Sir and I were having an interesting discussion last night after skeet about Shakespeare. I honestly don’t remember how we got on the subject. But I brought up the point that when in high school, our English class got to go see a production of Macbeth. The lead was a haaaawwwwt twenty-something guy…in haaawwwttt, tight leather pants.

Um, yeah. *wiping drool off chin*

The boys got screwed, however, because Lady Macbeth was meh. LOL

There is no better way to ensure an auditorium full of teenage girls pay attention to Shakespeare than to dangle a hawt guy in tight leather pants in front of them.

So that led us into the discussion of productions. I said that I thought the 1996 film version with Leonardo DiCaprio was well-done because they kept the original dialoge while modernizing it. He wrinkled His nose at that and said He preferred them as period pieces. I, however, enjoy modernized variations as well as period pieces. I think it’s more difficult in some ways, because we are “trained” from school to think of Shakespeare as this stuffy, antiquated, hard-to-understand stuff. So to see actors breathe life into those roles in a way that’s relevant is really neat, to me.

Another rendition I loved was the Brooke McEldowney’s Pibgorn comic strip version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream (A Pibsummer Night’s Dream), and he’s started a Romeo and Juliet version now. (http://gocomics.com/pibgorn) And, of course, West Side Story.

So what are your favorite versions of the Bard? Do you like traditionalism in dress and dialoge? Do you like it modernized? (Duuuude…) Do you have a favorite version that is your go-to (written or performed)?

Feel free to sound out in the comments, because, as you can see, Gidget has no interest in talking to me this morning. (She refused to pose for a selfie with me, but I still managed.)

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Dude, what is that light?
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11 thoughts on “Dude, what is that light?

  • December 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm
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    I love Shakespeare! I was lucky enough to have a class in high school and we used to listen to records of the Royal Shakespeare Company in class with readings by Sir Laurence Oliver, Sir John Gielgud and the other greats of British theater. I love both the classics and the modern as long as they use the original dialogue. I love that iambic pentameter! Like you, I love the version that Baz Lurhmann did of Romeo and Juliet. It just proved that what Shakespeare wrote about was timeless. Thanks for bring the topic up!

    • December 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm
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      I don’t think many people give Shakespeare enough of a chance. I know it can be tough to wade through his works if someone can’t “hear” how they’re supposed to sound when reading them, but I like it when people give modern spins with the original dialogue.

  • December 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm
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    I’m a HUGE Shakespeare fan, but I had exposure from a young age (my parents were theater arts & film majors). I went to the Ashland Shakespeare festival for the first time when I was 14 with my hippie school-and if you love Shakespeare and don’t know the Ashland Festival, you must check it out!
    Anyway…I am SO with you on the 1996 Romeo + Juliet! Leo and Claire Danes have never been more exquisite, and I loved that they kept the original dialogue! Great acting, compelling visuals, and the soundtrack is amazing!
    My other favorite is Othello with Laurence Fishburne. Othello is one of my favorite plays, and he is so good in this film-and so beautiful! Makes me cry every time!
    Thanks for posting this! Shakespeare is utterly overlooked these days.
    Eden 🙂

    • December 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm
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      I have not seen that version of Othello. I’ll have to look for it and watch it. I love him as an actor.

  • December 14, 2013 at 12:16 am
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    I enjoy watching the high school drama clubs performing The Bard. The best one that I saw was in 1978 at Belmont-Fischer Junior Senior Secondary (what a mouthful). It was a production of “A Midsummers Night Dream” that followed the original dialogue but not the gender roles. It was hilarious as well as my first introduction to Shakespeare.

    • December 14, 2013 at 9:22 am
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      I think it’s great when high schoolers (and younger) tackle Shakespeare. You can tell when the teacher’s been able to inpire the actual meaning of the words into them and it’s not just a case of the kids memorizing the lines.

  • December 14, 2013 at 2:00 am
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    I, too, love Baz’s take on Shakespeare. There was also a series put out by the BBC back in 2005 (thanks imdb) called Shakespeare Re-told. I loved their version of The Taming of the Shrew so much, I bought the DVD. I have also read a couple of the plays & not just been forced to by school! Quite a number of years ago, a couple of the plays were put on in the Sydney Botanical Gardens, (at night time, sitting having picnic dinner’s with glasses of wine). I can still remember the sword breaking in A MidSummer Nights Dream & the look on the actors face, before he, & the audience, cracked up laughing!

    • December 14, 2013 at 9:24 am
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      I love live theatre. I don’t get to see live productions as much as I’d like. There’s such a great interaction, even indirectly, with the audience that you don’t get with visual media like movies and TV.

  • December 14, 2013 at 6:41 am
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    My friend and I went through a period of going to every Shakespeare in our area. This included a fringe version of Hamlet. I hadn’t seen Hamlet before and maybe this wasn’t the production to watch as a first timer. What dripped from bags hanging from the ceiling and every so often the whole production would stop while everyone lined up and ‘drank’ from teacups. When Laetes went off on his travels the actor went over to the side and walked on the spot. He continued walking right through the interval. It really was a strange production but even stranger was the audience!
    Getting back to the actual question, I prefer traditionally set productions but with interesting music. Seeing Romeo and Juliette in the round and nearly getting a rapier up your nose in the fight scenes cannot be beaten.

  • December 14, 2013 at 6:43 am
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    Damn, I had a typo, it was water dripping from the ceiling!

    • December 14, 2013 at 9:24 am
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      LOL Okay, WHY did they have water dripping from bags in the ceiling? LOL Or was it just an experimental, avant garde kind of thing?

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