Monday, September 26, 2016

How Far That Little Candle Throws His Beams

I've got a question for you.

I'm going to assume, since you're reading this, that you like Shakespeare.  Maybe you're a theatre geek in general, or maybe like me you've got no particular connection to the theatrical world, you just love Shakespeare's work.  You've probably got a bunch of it memorized, too, if by pure repetition if nothing else.

So here's my question.  How many friends have you got that you talk about Shakespeare with?  Sure, if you're in a theatre group in the first place the answer to this question might be obvious.  But what about your friends, your family, your coworkers? If your life is anything like mine, most folks you encounter have little more than a passing high school knowledge of the man and his work. Most will never bother to learn any more than that, because they're adults now and their time for being told what they have to learn is over.  There's bills to be paid and fantasy football teams to draft.

Why can't we change that?

Why can't we introduce Shakespeare and his work to children from the time that they're born?  Fine, there's plenty of stuff in Shakespeare that's over the head of most college students, let alone toddlers.  Dr. Seuss wrote propaganda cartoons during World War II, too.  But I'll bet we can all quote Cat in the Hat.

How great would the world be if everybody you ran into on a daily basis was as familiar with "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows" as they are with "One fish two fish, red fish blue fish?"

"To be or not to be" and "Wherefore art thou" have tipped over into cliche, but wouldn't you love to hang out with somebody who not only recognized "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises," but could complete it with, "sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not?"

Shakespeare is poetry.  Children learn language through rhyme and poetry.

Shakespeare painted pictures with words.  Children learn words through association with images.

There's absolutely no reason why somebody can't take Shakespeare's poetry and Shakespeare's pictures and put them in the hands of new parents to read to their children from day one. You know what happens when that happens?  Those kids like it. Those kids ask for it. Those kids want more.
Most importantly, those kids grow up with Miranda and Ariel and Titania and Oberon in their brains right next to Winnie the Pooh and Piglet and the Wild Things and the Lorax and Alice and the Mad Hatter...

Before that little candle can throw its beams, somebody has to light it, and that is precisely what Erin is trying to do.

I know I've bugged you all about this already, but her Kickstarter deadline draws near, and she hasn't hit the goal yet, so she still needs help.  Back this project.  Get this book into existence. I don't care if you've got kids.  Mine aren't going to read this.  But I backed it. Because I want others to be able to read it. Imagine one day going to the store (if they still have bookstores!) and seeing Shakespeare in the baby book section. Even better imagine buying it and giving something you love as a give to someone you love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Maybe Angelina Should Try More Shakespeare?

When I heard that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have filed for divorce it wasn't that interesting to me.

Then I heard the rumor that they're divorcing because he's having an affair with Marion "Lady Macbeth" Cotillard, and now we've got something to talk about!

In case you missed it, here's our review of the 2015 Macbeth starring Cotillard and Michael Fassbender.

Although Pitt and Cotillard are apparently working together on a new project that hasn't come out yet, who knows? Maybe he saw her in that and liked the whole Shakespeare vibe.  I can't find any Shakespeare in Pitt's biography, but I do see that Gwynneth Paltrow, who went on to win an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, claims that after he broke up with her she was almost too distraught to audition for the role (item #10).

Perhaps Brad never knew that Ms. Jolie has some Shakespeare in her past as well?  No, I'm not talking about Cyborg 2 or Hackers, both classics in their own right.  Nor do I mean her epic Cleopatra project that was the star of the Sony email debacle a few years back.

I'm talking about Love is All There Is, a 1990's Romeo and Juliet re-telling set in an Italian restaurant in the Bronx.  Angelina plays our Juliet.  It also happens to be available in full on YouTube.

Please share and enjoy:

(Trivia -- looks like Paul Sorvino is in this, and then again in Romeo+Juliet just a couple of years later.  Apparently as a palate cleanser. :))

Monday, September 19, 2016

Three Projects To Get Excited About

When I read a headline that the Actors Hall of Fame was bringing back Shakespeare classics after 20 years I thought, "What, something like the Criterion collection? DVDs?"  Nope, I'm completely wrong. They're doing multiple ground-breaking things that look crazy exciting!

A MidSummer Night’s Dream will be produced as a state of the art family animated film, with the addition of new songs and dances from established and emerging artists. The film will be released globally in midsummer 2018.​
All my children's lives I've wanted "start of the art family animated film" versions of Shakespeare.  I just hope this one hasn't got gnomes in it.

The Taming of the Shrew will be produced as a 10 hour miniseries for broadcast/streaming, and will also introduce the next generation of characters in the lives of Petruchio and Katherina.
I've seen rumors that at least three major television networks are doing some version of a Shakespeare series, including a Romeo and Juliet sequel. The idea of a mini series is an interesting one, because you can tell a determined story arc without worrying about having to create ongoing material for several seasons.

Romeo and Juliet  the classic story of young love will make history by airing ‘LIVE’ on mobile and social media around the world starring today’s most popular young stars from film, television and music.
Since joining Twitter back in 2008 I've been inundated with every possible combination of live tweeting the plays in "text speak" from various accounts behaving in the persona of the individual characters, and I've never liked it. I'm at least curious what "airing live on social media" means because I am interested in the advancement of the technologies to do that, however.

Should be very interesting to keep an eye on these projects!