Wednesday, December 21, 2005

When Love Speaks

Oooooo, want this. When Love Speaks is a CD of celebrities doing performances of Shakespeare sonnets and other famous works by you know who. The sample included in this all-flash site is Alan Rickman doing Sonnet 130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun..."), but the CD also contains Richard Attenborough doing #17 ("Who will believe my verse in time to come...") which I recited at my wedding, and Joseph Fiennes doing "Our revels now are ended..." from The Tempest.

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Hamlet's Castle is Haunted

It appears that Hamlet's castle is haunted. Or, at least, Kronburg Castle, which claims to be the inspiration for Shakespeare's greatest work.

"Windows and doors fly open, stacks of paper disappear and reappear elsewhere, and tables set themselves," she said.

Most of the employees have reported strange happenings at the restaurant, such as two seeing inexplicable gray shadows waft by and another claiming to have seen the ghost of an old man in the kitchen, Pedersen said.

Whatever they are, they seemed to be good-natured and don't frighten the guests.

I like it. I wonder if the ghost is Polonius? Getting a snack? Seems like there's a "not where he's eaten, but where he eats" pun in there someplace.

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Happy Holidays, Everybody!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, been a busy few weeks. We're entertaining at my house for Christmas this year and trying to get the addition finished before everybody shows up. I'm still on the lookout for good stories, but right this moment I don't have the time to dig through as many sources as I usually do.

So, have a great holiday, whichever you may be celebrating - although I believe some of the major ones all overlap this year, right? First day of Hannukah is the day after Christmas, and isn't Kwaanza(sp?) always celebrated during that week anyway?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Michigan Shakespeare fans rejoice

Patrick Stewart is coming. As part of a 3 week visit from the Royal Shakepseare Company to University of Michigan in late October, Stewart will play Anthony in Anthony and Cleopatra, and Prospero in The Tempest.

I think I knew that Stewart was doing the Royal Shakespeare thing, but I'm not sure I ever realized that it's here in the states. I thought it was an England thing.

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Is this a dagger that I see before me? Shakespeare's Smoke and Mirrors

As a geek I have to love this article that explains how Shakespeare may have done the "dagger that I see before me" trick in Macbeth. I guess I never really thought about Shakespeare using special effects before, and assumed that maybe an all-black dressed stagehand held the dagger and walked backwards or something.

Not so, says the article, which details the work of Professor Iain Wright. Wright stumbled across the work of John Dee, a scientist during Shakespeare's time. "I suddenly ran up against this description of a man staring back with amazement at a floating dagger, and of the 'marvellous glass' that produced it," says Wright. He logically goes on to make the case that Shakespeare would have known about such tricks and worked them into plays like Macbeth, not only for the dagger but perhaps for the ghosts themselves.

Twelfth Night : Send in the Clown, but tell him not to be funny - Arts & Culture: No clowning around with Shakespeare

My local paper has this story about Kenny Raskin, a long time professional clown, doing the role of Feste in Twelfth Night in Cambridge. The irony, he says, is that he has to try very hard not to be funny. "He's more commentator than clown," says Raskin.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

What Shakespeare Character Are You?

Quiz: What Shakespeare character are you?

I can't remember if I ever posted this, but I'm pretty sure I never took it. Just did, and it told me I'm Iago. Dang!

Iago- Sneaky and devious.

You befriend and betray.
Get a grip!
Which Shakespeare character are you?

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Shakespeare on "Tookie" Williams

I like this post because I appreciate that somebody can break out the Shakespeare to support their position (even if I may not agree with the position). Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency for "Tookie" Williams, so this user over at Talk Politics suggests that maybe the governator should have read his Merchant of Venice.

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Shakespeare Hated Christmas

I had never before seen this parody entitled Shakespeare and Christmas, by Max Beerbohm. The premise chosen is that since Shakespeare only ever mentioned Christmas once in his entire body of work - and even then, in not very flattering light -- therefore he must have utterly loathed the holiday.

I think it's funny.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Do You Squidoo?

Is Squidoo the next big thing? Created by Seth Godin with the premise that "everybody is an expert in something", Squidoo attempts to take all the best elements of the Web2.0 world (RSS, blogs, flickr, tags, etc...) and wrap it all in a user friendly, build-it-up-from-pieces way so that anybody with a desire to make a place for information on topic X can do so.

I know that most blog approaches, like this one I'm using, are limited in the "and what else can it do?" sense. For instance, if I find another RSS feed that I might want to include here, can I do it? I have yet to figure it out. And if I want to add some Links to a section on other Shakespeare sites, I have to go edit and publish the template by hand. Nasty. With Squidoo, everything is build into the dynamic GUI where you drag and drop sections around the page.

Naturally I've already hooked myself up: ShakespeareStuff. Tell me if you like it. Where would you normally visit - there (where they have an RSS feed back to here), or here? Why?

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Music of Shakespeare's Plays, New CD by Ensemble Chaconne

Music of Shakespeare's Plays, New CD by Ensemble Chaconne:

Don't know anything about it, but people were interested last time I had a story about the music of Shakespeare.

Among the many selections are “Willow, Willow” sung by Desdemona before her murder in Othello; “It Was a Lover and His Lass” (As You Like It); “O Mistress Mine” (Twelfth Night); “Hark, Hark! The Lark” (Cymbeline); “Take O Take Those Lips Away” (Measure for Measure); “Full Fathom Five” (The Tempest), "Go from My Window” from Ophelia’s mad scene in Hamlet; and “Greensleeves,” Shakespeare’s best-known ballad tune (quoted in The Merry Wives of Windsor), an allusion to women of ill repute, recognized by their green sleeves.

I'm curious about the Ophelia song. I wrote the beginning of a play once that I called "Ophelia's Song". The idea was that, like R&G Are Dead, it focused on the scenes between the scenes, what Ophelia was up to when she wasn't on stage. The story was that she and Hamlet definitely had a relationship going, and he'd convinced her that he was just "playing" mad. I like that scene where she enters and gives the flowers to everybody. It might be the most tragic bit in the whole play, short of Hamlet's final deathbed speech. Especially if there was a little more meat there to work with. Shakespeare didn't really give her much depth.

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Shakespeare Quotes (about him, not by him)

I stumbled upon ThinkExist today, so of course I punched up Shakespeare like I always do. I got a bunch of other people's quotes talking about Shakespeare, which is actually kind of cool:

"If ever a human being got his work expressed completely, it was Shakespeare. If ever a mind was incandescent, unimpeded..., it was Shakespeare's mind."
- Virginia Woolf

"Shakespeare knew the human mind, and its most minute and intimate workings, and he never introduces a word, or a thought, in vain or out of place; if we do not understand him, it is our own fault."
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"If you locked Shakespeare in a room with a typewriter for long enough, eventually he'd write all the songs by the Monkees."

"After God, Shakespeare has created most."
- Alexandre Dumas Pere

"The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life : Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!"
- Robert Browning

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Will (Shakespeare) & Grace

Scene : Jack is over the apartment reading a script that Will has written. Jack has just discovered, to his shock, that "there are lezzies in this."

Jack: Will, I beg of you, please let them be played by men. No one will know the difference. That's what Shakespeare did when he had lesbos in his scripts.

Will: Yes, who could forget the coven of high school gym teachers in Macbeth?

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Shakespeare Deja Vu

So after finding that Shakespeare reference and being at google anyway I went looking for more Shakespeare Simpsons references. Ending up at I typed "shakespeare" into the search and, while I did not get any interesting hits, I did notice that the search engine is Prospero Technology.

That's just weird.

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Simpsons Shakespeare : A Star is Burns

Just caught a Simpsons Shakespeare reference I never noticed before. In "A Star is Burns", where the town holds an indy film festival, Barney the town trunk creates his own 'art' film, in black and white, showing the horrors of life as an alcoholic.

He quotes a line from Othello "about a drinker" (and credits it as such): "To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast." That is Cassio, Act II, scene 3.


I was just blogging that because it was a Simpsons reference. It only just dawned on me as I wrote it that IT'S OTHELLO AGAIN!

Man. Seriously. Othello week.

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AP Wire | 12/02/2005 | Racine County inmates rehearse Shakespeare's 'Othello'

AP Wire | 12/02/2005 | Racine County inmates rehearse Shakespeare's 'Othello':

Seriously, it's like Othello week or something. I can't get away from him.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shakespeare for Warriors

Ha! You may think that an article entitled Shakespeare for Warriors is going to be all about Henry V and the infamous "St. Crispin's Day" speech, but you'd be wrong!

Well, after the first couple of paragraphs, that is. "We happy few, we band of brothers" is brought up as something that one SEAL quotes to his fellows before heading into battle. (Oddly, I actually wrote that quote on a card for one of my groomsmen at my wedding. Although I took out the "sheds blood with me" part :))

But what's cool is that the article then totally goes in a different direction - to Othello, no less. Quick show of hands, how many people think of Othello as a particularly military play? I never did. But the article looks at Othello's weaknesses (and Iago's strengths) from that perspective, about how Othello is a total fish out of water in Venice rather than the tented fields, and how quick he is to believe Iago simply because he is more comfortable with the military language that Iago speaks to him.

Desdemona does not come off well here. She's entirely the instigator, says the author. And "When given the choice between trusting the diabolical Iago, a warrior with many kills under his belt, or his new wife Desdemona, the Venetian, Othello doesn't hesitate. He goes with what his officer says : soldiers don't lie." "Band of brothers" ends up being Othello's downfall.

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Othello at Clairity's Place

Clairity's Place has got up a great article on "loss of faith" in Othello. Must be a big Othello week, I was actually googling for a different Othello story that I'd lost when I turned up this one. Definitely a nice change of pace instead of always reading about Hamlet, R&J and Macbeth.

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