidden gem, but sadly no. The story seems to be just a collection of fairy tales added together and linked by that gabbling Gower bloke. It put me in mind of Stephen Sondheim's 'Into the Woods' but obviously without the warbling or the wolves (or the giant for that matter!)

And finally - Although I say they are based on fairy tales I'll admit that I've heard of either 'The Tale of the Incestuous King' or 'The Story of the Nice Chatty Whore'. At least I don't recall the Disney versions...



Quote #035

"This above all: to thine own self be true"
Polonius - 'Hamlet', Act I, Scene 3

35 - Hamlet

This is by far Billy-Boy Bard's best tragedy and stands out as an example of his genius. I would say it's my favourite play but that is reserved for a comedy so he'll have to be happy with best tragedy. Although some people lump this in with the Problem Plays for some reason!

I should also like to take this opportunity to pay  homage to another great playwright, Tom Stoppard, who's wonderful 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead' masterfully weaves an ingenious parallel comedy into the tale of the Danish prince. If you can I suggest you read the two back to back or at least see the 1990 movie with Messrs Roth and Oldman.

Speaking of films I am ashamed to say that of all the excellent cinema adaptations of Hamlet out there I have only see Mel Gibson's! (I feel dirty just admitting that) I promise to rectify that mistake very soon but am torn between Olivier and Branagh.

And finally - The true moral of the play must be not to over think the issue as the procrastinating-princes' death-debate leads to an unhealthy revenge-ratio of eight for the price of one!


Orson Welles and Peter O'Toole on Hamlet

Or, as someone else put it, "Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia discuss Hamlet"